Young Artivists

Following the success of Capturing Lives 2020 and The Power of Public Art programme in 2021, it was not surprising that the University of Edinburgh initiated another Arts Awards programme this year. This time, the project was an opportunity for participants to either achieve their Silver or Gold Awards. The Young Artivists programme began last September, with the goal of helping each participant improve their art skills through making art, reviewing it and talking about it. The importance of communicating and understanding social issues through their work was another facet of the programme.

As a mentor, I was once again given the privilege of observing the creativity and the tenacity of the young artists as they pursued their Silver and Gold awards. They actively participated in the weekly discussion sessions, came up with fantastic workshops that they ran themselves in March and committed themselves to learning new skills such as zine-making, lino-printing and embroidery (to name a few). I was constantly in awe at the way each participant demonstrated their leadership and their teamwork skills throughout the workshop planning process.

Once again, the Young Artivists programme is proof of the importance of investing in outreach programmes that encourage young people, regardless of circumstance, to pursue their artistic impulses and develop their skill set. Some of the participants of Young Artivists have been a part of the Arts Awards programmes since 2020, and there is a clear progression present not only in their art but in their critical thinking and leadership.

While I could write article upon article about the hard work of not only the participants but the supportive staff and mentors, I thought I’d share the spotlight with one of the participants, Tatyana:

“During the second lockdown, I learned about the Young Artists programme by chance. I was in my 1st year of high school, and one night I was checking my school’s team page to make sure I had submitted all my assignments when I came across a link. I clicked on it because I was generally intrigued. The Bronze Award appealed to me because it allowed me to experiment and gain hands-on experience with several art materials while remaining at home. It was ideal, and I wasted no time in applying for the programme.

It offered me with innumerable experiences, skills, feedback, and opportunities as the weeks progressed, but during a pandemic, it also provided me with much-needed serenity. I was able to participate in the creation of little constructions out of clay, as well as the creation of art using paint, chalk, and plaster. Now that I’m completing the gold award, I’ve been able to organise, create, and host a workshop open to the public. It has opened my mind to consider other mediums of art and I also conducted work experience in the film and television sector.

My favourite component has been gaining a sense of accomplishment for which I am grateful to the mentors for. They are extremely knowledgeable and eager to assist you which makes this programme excel and highly recommended.”

Written by Tessa Rodrigues and Tatyana Emmanuel.

Author: VOiCE

UoE Collections VOiCE (Volunteers in Collections Engagement) run a monthly newsletter, podcast and blog about the different collections, people and museums at the University of Edinburgh.

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