Young Associates

Curious Minds has recruited a group of young leaders, aged 16-25, from cultural organisations, NPOs, libraries and museums to be our Young Associates, with the aim of upskilling and developing them to take on a regional leadership role.

Following the completion of a training and induction programme they are now being deployed in a variety of roles as cultural education experts across the North West.
Their roles will include:

Supporting strategic development in the LCEPs
Marketing and social media
Reporting on events
Collecting case studies
Research and evaluation
Arts Award ambassadors

Meet The Young Associates...

Keeley Baughan
Name Keeley Baughan

Linked organisation More Music

Artform(s) Music and Events Management

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully still with More Music, I’m working on mastering the drums and I want to get some formal grading for my vocal work so I can undertake some music leader training and continue with my events work as well.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
The best gig I’ve attended was up at More Music, where we brought two champion beat-boxers, Reeps One and Hobbit and the atmosphere was absolutely amazing. It was great to bring a different scene from what we usually have, because it was run by young people, who usually programme rock music. We don’t usually have many urban artists perform, so it was great to see such a great atmosphere.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
I don’t think schools are able to do as much as the used to with the arts, and culture in general. Drama, Music and Art are usually the subjects you get taken out of if you have to do anything extra. I know with me, it’s helped a lot with mental health, and helped me with confidence. If the arts can do that for other young people then we should get out there and promote our own experiences.
Keeley Wilkinson
Name Keeley Wilkinson

Linked organisation The Dukes Theatre & Wise Up Workshops

Artform(s) Drama & Arts and Crafts

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’m currently applying for funding to start up a community development hub with the aim of bringing practioners of any artform together to help young people have a voice and be heard and work towards a focussed project. I’ve identified I need for that work in my community and if I’m successful I see my next five years being dedicated to that work.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
I’d probably say my first West End show. That’s was the moment where I thought “this is what I want to do as a permanent thing”. Not necessarily acting but being involved with drama professionally and realising the impact that could have on myself. I was 13 at the time and I’m proud I’ve been focussed enough to follow that path.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
Because I think everybody has something different to say and young people are coming at it from a different angle. Society is changing, and so are the arts. Keeping the power with the older generation who have been doing it all their lives is different to what’s happening now. I feel that now the arts are about inclusion and about helping everyone express themselves. Having young people advocate for their own needs will help that move forward and not stagnate.
Zorazelda King
Name Zorazelda King

Linked organisation The Lowry

Artform(s) Drama

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully I will have gone to uni and graduated. At the moment I’m applying for Applied Theatre and Education and Community, so hopefully I’ll have graduated and gained more knowledge to back up what I’d like to do. I’d like to set up my own company or organisation to work with young disadvantaged people.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
I went to the Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia recently and it was an incredible experience. They obviously had some great music acts programmed but combined them incredible visual art systems during the acts. It was all in warehouse venues in an industrial estate and that in contrast to the psychedelic visuals were amazing.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
I know it’s a cliché, but we are the upcoming future. We’re the ones who are going to be affected the most by the decisions being made right now. In terms of that we know how we feel and what we think is important about the way the arts are headed. In comparison to someone who’s at the other end saying “this is what they need” we’re here saying “no, this what we need”. It’s great to have people with experience leading the way, but at the same time, things change, things adapt and it’s important that the young people living through that change have their voices heard.
Adam Ali Gseebat
Name Adam Ali Gseebat

Linked organisation Brighter Sound, Contact, The Royal Exchange, Manchester Camerata

