#FreshCreations is a refreshing new youth-led approach to connect young people of West Dunbartonshire to their creativity through youth art provision, opportunities and paths of progression. It is a visionary programme of inspiring projects across a variety of art-forms  with a series of highly coordinated virtual and physical elements brought together using the very latest technologies.

#FreshCreations is one of 9 Youth Arts Hubs funded through Time To Shine’s Youth Art Strategy for Young People aged 0-25.

Tell us a bit about the Youth led approach to the planning and management of  #FreshCreations?

Prior to launching #FreshCreations, members of the Y Sort It Youth Management Board put together a youth arts survey to ask young people in West Dunbartonshire what they wanted from our hub. 390 young people completed the survey and we used the feedback to form the programme of our launch week where we offered 28 different types of free taster sessions across many different art forms. 40.6% stated that the cost of transport was one of the things which made it hard for them to engage with youth arts and so we offered free transport for all covering 7 key pick up points across West Dunbartonshire.

#FreshCreations appointed Courtney Hendry and Daniel McCormick, two young people living in WD to form the Youth Voice for our arts hub. Courtney and Daniel worked with the #FC team to create a strong outreach schedule to promote our launch which included speaking at school assemblies, handing out sign up flyers at key areas where young people congregate and promoting our launch to our partners on the West Dunbartonshire Youth Alliance Board. Courtney and Daniel used the launch week to carry out consultation with the young people and encourage more to join our Youth Voice Group. We aim to form a group of 10 and this group will meet once a month to discuss the progress of #FC and the feedback gained from both our young people and freelance artists taking our workshops.

The youth arts survey also pinpointed the importance of #FreshCreations having a digital platform as well as a physical space. We decided to host a social media / website workshop with 18 young people aged 12-20 to ask them about their engagement with various different social media channels and websites. This group then mapped out what they wanted from #FreshCreations online as well as what social media websites we should use and how often. We found this workshop to be very useful and it was good to reinforce the ownership the young people have over the direction of our youth arts hub. Going forward young people will continue to be at the heart of all decisions made during the ongoing development and evaluation of #FreshCreations.

Can you tell us about the recent launch week?

Our launch took place during the school holidays 13-16 October in the Clydebank Community Hub. We offered 28 different free taster sessions from dance and drama to digital music, fashion up-cycling, samba drumming, comic book making, song writing, junk art, creative writing, graffiti art, Mexican crafts, musical theatre and many more! We ended our launch with a disco on 18 October, free to any young person who had attended our launch week. At our disco we had a fun photo booth and two of our young people offering free face and body paints. We also had a dance off with our young people showing off their moves from our break dancing and street dance classes!

During the launch, young people were encouraged to try as many new things as possible. Following every taster session, we asked each young person to put a sticky note under the headings ‘Like’, ‘Dislike’ or ‘Change’ whilst telling us what they thought of the workshop. We also asked the young people what their reason was for attending the launch: was it just to have fun during their school holidays or were they looking to learn new skills or develop existing ones.

Overall our launch was a success and the enthusiasm from both the young people and artists showed us there is a real thirst for more youth art opportunities in this area. Following the buzz from our launch, we are now working on the promotion of our #FreshCreations winter programme!

What's next for #FreshCreations?

Using all the feedback gathered from our launch, we’ve taken 7 of our most successful taster sessions and worked them into 5 week workshops kicking off from 10 November. These include: drama, dance, fashion up-cycling, comic book making, musical theatre, creative writing and graffiti. Young people will be encouraged to attend each 2 hour workshops for 5 weeks to develop their skills and learn more about the art form.

On 12 December #FreshCreations will host a showcase evening were all involved in our winter programme will take to the stage to show off what they have learned over the 5 weeks, be it a dance or drama performance, slam poetry from our creative writing team or a short fashion show from our fashion up-cycling group.

We are also working closely with West Scotland College Clydebank to develop taster workshops based around courses offered at the college. We aim to support every young person that engages with our hub to seek training and opportunities available.

In 2015 we plan to develop even more block workshops covering as many different art forms as possible. We also plan to take #FreshCreations on tour and visit different areas of West Dunbartonshire to offer free taster sessions on board the Y Sort It bus! A programme for a #FreshCreations Easter and Summer Schools will also take place and we hope to look at the possibility of a youth arts exchange to learn from other youth art projects across the world!

The #FC team will also roll out a large collaborative project across all of our workshops at the end of the summer in the form of a drama performance, youth festival or other!

From January 2015 we will also prepare to put as many young people as possible through their bronze and silver Art Award. 

More information

Keep up to date with #FreshCreations on Facebook at facebook.com/freshcreations01 and follow them on Twitter @FCyoutharts.

This article was published on 10 Nov 2014