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The Leeds-based South Asian Arts UK (SAA-uk) has hosted an array of Find Your Talent workshops across the city since September last year which has given young people the chance to explore their cultural heritage through music, dance and theatre.
SAA-uk was established in 1997 to promote engagement with traditional and contemporary South Asian arts. It delivers a diverse range of programmes and activities for children, young people and their families through education programmes, concerts and investment in South Asian arts development.
Supported by Find Your Talent, SAA-uk have held guitar workshops for 9-10 year olds at Shakespeare Primary School in Burmantofts, led by the accomplished musician Giuliano Modarelli. The group also visited a live performance by Alex Teymour Housego’s Alcazaba, a flamenco/ middle eastern fusion band at the Seven Arts venue in Chapel Allerton.
Since January members of the Punjabi Language School have met regularly at the GNNSJ Sikh Temple in Beeston on Wednesday evenings. The project included an introduction to the theatre with a trip to The Carriageworks to see a production of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
The visit was followed by a day-long workshop at the GNNSJ temple facilitated by leading storyteller and drama coach Ursula Holden Gill. The day included games based on Animal Farm, looking at representations of animal types and characteristics with mask-making and live performances.
During the final phase of workshops girls from City of Leeds High School took part in Bollywood dance workshops at The Cardigan Centre.
The after-school sessions, hosted by Rushia Uzmi (Dola), came to an end in June and the group are now looking forward to attending the new show Britain’s Got Bhangra at West Yorkshire Playhouse. The hit play from Rifco Arts traces the history of Bhangra through the story of Twinkle (an 80s British Bhangra icon who goes bankrupt with only dreams of a number one hit to keep him going) and will be coming to Leeds in July.
The confidence of the workshop participants has developed in many ways throughout this project which has seen young people build on their creative skills, gain Arts Award qualification and establish new friendships.
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).
White Rose Learning Centre have worked in partnership with Find Your Talent to deliver the Performing for Success Arts Award in the Morley area of Leeds.
This term Performing for Success has worked with the singer/songwriter Danny Gough to write and perform original lyrics which were recorded onto a CD. Pupils were also given backstage tours of Leeds’ historic venues and attended a performance of VOICES: The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff at the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds.
Next term the project goes across the city to be replicated out in two other learning centres where the focus will be on radio production, poetry and martial arts; all of which will be accredited through the Arts Award scheme.
The only word I know that rhymes with culture
I ain’t no beast though,
Culture to me is …
The way I dress,
What I eat,
The way I make a mess,
Who I meet,
The way I speak,
How I do,
The way I seek,
What I pursue,
Whether I can,
I am who I am.
This fantastic poem was created as part of the Find Your Talent children and young people’s reference group at West Yorkshire Playhouse in April.
The sessions, run by The Project / Youth Association involved young people aged 12-20 from Inner North West Leeds and explored perceptions of art and culture.
This creative approach investigated the role of art and culture in young people’s lives and an ambassador’s group has been formed, Arts Uncovered, which will ensure that children and young people have a voice in the decision making process for all of Find Your Talent’s aims in Leeds.
The Arts Uncovered ambassador’s group will engage with children and young people in Leeds, encouraging them to access culture in the city, and will also visit Breeze on Tour whilst participating with the Follow Alex campaign on Facebook.
We are offering free training (normally costing £130) to relevant professionals to increase the availability of Arts Award programmes for young people in the city.
Three one day training events and a two-part ‘twilight’ course have been scheduled over the next two months. In addition to this free training opportunity up to £60 can be claimed for staff cover (schools/organisations) or attendance expenses (individuals/freelance).
One-day Arts Award Adviser Training days will be held on:
Friday 12 June at The West Park Centre
Tuesday 30 June at Morley Library
Monday 6 July at David Young Community Academy
Two twilight sessions will take place at West Yorkshire Playhouse on:
Monday 8 June
Monday 15 June
For further information about this opportunity please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
FYT popped along to First Floor to meet some of the young people using the space and to hear what they think about it. First Floor is West Yorkshire Playhouse’s new creative place where 12-19 year olds can take part in art, music and performing arts activities. During the visit, we met some enthusiastic and vibrant young people participating in a drama session as part of their Breeze Arts Foundation Course. The group are all working towards Arts Awards as part of their creative development.
It was fantastic to see so much talent and creativity in the room and FYT are looking forward to hearing about the group’s next steps. First Floor offers weekend drop-in sessions for young people in different artforms throughout the year.