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We May Not Possess the Genius of Mr Holmes...

Lauren Neilly is one of 13 young people recently selected to be a member of Youth Arts Voice Scotland. Here she discusses the importance of giving young people a voice in Scotland's National Youth Arts Strategy, Time to Shine...

"It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it."

If, like me, you are a lover of Sherlock Holmes, you will have recognised this quote from Arthur Conan Doyle’s, Hound of the Baskervilles. Of course, in the context of the story itself, Holmes is being rather rude in his compliment to his assistant Dr Watson. Nonetheless, it's a quote that I feel has a great deal of meaning for what we do here in Scotland. 

When I say we, I speak on behalf of 12 other young people who in August this year, were selected as advisors and ambassadors for the young people of Scotland as part of Youth Arts Voice Scotland (YAVS).

YAVS was established in order to support Creative Scotland and Young Scot in their development of Scotland’s first National Youth Arts Strategy, Time to Shine, which was put in place in 2013. The strategy itself aims to inspire and develop the young people of Scotland to flourish and achieve in and through the arts and creativity.

Speaking from personal experience, I have seen how the arts and creative sector can be so rewarding, developing and inspiring for young people. It can provide confidence and reassurance, alongside a sense of achievement for those who have struggled academically. The arts can provide a great deal for the young people of Britain, and here in Scotland we want to do something about it.

By placing the young people of YAVS at the heart of Time to Shine we can voice what it is that others, like us, want from the Scottish Government, what they want from Creative Scotland and what they feel is the most beneficial way to implement change.

Our ambition is to make the arts accessible to all. We want young people from all over Scotland to feel like they can be part of this exciting industry, whether that be on a local level, or a larger setting. We want to create and sustain the level of engagement of young people and the arts, and help nurture their potential and their talent.

Earlier this year Creative Scotland announced over £3.1m to improve youth arts provision across Scotland through the creation of nine Youth Arts Hubs. These hubs are being formed through partnerships between local and national arts and youth services providers to explore the youth arts provisions across a range of art forms in order to deliver a greater service in future years. There are also a number of funds and initiatives set in place, including the recently developed Nurturing Talent – Time to Shine Fund, the criteria and application for which was developed directly by YAVS.

Our experiences are different, as too are our skills and abilities, but on behalf of the group, I can confidently say that we are all equally as passionate and involved in this exciting, innovative strategy. We want to help young people like us, grow and experience a world that can be so rewarding and so exhilarating.

We may have just started on this path, and we do have a long way to go. However, by 2016, our aim is to have established solid foundations to lead the way for young people and the Time to Shine Strategy. We may not possess the genius of Mr Holmes, but we are certainly conductors of light, all wanting to help the young people of Scotland shine.

Lauren Neilly
Youth Arts Voice Scotland Member
Aged 20 from Stirling, Scotland

More Info

Find out more about Time to Shine here and follow the project on Twitter @ttsyoutharts.