In spring 2015, Croydon Music and Arts partnered with the council’s Youth Engagment Team and Fairfield Halls to deliver an extensive consultation with young people aged 12 – 19 that aimed to understand their views on Croydon’s arts provision. The study, funded by A New Direction (the Arts Council Bridge Organisation for London), found that young people are engaged with a wealth of opportunities in Croydon but have concerns around affordability and inclusivity. Read the report here.

We were delighted to receive further funding from A New Direction for our Creative Croydon programme, through the Cultural Education Challenge initiative.


At the centre of Creative Croydon is a group of Young Ambassadors: the Croydon Youth Arts Collective (CYAC). CYAC is made up of a diverse and dedicated group of young people who believe that arts and culture enriches lives. Find out more about them here.

Over the course of the programme, Creative Croydon will work with CYAC and other youth groups to celebrate, platform and advocate for the importance of creative opportunities and talent in Croydon.

In spring 2016, CYAC were supported to design and deliver more youth arts consultations in seven very different settings to get more in-depth findings about young people's barriers to arts participation. Read the report here. They have produced two Youth Arts Takeover events at the Clocktower and are working towards their third, set to take place in October 2018.

 

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Creative Croydon has gone from strength to strength. Thanks to further support from A New Direction made available through a second round of funding for Cultural Education Challenge initiatives, we have worked with the following organisations on some fantastic projects:

Club Soda who ran an inclusive music-making project for young people with learning disabilities.

Coulsdon CofE Primary School who devised a cultural festival at the school involving every pupil.

South London Inclusive Dance Experience who devised a site-specific dance project that allowed participants to respond to Croydon’s urban and green spaces and made use of the trams.

St Giles School who produced a creative arts day for children and young people with profound SEN/D and their families and friends.

The BRIT School who created an evaluation tool that will help them to assess the impact and success of their community arts strand.

The Herd who devised an exploratory theatre project for teenagers that focused on their space and identity.

Turf Projects who produced a youth-led quarterly zine focused around art, design and food.
 

These projects formed part of an action research programme involving an external Evaluator, Professor Anne Bamford, who looked at the impact of the above provision on young people. Findings were pulled into an impressive report which can be read here. Read the Executive Summary and Recommendations of the report here.

 
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We also met with a range of youth arts practitioners in September 2017 to understand more about the strengths and challenges of Croydon’s youth arts sector. We learnt a lot from this consultation about what would help to nurture the field and what the barriers are. Click here to read the report.

The findings of our two most recent reports were shared at Croydon’s Culture Congress in January 2018 asking those that attended to consider responses to the themes raised. Get in touch if you’d like to get involved in this discussion, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Through A New Direction’s investment, we have also formed a Local Cultural Education Partnership, a strategic adult group for cultural education in Croydon, who are supporting and advising us through the Creative Croydon programme.