Dan Ashton and Seth Giddings are co-investigators on the just-announced ‘Connecting Culture’ initiative, a two-year project supported by a £75,000 grant from Arts Council England and involving a large consortium of arts organisations and child-focused services, led by the University of Southampton, to catalyse a new future in the arts.
Children and young people from across Southampton will be at the heart of the project, which will address the question of how the city’s thriving Cultural Quarter can enrich the lives of those aged five to 25. The aim is to enable young people to produce a Young People’s Manifesto and Map to be adopted by ‘Child-Friendly Southampton’ and create a sustained programme that reflects their needs.
The project will involve:
- over 350 participants, aged 5-25, and Early Years families in a city-wide artist-led consultation;
- the recruitment of 10 new ‘Cultural Connectors’, a programme for young people aged 16-25 integrating ‘youth voice’ leadership and organisational development;
- the commissioning of a series of new public artworks led by young people;
- the use of data gathered by the consortium, participants and partners to trial, develop and shape activities for children and young people – now and in the future.
The ‘Connecting Culture’ consortium includes Artswork, Art Asia, ArtfulScribe, ‘a space’ arts / God’s House Tower, Black History Month – Southampton, City Eye, John Hansard Gallery, Mayflower Theatre, Mayflower 400, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, SeaCity Museum, SOCOMusic, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton Central Library, Solent Showcase Gallery, Southampton Music Hub, SÓN, Turner Sims, Unity 101, Voice FM, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre.
Strategic partners for the project include: Southampton City Council (SCC) Children’s Services (Children, Young People and Families), Southampton Youth Forum, Southampton Children in Care Council, Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP), Southampton Education Forum (HE/FE), Virtual School Head (Maria Anderson), Primary Heads Conference, Southampton Cooperative Learning Trust, Youth Options, No Limits (Young People, Young Carers), Diverse City (Dorset/Bristol), Creative Youth Network (Bristol); UoS: Public Engagement with Research Unit, Widening Participation Department, Social Impact Lab.
Connecting Culture will commence in Autumn 2019.