Bridge North East: Jenni's December Blog
Bridge North East works with Arts Council England to connect young people with great art and culture across the region – you can connect with their work on the Bridge NE webpage on this site, follow us Twitter and receive e-news updates.
In this regular blog the team takes a less formal tone…these blogs are a place to present new and sometimes still-forming ideas; opinions; experiences; excitements and the personal perspectives on being part of the lively Bridge North East team – as well as sometimes asking for your ideas, opinion, experiences, excitements and reflections.
Jenni, Creative Apprentice on the Bridge North East team shares her thoughts on Quality, tells of a recent youth event, and helps us learn what Bridge North East is all about.
All Bridge Organisations have a core aim of improving the quality of arts provision for young people in our respective regions. My team here at Bridge North East were tasked with hosting a young people’s quality event, working with The University of the First Age to facilitate the debate; and the other 9 regional bridge organisations to recruit young people – both engaged and not engaging with arts and cultural activity.
As Bridge North East’s Creative Apprentice and a young person who engages with arts and culture as a participant and a young leader, I was asked to get involved as a peer facilitator in the event.
Before this I worked on the event preparations with the rest of the team – mostly e-mailing hotels constantly shifting room numbers and names, as well as hunting down suitable brochures for the welcome packs. After spending a day putting all 80 of them together in our little office we regularly suffered bag-slides for a few days, anyone opening the door made them overflow in a brightly coloured avalanche all over any available floor space.
We ended up with a total of 45 young people from all over the country and a team of 9 local young people acting as peer facilitators –with Caz Brader and Sarah Burges from the UFA ( University of the First Age ) overseeing the day. The UFA piloted the timetable for the day on our team of peer facilitators as a training day and we were given advice and props to work with.
We decided that since we were inviting guests from all over England we should make the most of our unique regional features, and since our accent is amazing and the working title of “The Young People’s Quality Event” was not, we decided on the name “How do we Know it’s Propa Belta?” !
We wanted to encourage the young people to feel open about using and sharing their own dialect and opinions. The training and insight the UFA provided us with was fantastic – but the effect of their influence on the day was unbelievable. The debates were fully in the hands of the 45 young people, with us assisting them with their focus and really, just asking the right questions.
The most brilliant thing was listening to them, completely uncensored and honest as an intelligent, diverse group of young people with the same desire as the adults co-ordinating the project for quality.
The ideas that came out of the process felt simplistic and fresh, there was a lot of the expected talking and listening – but there was an overwhelming level of thought and context emerging too. The stories that came with these were really brilliant for providing insight, for instance there was an artistically inclined lad in my group with a story about how his organisation uses social networking and instagram. They use instagram on their twitter account to provide more visually appealing imagery; this is used to broadcast what they’re setting up, where they’re doing the event and content which provides the opportunity to develop a sense of personality and humour in their account. We agreed that a sense of humour and imagery appeals in a twitter account; it makes the organisation feel relatable for young people – essentially it’s a way of extending and advertising that lovely concept of a sense of belonging and ownership online. The organisation that does this apparently finds it very effective, so the group challenged why this was. It all comes back to how one well presented, relevant image has the power to communicate so much more quickly and clearly in its intended context to viewers than lines and lines of text and jargon can. As people working in a creative industry, even in office based jobs we need to remember; we need to be creative ourselves! This is something I’m taking back to Bridge North East with me, definitely.
There’ll be more from the Bridge North East team in future blog posts.