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This summer, from 8th August – 19th September 2010 Leeds Art Gallery will host a groundbreaking new version of Open Show; this year’s competition will be open to young people who will be given the opportunity to display their work in this world-renowned gallery.

Open Show is being supported by Find Your Talent and for the first time is open to young people aged 18 and under. The competition is open to anyone from the Yorkshire region aged 0 to over 100.

200 selected young entrants will have their work professionally hung at Leeds Art Gallery during the summer holidays. The works will be chosen by a panel of young people aged 16-19 from the Leeds Met Young Curators Group.

Through a series of artist led workshops young people, pre-school children and their families are creating and talking about art. These free workshops will be taking place across the city including the Find Your Talent locality areas of Inner North West, Morley and Seacroft Manston.

Find Your Talent are investing in this ambitious opportunity to nurture and celebrate the artistic talents of children and young people in Leeds. By displaying their work in one of the city’s major visual arts venues the scheme is communicating a clear message to children and young people that their creativity is valued – and has a key role to play in the cultural life of the city.

For full details on the Open Show competition, entry forms and workshop sessions visit Leeds Art Gallery’s Website.

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The first Find Your Talent supported Leeds & Yorkshire Hub Early Arts Professional Development Day will take place at Leeds’ Discovery Centre on Thursday 29 April 2010.

Find Your Talent will be championing the early years sector through the Early Arts pathfinder.

Earlyarts Professional Development Days are for arts, cultural and early years professionals who want to explore creative practices in their work with young children and families. The workshops will teach excellent practice skills, explore case studies and will provide an opportunity for attendees to create their own networks within this field of practice.

There will be presentations and discussions on two local creative learning projects Linking Libraries and Localities and Creative Partnerships in Early Years. Two practical workshops will cover Accessing Early Years Education in Museums and Galleries  and a consultation session will be held by Ruth Churchill Dower (of Earlyarts) where attendees can contribute their ideas on what Leeds needs in creative practice for early years.

The full programme for the day, and booking information, can be seen by clicking here.

This month the first Essentially Dance training workshops have taken place in the Seacroft Manston locality.

Supported by Find Your Talent the workshops will equip teachers with the skills to teach ballroom dancing in their own schools – and are part of the National Curriculum Ballroom and Latin American dance resource for Key Stage 1 to 5.

This sustainable approach to professional development means that new knowledge and skills can be shared and embedded within the school’s curriculum and extended services.

The Leeds workshops are taught by Dale Bennett – twin brother of Darren Bennett, star of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.  Due to the success of the hit TV show there has been a huge resurgence of interest in ballroom dancing; its popularity extends to family learning as dancing can be experienced and enjoyed by all age groups.

Teachers from local primary schools including St Theresa’s, Crossgates, Winmoor St Paul’s C of E, Parklands, Methley, Beechwood , Temple Newsam House, and Sharp Lane were involved alongside participants from Parklands Girls High.

With courses ranging from beginners, intermediate and advanced the first workshops covered the beginners level  in Cha-Cha-Cha, Jive and Waltz.

By undertaking training within the Essentially Dance workshop programmes the schools will improve young people’s confidence, social skills, self esteem, fitness and health – and hope to enhance community involvement and engagement within the Seacroft Manston areas.

Leeds Young People’s Film Festival are delighted to be working with Find Your Talent to give young people living in Seacroft Manston, Morley and Leeds Inner North West the opportunity to watch films that take a look at other cultures in a unique way. The films will be screened at Hyde Park Picture House on Monday 29th and Wednesday 31st March 2010.

The festival will be screening the stunning animation Persepolis (a coming of age drama about growing up during the Iranian revolution) and Whale Rider, where a young Maori girl fights to fulfil her destiny – which her grandfather refuses to recognise.

All young people attending the film will receive a fact sheet about the film and the festival is giving each FYT area 10 Golden Family Tickets which allows up to four people to see all the films in the festival for free. The screenings are also open for parents book into.

