Discovering creative career paths through CashBack


In the latest in our series of features exploring the positive impact of the CashBack for Creativity programme, accompanied by five podcasts made by the young people themselves, we take a look at the theme of "employability" and how one teenager got the chance to kickstart a creative career.

At 15 years of age, Alice from East Renfrewshire had dropped out of organised or educational activities. When a CashBack for Creativity project came along, offering workshops to explore her creativity, Alice finally had a chance to shine.

Through CashBack, Articulate Cultural Trust offered workshops for care experienced young people, where they co-designed three projects. These covered digital creativity through coding, programming and mapping; an exploration of contemporary music making and connections to the world of popular music creation and production; and a devised autobiographical theatre project.

Alice was encouraged to engage in activities or interests to help boost her self-confidence and resilience, and was supported to attend sessions at Articulate, alongside support workers.

She flourished…. and is now being re-introduced to education and is able to focus on new talents and interests. Alice has now returned home successfully and has also accepted that working with other young people in a group setting in the future is something she would be keen on. The Articulate project, and related Arts Award experience (which allows young people to explore their creativity whilst gaining a recognised qualification), have together been the first step in her journey to recovery.

Articulate's story...

Articulate’s philosophy and activities are based on an understanding that all young people should be given opportunities to be creative, to have their creative skills nurtured and supported, and to progress into further training and creative careers despite any additional barriers that are put in their way. Articulate has challenged the creative industries to accept that the talent pool is far wider than the ‘usual suspects’ and that there is clear value in supporting the talent development of young people from all backgrounds.

In order to make this a meaningful experience for the young people they work with, Articulate ensure that participant’s voices are at the centre of all that they do. This includes selecting which projects will be supported for further development. The voice of the young people is developed further by removing bureaucracy and enabling the narratives and identities associated with their creative activities and skills.

This repositions the young people as being in control of their own creative development and progression, much like anyone working in a creative career.

Back on Track...

One of Articulate's project strands that Alice got involved with was Track: a music-making project that sees older young people writing, performing, producing and releasing their own original music with the support of professional musicians, producers and recording studios throughout.

Boy playing guitar

Track’s objectives were to highlight a variety of pathways into music both within and out-with formal education and to introduce the skills required to be an autonomous creative in the profession - giving participants hands on experience in a variety of professional contexts.

Over 12 sessions participants worked on song-writing workshops; recording and mixing sessions in the studio and DIY releases of music to put it in the public domain - singles including That's All Diamonds Are Good For and The Best Thing Born From Bored Music Lovers are now available on iTunes.

The skills the young people developed as a result were significant and included a wide variety of technical skills (around recording and producing music) as well as more general skills such as agreeing how individual interests could best serve the strengths of the group, and how important it was to make a commitment to full programme. The young people also collaborated between peers and professionals and covered everything that would be required of those working in the music industry.

Alice was one of several participants who have since gone on to be mentored by Articulate in support of a serious interest in becoming a musician, including attending careers advice sessions, taking part in personal development planning and applying for a college course to study music.

More on Employability

Listen to the CashBack podcast that explores the positive impact of the initiative, providing real opportunities for young people to be employed in the arts, screen and creative industries.

The CashBack for Creativity programme aims to tackle inequality by removing barriers to access and provision of arts and creative experiences for young people, aged 10-24 regardless of background or situation.

Find out more about the podcasts and the research into the impact of CashBack for Creativity.

This article was published on 30 Aug 2018