How do you draw a rainbow the wrong way?

Understanding young people’s development in creative activities

This research report provides a fascinating insight into the wide-ranging impacts of the arts and creativity on the lives of young people who have experienced additional challenges in life. It is based on over 50 in-depth interviews with participants and practitioners, and paints a rich, rewarding and complex picture of how young people can be supported through creative projects.

One young person recalls their primary school teacher suggesting that the rainbow they had drawn was the ‘wrong way around’, reinforcing a self-belief that they had no artistic ability. "How do you draw a rainbow the wrong way?", asked the young person, reflecting back on that experience. The young person didn’t give up on their ambitions and, a few years down the line, were introduced to an arts project funded through the CashBack for Creativity programme. They finally found somewhere safe and supportive, led by passionate and skilled practitioners who understood that they could develop if they could just find the right place to explore their creativity.

This research provides an opportunity to hear the voices of practitioners, stakeholders and young people who have been involved in the delivery of CashBack projects; to explore the components of effective good practice in delivering creative projects to young people experiencing additional challenges or barriers to access, and to share that knowledge and experience.

During 2017/18 we’ll also be publishing a series of ‘Research Bites’ focussing on the key themes which emerged in this report, and supported by podcasts and discussions from some of the people involved.


How do you draw a rainbow the wrong way? PDF version

This research sought to understand how young people taking part in a range of creative programmes across and beyond Scotland developed creatively, as well as how their creative development may be linked to other elements of personal or social development.

Literature review - Creative projects and other outcomes

Download an Excel spreadsheet summary of relevant research reports considered as part of a report on understanding young people’s development (...)