On the arts.

Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England,  speaking at the first conferencein the UK on Care and the arts imdustry at Derby Theatre in November 2018. 

In the UK  there is an unprecedented level of quality work between the arts and young people in care.  The National Theatre of Scotland announced last week their next play is an adaptation  of THE PANOPTICON by Jenni Fagan.

Jenni Fagan spent eighteen years of her life in care. Panopticon and her second novel were on the front page of The New York Times

In October it was announced that Sophie Willan has a second comedy series commissioned by BBC radio 4.  Sophie is a comedian writer and actor.  She is the voice of  Channel 4’s recent hit dating series  The Circle

Also in November writer and performer  Louise Wallwein popped down to Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE for services to the arts 

 “Woodburn Hall is astounding” described  Lyn Gardner  of  nineteen year old actor and care leaver Shonagh Woodburn-Hall in Gardners four star review  of Bullet Tongue by  The Big House Theatre Company.

Big House Theatre  which started in 2013 is the greatest example of theatre work with young people in care,  and those who have left care in Britain. Four star reviews fill the sky above Big House which is  steered by the visionary and inspirational CEO and artistic director Maggie Norris.  

There has been some seriously inspiring work going on in York with the Aspire to More project by not for profit organisation Inspired Youth  by Kev Curran

Major arts organisations and care services across Derbyshire have joined forces to provide looked after children, care leavers, and their families the chance to experience live performances, films, and take part in a host of exciting opportunities through plus one, a free ticket scheme at Derby Theatre..

Element build arts projects exploring purpose motivation and creativity for care leavers. They are doing a really good job.  

FLOURISH produced both a magazine and exhibitions of work by care leavers and young people in care. Just look at  the quality!!  All the art at Flourish is by care leavers . It was run by artist  Beatty Hallas. It disappeared due to lack of funding (?) in 2013.  It was ahead of its time.

Coram runs a poetry competition called Voices 2018. It is open for entriesin a few days time . For more information about the competition and how to enter, please visit the Voices page.

The Foundling Museum  (the first Childrens charity in the UK) run a bespoke training and mentorship programme for. care-experienced young adults. The programme provides young adults with transferable skills of personaland professional value, including public speaking, research, critical and creative thinking.

For Kids Company art is central to their research based work. Kids Company received  The NHS and Royal Society of Arts award for its pioneering work in the arts and mental health.  The charity was audited 46 times by the government during its 19 years of operation, and not a single complaint ever emerged.  Camila Batmanghella  suffered a concerted attack and  a calculated smear campaign’.  This Christmas thousands of peope in need will benefit from Kids Comany.

An arts based project which insists on creative thinking and artists was Inspired by the Tope Project in 2012.  I started the christmas dinners in 2013. They are held on Christmas Day for Care leavers.   On  December 25th  seventeen Christmas Dinners will be celebrating.  Communities come together to organise  in October such as this one in Hackney

In November Battersea Arts Centre held GOING PLACES  which is the first theatre based ten day  festival of arts  by “care experienced”. It included comedian Stewart Lee, novelist Sally Bailey and memoirist and food monthly editor Allan Jenkins. Plus much much more.

Then there’s the. UpWrite project run by the The Arvon Foundation, which gives looked after children the chance to attend residential creative writing courses and workshops.

This month, Caroline Bird, John McGrath and myself were the  arts practitioners in  Superkids: Breaking Away From Care. The programme  is available on Channel Four Catch up until Deceber 28th 

‘The art we fund must have creative ambition at its heart and quality in its delivery’.

Darren Henley CEO of Arts Council England speaking at The Culture Cares Conference.  November 2018.


4 thoughts on “On the arts.

  1. Great blog, Lemn. I really believe that art can contribute to healing and transformation. There is also Your Life Your Story set up so that care exp people can come together with professional writers to begin the process of writing their stories: https://careleaversinfiction.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/your-life-your-story-2018/
    And what we hope will be one of the biggest art exhibitions of care experienced artwork in all its forms at the Care Experienced Conference -Past, Present and Future, next April 26th, 2019. https://www.careexperiencedconference.com

    • There is a lot of work happening in the arts sector for care leavers and young people in care. I have chosen a few highlights based on the quality and ambition (current work) outlined by Darren Henley the CEO of Arts Council England. I am lucky to see this work throughout the UK and to observe the growth in this area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *