Ten young people from Leeds are set to take part in a prestigious cultural exchange in France which will include a presentation of artwork to Prince Charles.  Their contribution will be part of a ceremony to commemorate  Commonwealth soldiers who died during the First World War.  The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor James McKenna, will also participate in this high profile international event in Leeds’ partner city of Lille.

The Leeds group, aged 14-17, are from the Burley, Seacroft, Beeston and Morley areas. They have been developing a role as Arts Ambassadors for the city, supported by Youth Point at the Cardigan Centre as part of the Find Your Talent Leeds programme.  They meet regularly to visit arts and culture venues in the city such as galleries, cinemas, and theatres.

Thanks to a special invitation from Lille, the Arts Ambassadors will be representing the UK in France for two weeks from July 17th. Their artwork will pay tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in the trenches during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. Comprising poems, photographs and drawings the collage will be combined with work by other young participants in the exchange programme from Italy and France.

The cultural exchange will be led by Youth Point’s Andrina Dawson and takes place in Lille.  Activities will include daily workshops on dance, DJing, slam poetry and museum/gallery visits. The workshops will culminate in a final performance produced alongside the other European exchange students.  Many of those participating from Leeds had not had access to cultural opportunities before their involvement with Find Your Talent.

Cllr Adam Ogilvie Executive Member for Leisure Services said:

“This exciting opportunity for young people in Leeds is showing how important culture is in gaining confidence, personal skills and engaging young people with new experiences. It also gives a great sense of pride to the city knowing that young people from Leeds will be representing Britain at this major commemorative event.”

Cllr Judith Blake Executive Member for Children’s Services said:

 “It’s so positive to see young people from Leeds taking part in such a significant event and giving them this opportunity in Europe. Having the chance to create their own work, learn about history and mix with young people from across Europe will give these young people an unforgettable experience.”

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