In addition to the screenings the festival is offering groups of young people from each FYT area the opportunity to become local ambassadors for their areas and act as a focus group for the festival. The ambassadors will be given access all areas passes to see any of the films and can experience any of the workshops or master classes to understand how a festival is programmed and organised.  

It is hoped that by encouraging young people to visit the screenings they will engage and explore the core themes of  cultural diversity and understanding other cultures through the young film festival workshops.

In the run up to GRT History Month, Leeds Find Your Talent are supporting a series of photographic sessions at Studio 12 in Leeds Central Library for young people aged 8-14 from the GRT community. Working alongside Studio12’s Media Arts Facilitator participants will develop their technical and composition skills to explore issues around identity and create unique portraits of Travellers in the present-day.  The images will be profiled in an exhibition as part of the GRT History month celebrations at Leeds Central Library during June.

Studio12 is a well established media arts resource delivered by Leeds Libraries and, as well as providing a creative hub, it offers a great opportunity to connect young people from Leeds GRT community with the wide range of services provided by Leeds Libraries including a Traveller support group for literacy skills development.

GRT History Month is a national initiative that challenges perceptions, raises awareness and provides a partnership with schools, heritage organisations, central government and local authorities. Leeds and Yorkshire has a history rich with the presence of Traveller and Gypsies, as one of the region’s oldest ethnic minorities the first recorded mention of Gypsies in Leeds was in 1572. In the UK they are recognised ethnic minority communities; in Leeds there are approximately 4,000 people from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The photographs will be part of The Leeds Traveller History Photographic Exhibition which runs from May 5th until 27th May 2010. The exhibition promises to be a real highlight for GRT History month and will celebrate the achievements of the local GRT communities who have a valuable role to play in the cultural heritage of Leeds.   

Last month the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce visited Morley Library as part of a Find Your Talent supported event. Reading from his two novels Millions (winner of the 2004 Carnegie Medal) and Cosmic the writer collaborated with Artemis who supplied artefacts for the event.

The event encouraged young people to engage with literature in a hands-on way, and introduced them to the idea of how being successful doesn’t necessarily equate with fame.

 The writer, originally from Liverpool, has worked in a variety of writing roles over the years; from scriptwriter on Brookside and Coronation Street through to an array of prize-winning children’s fiction. As a screenwriter he is best known for his collaborations with Michael Winterbottom (including 24 Hour Party People and Welcome To Sarajevo) and also had his novel Millions developed into a film in partnership with Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. Boyce also wrote and staged his first original theatre production Proper Clever at the Liverpool Playhouse during the European Capital of Culture Year 2008.

During the Morley event, in front of a sold out audience of 350 young people (aged between 8-14) he discussed how money causes problems, and how it inspired the concept behind Millions. The writer engaged with the young audience in this lively reading, and sold out his entire stock of novels on the day. He signed copies of books, postcards, and through an informal Q&A session explained how his own personal process of writing had enabled him to become a successful writer.

Young people in Leeds will benefit from improved opportunities in arts and culture thanks to a groundbreaking web development which is attracting national interest.

Breeze Culture Network is the new website for professionals providing cultural opportunities for young people in Leeds.  Developed by Leeds City Council and funded by Find Your Talent, the site brings together schools, children’s centres, freelance artists and arts organisations, voluntary and community groups in a growing resource which aims to improve knowledge, develop ideas and increase opportunities for young people.

An essentially simple idea, the network links professionals to a wealth of information about those working in related areas, helping communication and joint planning.  The network will develop relationships between the cultural and education sectors, improving the coherence and quality of opportunities on offer to children and young people.

For a full version of this press release please visit the LCC Virtual Newsroom.

What was FYT?

Find Your Talent was a national programme to explore new ways of opening up cultural and creative opportunities to young people. Leeds was one of the ten FYT Pathfinders in England.

The programme was led by Leeds City Council and Education Leeds, working closely together and with the city's cultural and community sectors to find ways for more young people to participate in the cultural life of the city.

FYT was funded to operate between 2008-2011 but its legacy in Leeds continues through activities under the Breeze banner, as well as other initiatives.