Dr Steph Hawke, MPA’s Creative Learning Programme Manager recalls some recent work with young people.
What are the benefits of arts and culture for young people? Is it easy for a young person in Pennine Lancashire to engage with the arts? In February and March 2012, Mid Pennine Arts set out to explore these and other issues with two groups of young people. This involved a series of focus groups and creative activities. Curious Minds North West commissioned the research which fed into their wider intelligence gathering across the region.
The Creative Learning team worked with two groups of young people, aged between 14 and 15 and based in Accrington and Burnley. We asked them a range of questions: what do you do in your free time? What arts activities do you engage with? What do you do regularly? What have you tried and stopped – and why?
Then we made a cultural visit – the Accrington group saw musical theatre at the Lowry Theatre. The young people were set the challenge of trying something they had never done before. They explored digital photography and made a short film.
After being in the audience and taking part in a creative workshop, we asked the young people: what did you love? What could have been better?
Finally we explored the barriers to engaging with arts and culture, what stops young people from getting involved? The young people were encouraged to suggest ways of unlocking the arts. In Burnley the group produced a manifesto for what young people want from their arts experiences.
We recorded the discussions digitally with photographs and sound. We transcribed the discussions and analysed them with qualitative data analysis software. Visit our website to view the powerpoint report from the project.