Youth Arts and Partnerships

Having had a chance to reflect on this week’s training I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all before we head into a new week.

On Monday we were at the MK Gallery for out session on ‘Planning and Shaping Youth Arts’ in which we discussed what we thought classified as ‘youth arts’ and what young people can gain from their experiences through projects and workshops.

In particular talk turned to the differences between soft and hard skills. I think the easiest way to put it is that soft skills are the personal skills like listening, problem solving, talent and communication, whereas hard skills are quantifiable, measurable skills, such as grades or awards. As Helen so eloquently explained we are ‘storytellers in a world of numbers’. Arts programmes now need to have some sort of impact that is quantifiable. However it’s also vital to make projects inclusive, fun, and it’s about the journey and the positive changes that young people go through, which is where the planning comes in!

I think the main lesson I took away from the planning session was that the activity you introduce has to be irresistible, inspiring and able to incite curiosity. There are so many parts to the planning, from fundraising to development, managing the project to evaluation. Helen also the differences between the aim and the objectives and a very easy way to define them:

AIM: Overall final purpose or destination.

OBJECTIVE: The milestones along the way.

It was really interesting for us to discuss how we’d approach the planning process and the shaping of project ideas.

Tuesday was all about ‘Partnership Working’ with Angela Conlan. This was a challenging session as we had to approach it from all angles. This session didn’t just explore who could be potential partners, but the risks associated with partnership working and how to choose the right partners.

We also came up with potential project ideas and then applied what we’d just discussed to these, coming up with partners and discussing what sorts of resources and experience they could offer and what we could offer to the partners in return. This was a really good way to drill in thoughts on partnership working, applying it practically. Additionally we were introduced to the idea of the ‘five degrees of partnership’: co-existence, co-operation, co-ordination, collaboration, co-ownership. These are all ideas that I hope to carry forward and I will definitely refer back to these over the coming months.

Already project ideas are beginning to emerge, all the young leaders are really feeding off each other and I’m feeling very lucky to be part of this journey. The training we are receiving is absolutely invaluable and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s session!



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