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Young Researchers inform change for care experienced young people in Scotland

Three people sit in front a table holding books

Articulate Young Researchers Ashley and Nicole with Lemn Sissay MBE at his book signing at Aye Write

Care experience and the arts

For care experienced young people, who are disproportionately affected by mental health issues and other challenging circumstances, arts and creative activity provide important opportunities to express themselves, build confidence and networks, and develop skills for employment.

Yet, often without the support of informed adults, care experienced young people can miss out on these opportunities, and do less well than their peers as a result. Care experienced young people are less likely than their peers to enter further and higher education, and are at higher risk than their peers of experiencing the criminal justice system and homelessness. (Statistics from Who Cares? Scotland)

Articulate Cultural Trust are committed to supporting access to transformative creative experiences for all, and particularly those least likely to engage in arts, creativity and culture. In 2018-19 Articulate collaborated with a team of care experienced Young Researchers on a research project called Arts, Creativity & Employability (ACE), which aimed to explore how care experienced young people in Scotland engage in arts and creativity.

In partnership with Abertay University, and supported by the Scottish Government’s Social Innovation Fund, the ACE Young Researchers explored the specific challenges faced by care experienced young people in accessing arts, and visited projects in London, Bristol, York, Newcastle, Glasgow and Dundee where these have been successfully tackled. They also produced a map of Scottish arts projects dedicated to care experienced young people, highlighting areas for improvement as well as good practice. Their reflections and recommendations are captured in a short film.


Three people smile and laugh at the camera

Ashley Mayer and Nicole Sim in London with Lemn Sissay MBE, researching the Articulate film festival inspired by Lemn’s Superman was a Foundling exhibition

Eona Craig, CEO of Articulate, told us about Articulate's experience of working with young people:

"Articulate has the privilege of working with some amazing young people at a key moment in their development as creatives and emerging artists.

We know them to be great ambassadors for the arts and the future of the cultural sector, so the enablement and empowerment supports we offer have the benefit of helping them get on and get in to the industry but also to use their artistry to grow socially, emotionally as well as educationally.

We all benefit massively from engagement with each other and can’t wait to see what the future holds for these generous young talents."

We were also thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to Ashley Mayer, Nicole Sim and Wali Hall, some of the Young Researchers about their experiences of working with Articulate.

I was first introduced to Articulate through my past social worker, who told me how I'd benefit from being a part of Articulate. The highlight of my time working with them was getting the chance to have experiences that I wouldn’t have had before. Drawing is my passion - I have a love for storytelling, and I'm planning on working in the animation industry, doing some work in comics and eventually going freelance.”

Wali Hall

“I first became involved with Articulate 2 years ago. They were running a photography project - it was right up my street at the time. In the 2 years working with Articulate the highlight has definitely been meeting everyone. I have met talented artists, people who inspire me daily and friends for life. Everyone in Articulate is extraordinary in their own right, I am in awe of them. I’ve learned so much from them and I hope they have learned something from me as well.

Writing is my passion and it always has been. I’ve tried a lot of other art forms and none got me like writing does. It’s a form of communication for me, that’s the most important part of writing for me. However, within that it puts a lot of pressure on my writing, so it comes hand in hand. It’s good and bad. I love it because it’s fun, it’s unique and it's raw. The process of writing isn’t like anything I’ve experienced before. It’s exhausting, rewarding, frustrating and exciting all at the same time. That’s why I love it. I hope to be an author one day, however I’m having the time of my life working with Articulate in a professional capacity. I hope to be working with them for a long time to come - that’s the dream.”

Nicole Sim

“I knew about Articulate for a long time. I had been emailing them for a while before I actually met them at an event. My highlight with Articulate has been meeting new people and travelling to places like Bristol and London with them doing research. My creative passion is acting and performing - I love everything creative. I’m currently studying acting at college, and in the future I hope to be a fully qualified working actor. I would also like to teach drama in the community.”

Ashley Mayer

What's next?

An artist stands in front of his framed artworks

Young Researcher Wali Hall stands in front of his Growth exhibition

The ACE Young Researchers are now seeking contributions to Issue #2 of Culture 360, an e-zine celebrating the creativity of care experienced young people. For submissions and more information, visit the Culture 360 website, or go to the Young Researchers’ Culture Corner at COLAB, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3DU.

With their Culture Club, they are also part of Glasgow Life’s FAB project, which provides cultural and sporting activities for care experienced young people aged 14 - 26 living on the south side of Glasgow. Find out more about the Culture Club on their website.

They are also running training in Aberdeen on 12 November for artists, youth and social workers and creative practitioners. Book your place on Eventbrite.

Care Experienced Week 2019 will take place between 19 and 27 October, in celebration of people with experience of the care system.

Photo credit: provided by Articulate Cultural Trust and Hub

This article was published on 18 Oct 2019