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Leeds student Lucy Cheseldine has blogged about her work experience as a young writer in Leeds over at the Guardian Leeds blog.

Lucy has worked for the Mediafish, the Find Your Talent supported Leeds Young People’s Film Festival and has presented her own culture pieces on Radiowaves’ LsLive channel. You can check out the links here.

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Saturday September 25th sees the launch of the second installment of the vibrant Seacroft community Expression Arts Festival, at the David Young Community Academy. Featuring an array of exciting activities, ranging from dance studios, open mics, junk percussion and live bands though to circus, stilt walkers and cheerleading workshops Expression Arts Festival promises to be a jam-packed day for children and young people in the local area

Supported by Find Your Talent, Seacroft Manston Children & Young Peoples Partnership, and organised by Space2, the event is a culmination of six months of rehearsals, workshops and creative learning in and around the Seacroft and Manston areas. Three hundred local young people have taken part in the preparations for Expression Arts Festival.

Based around the concept of ‘HMS Expression’ the nautical-themed festival will hold a  ship’s crew and pirates and stowaways causing mischief, So come aboard, pick up your passports and explore the ships:

  • ‘Theatre Space’ – The Elastic Band Orchestra, West Yorkshire Playhouse’s  production of  The Worm Collector , Parklands Dance, Seacroft Film Factory’s premiere, East Leeds Youth Theatre, and Connect Housing’s Junk Percussion Orchestra and many more will be performing
  • ‘Canteen’ – Leeds performance poet Michelle Scally-Clarke and Stella Litras will host West Yorkshire Playhouse’s ‘First Cut’ open mic sessions featuring young people from the Seacroft area
  • ‘Dance Studio’ – check out DAZL’s cheerleading squad, and Pilates workshops
  • Wicker-making sessions and Leeds’ Children’s Circus outside throughout the day
  • Market stalls, a smoothie-making bicycle, interactive stalls, and a visual arts exhibition
  • East Leeds FM radio broadcasting live all day

Throughout Expression Arts Festival Seacroft Film Factory will film a documentary of the day, hosting a Big Brother style diary room in a garden shed, as well as showing their films in the Seacroft Film Factory cinema .

From 7-10pm East Leeds FM will host Next Generation, a live music event where local up and coming band Hope and Social will play alongside some of the best emerging bands from around Leeds. Tickets £3 each available from Jumbo or Crash Records (50p booking fee) or www.elfm.co.uk . No tickets available on the door. Age 11 – 18.

For more information on Expression Arts Festival check out the Breeze Leeds website.

EXPRESSION ARTS FESTIVAL 2010
SATURDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER, 12-4PM, DAVID YOUNG COMMUNITY ACADEMY, BISHOP’S WAY, SEACROFT, LEEDS, LS14 6NU
ADMISSION FREE

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.”

The Leeds Be Healthy! Be Creative healthy schools programme offers a choice of over 100 challenges for schools that involve individuals, classes, teachers, families and year groups to choose to ‘just do one thing well’. This summer’s 2010 term will see a celebration event taking place at the Leeds Met Carnegie site on June 29th.

The challenges last for at least six weeks, which involve changing habits for the long term. For example, using Breeze to access information, visiting heritage sites on a regular basis, or learning a musical instrument.

The celebration event will have 60 schools participating, showing each other their achievements whilst having an opportunity to try out two of the six workshops being offered during the exciting ‘festival’ themed day including Circus Skills, Slam Poetry, Bhangra Dancing, African Drumming, Drama and Singing.

The programme has held five young leaders training days in April at Park Spring Primary, Morley High School, Templenewsam Halton Primary, Abbey Grange High and Wigton Moor Primary. Children and young people on the Young Leaders programme took part in activities that included confidence building, decision making, teamwork, presentation, and recording and evaluation skills.

The Young Leaders go back to their schools to run challenges with other pupils. Creative crew at the Carnegie event will be composed of Young Leaders who will help support the day and organise/plan the event.

One of the yr 4 pupils from Wigton Moor Primary has created this short poem from the BHBC Young Leaders training session, which describes some of the key points from their recent workshops;

Switch off the lights
Turn off the taps
Recycle your rubbish
Think about that
Think about the world
Our environment too
It’s got to last a long time
Not just for me, but for all of you too.

