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How UNCON 2.0 celebrated young artists

On Saturday 22 September, UNCON 2.0 was held at Horsecross – Perth Theatre. UNCON 2.0 was a free, all-day youth arts event, designed for young people, by young people. It was created and facilitated by the National Youth Arts Advisory Group for Scotland (NYAAG), a collective of 30 volunteers aged 15-24 from across the country, united by their passion for the arts.

This year’s UNCON was all about celebrating the young artist, featuring an exciting variety of events, workshops, screenings, exhibitions and performances showcasing and discussing amazing young talent and opportunities from all over Scotland.

It was hosted as part of the Year of the Young People 2018 (YoYP), which aims to put the voice of young people front and centre. Culture and Creativity was identified as one of the themes that young people wanted to be recognised during the year, and UNCON 2.0 was an incredible sharing of young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.

Performances and events

The event featured a series of over 30 performances, screenings, panel discussions and debates from a range of youth arts projects supported by Creative Scotland. Youth arts groups performing on the day include The Tinderbox Orchestra, Scottish Dance Theatre and The Ceilidh Trail with Fèis Rois, alongside international speakers from Denmark and Germany.

Throughout the day, we had a real buzz about the event. The young people here seem to have enthusiastically taken to the workshops – it’s been really positive and exciting to see- Allan Berry - Creative Scotland

We spoke to some of the young people at UNCON 2.0 to hear what they enjoyed about the day’s programme.

Rosie Sullivan is a 16-year-old singer-songwriter from Lewis who performed throughout the day. “My dad applied me for UNCON and I was really happy to be accepted. It’s a really nice atmosphere and everyone’s really friendly... I’m really happy with how my gig went and I’m excited to see all the other showcases as well," she said.

NYAAG member, Adam Stewart from Dundee said his favourite part of UNCON 2.0 on the day was “getting to see it all put together.”

“It’s been over a year in the making, really. People have been working really hard to put it together, it’s really good how well everybody’s worked together in their teams. Being part of the Communications team has been really good, doing filming, getting feedback from people – speaking to a lot of people as well. The reception that we’ve gotten is great.”

Andrew is a representative of RawFfest, a youth arts festival in Wales, who attended UNCON 2.0 to learn about and discuss youth arts in Scotland, with a view for strengthening national and international connections.
“I attended the NYAAG platform. Speaking to people about what they think about art, whether they consider themselves as artists. Very interesting conversations because art is such a broad thing… everyone came up with something different, so that was fun.”

“I’ve just been to the Net Effect, they did a workshop which was based around not planning too much about art. We were working on drawing, sketching and feeling rather than thinking about things too much, which I thought was really fun.”

24-year-old Daniel McCormick from Clydebank has been involved in Time to Shine – Scotland’s National Youth Arts Strategy for five years and through that, he learned about the National Youth Arts Advisory Group, which he is now a member of. Daniel was involved in organising the first UNCON event and is thrilled with the outcome of UNCON 2.0.

“I’m so happy that this event is a youth-only speakers event. We’re in the Year of Young People and we have a whole day dedicated to youth arts and only young people are speaking… It truly is a young person’s event, for young people, but the knowledge that we’re sharing is so relevant for sector professionals at the same time.”

Time to Shine

UNCON 2.0 is a key outcome of Time to Shine – Scotland’s National Youth Arts Strategy. Our Time to Shine Co-ordinator, Allan Berry was extremely happy with how the day went, praising the young people who facilitated the event and made the outcome so successful.

“Throughout the day, we had a real buzz about the event. The young people here seem to have enthusiastically taken to the workshops – it’s been really positive and exciting to see.

“My favourite part of UNCON 2.0 has been seeing how the young people have stepped up to the plate, taking charge of the event and really making it their own has been amazing to see and, as they said during the introductory sequence, this is the first time that they’ve all been to an event that’s just young people, there are no adults speaking at this event and that’s been really amazing to see.”

This article was published on 08 Oct 2018