Seacroft has been captured on film by young documentary film makers in East Leeds in a new film titled Seacroft Past, Present and Future. Established in August 2009, the Seacroft Youth Film Factory project has been running in partnership with Space2, Leeds Bridge community film organisation and the Youth Service at the Denis Healey Centre.

Seacroft Film Factory’s documentary film trailer was shown at Hyde Park Picture House in April  as part of Screen Yorkshire’s slot at the Young People’s Film Festival, with the final complete film along with Bloopers and outtakes at the David Young Community Academy at the end of April. 

Find Your Talent  have supported a further film project with the young people, through the Film Festival’s 24 hour Film Challenge.  Another film called Blue Boundaries was created based on the local history of Temple Newsam where a rumoured ‘Blue Lady’ wanders the grounds.

The project worked with young people 11 – 19, who explored local history through the medium of film. The group took part in practical delivery sessions, visited the National Media Museum, and also Bradford and Leeds Metropolitan University’s Northern Film School.

This innovative scheme developed arts and media-based skills, increased self-esteem, raised aspirations, and introduced pathways to positive future education and/or career choices in the arts and media. Following the sessions – where the group learned how to edit, shoot and plan their own films – four young people gained their Bronze Arts Award in January 2010, with a further 3 collecting Bronze PAYP awards and 1 Gold PAYP award.

Three groups of young people have been meeting regularly in Seacroft Manston, Morley and Inner North West to debate, discuss and make decisions regarding cultural opportunities in Leeds.

Find Your Talent is supporting three groups of young people to become cultural ambassadors for the city.  Each group works in different ways but shares the same aim: to have a young people’s voice in the city’s arts and culture.  The East Leeds group have enjoyed singing, guitar and steel pans at East Leeds Music Centre, had backstage tours of The Carriageworks and West Yorkshire Playhouse and have seen a performance of The Secret Garden. Many had never been to the theatre before.

During the Easter holidays, the three groups came together to meet one another and create a job description for their role as arts ambassador. 

Working alongside FYT and various cultural organisations (including West Yorkshire Playhouse, Carriage Works, and Libraries, Arts & Heritage) the budding arts critics – known as ‘arts ambassadors’ – have shared their ideas and opinions to ensure decision-makers at the local council take into account their views on culture.

The ambassador groups are being given exciting opportunities that will shape and develop their skills in communication, creativity and positive engagement with the arts. Some of these include film, music and drama/theatre visits.

Each participating school will eventually elect its own ‘Arts Ambassador’ for their council who will represent arts and culture at the school. The outcomes from the ambassador groups is helping to shape new directions and positive approaches towards young people in the arts in Leeds – from actual activities through to policy making (such as CYPP).

Family film screenings over at Armley Mills cinema have been a roaring success over the past few months. The films, programmed by I Love West Leeds Arts Festival and funded by FYT, have proved so popular that an additional screening of The Goonies has been planned during July’s festival.

The film club is being supported for a further 12 months by Find Your Talent so watch out out for more cinematic gems from the self-styled ‘cutest little cinema in the world’.

For more info contact ilovewestleeds@googlemail.com

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.   

LS Live is a project run by Radiowaves and funded by Find Your Talent, giving young people the chance to report on events in their city. Radiowaves is the leading safe website for children and young people to broadcast their videos, podcasts and blogs, connect with others and improve digital literacy skills.  

Next week Radiowaves will be taking a group of LSLive reporters to Leeds’ Ice Cube –  the hugely popular ice skating rink in Millennium Square that is the largest open air rink the UK. Radiowaves will be training reporters in the run up to the Leeds Young People’s Film Festival and Breeze events later this year.

 LS Live reporters take part in broadcast training workshops and are given their own page on the LS Live Radiowaves station. Reporters are supplied with regular newsletters (keeping them informed of cultural events around Leeds) and can film events on video, interview the public and take photographs. They are also taught how to edit and upload their own content after recording.

In November last year Radiowaves worked alongside a group of young people to create video footage of Leeds’ Lightnight event. The project is a key strand to the Leeds pathfinder, encouraging young people to comment on their cultural experiences and become active audience members and participators.

For further information please contact Alison Booth, Project Manager, alison.booth@radiowaves.co.uk

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.