Artform(s) Filmmaking, Drama, Dance

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully at short film festivals, with a wide range of films I’ve been working on. I’d like to have my own production company with a great team to collaborate with. I’d like to still be holding events working with young people and recruiting young people into the arts. I’d like to improve my motivational speaking and hopefully do some work back in the community I grew up in where there aren’t many opportunities to encourage people to do what they’re passionate about.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
I went to see live multi-platform artist Bryony Kimmings at Contact Theatre for a show about men’s mental health she did with her husband. There were some really hard hitting messages about how you’re allowed to be a guy and be outwardly emotional. It fit in really well with a lot of art that’s about at the moment about that aspect of masculinity and the awareness it raises and the conversations it starts.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
If you think about it young people are the next generation of artists and creative leaders so it’s important that they be as involved and recognised and mobilised as possible. Young people want to put themselves out there as much as any older person, so they should be encouraged to speak up, participate or even put on their own stuff.
Danielle Ash
Name Danielle Ash

Linked organisation Lancaster Arts

Artform(s) Visual Art

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I suppose doing what I’m doing now, but on a bigger scale. Bigger exhibitions, working with more well-known artists. I’d like to have my own arts practice and run workshops as well as curating people’s artwork.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
I’m a big fan of music festivals, I’ve been going to them since I was quite young. You meet the most amazing people at music festivals. I’m originally from Suffolk so its great to go back there for Latitude festival and see what new acts are there. It’s great to see not just music acts but a lot of poetry and literature events too. I love that your eyes are opened to new art forms and you’re shown that things go together you wouldn’t normally think would work.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
We’re the next generation of professionals in the arts sector. I think if you don’t include young people it’s quite easy to become very dated in views around the arts and you have to keep all age groups involved, not just those who make the decisions but those that they affect, which is so often young people themselves.
Ollie Blight
Name Ollie Blight

Linked organisation In Sit-u, Obscura Darkroom, The Bureau Centre for the Arts

Artform(s) Visual Art, Photography, Experimental Art Processes

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully still doing what I’m doing, but getting paid enough to live off. I’d love to earn a sole living from my art.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
For the build-up to the Showzam festival in Blackpool they had a European act called Bivouac, which had pyrotechnics setting metal dogs on fire, a rockband on wheels and it was run by this mad anarchistic troupe that were painted blue. It was great to see something so vibrant and mental in the area.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
I think young people’s involvement in the arts is critical on all levels. It’s like any other sector, it builds into the diversity. I think young people also are more in touch with the broader spectrum of life, they haven’t whittled down to one particular job and one set of interests and a unique vast view of the world and wider range of things to communicate.
Issy Cecil
Name Issy Cecil

Linked organisation Mid-Penine Arts

Artform(s) Production and policy (and a bit of knitting)

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’m really interested in programme management and I’d like to work internationally. So I I think at that point I’d like to be working on international arts projects. I’d also like to work more on the policy side and maybe peruse a Masters degree in International Relations or Public Policy to facilitate that.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
I was volunteering at Manchester International Festival in 2015 I helped do some artist liaison for the contemporary ballet piece Tree of Codes, which was incredible. Even now I get really emotional just listening to the soundtrack, just a few notes of the piano can take me back there. Having the combination of such a classical art form in ballet and a contemporary score from Jamie XX brought something really exciting to it. There were so many young people in the audience which was fantastic to see them so engaged.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
I think – I’m going to go big with this – a lot of problems in society are because we’re getting more and more individualistic. More and more people are going to university, but the focus is getting a good degree then getting a good job with a high salary in a big company. But what are you producing that’s interesting or new or helpful for other people? There’s such inequality in our society and such a separation between different people’s lives. I think the arts is the anecdote to that. If you work in something that’s public and you share your view with people through art, not only are you raising yourself up, but your raising others up by sharing your experience. We owe it to young people and young people owe it to society to be part of that process and share their unique perspective and experience.
Evie Pendlebury
Name Evie Pendlebury

Linked organisation Ludas Dance

Artform(s) Dance

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Well I’m the baby of the group, so I haven’t really made up my mind yet. But personally, I just want to explore my different options. I’ll be auditioning for conservatoires next year but I want to do some teaching aa well as get some formal training.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
One of the most significant things I’ve enjoyed was when I flew to Holland with Ludas. We performed and took classes and a huge range of experiences I’m realy grateful for. It was the first big thing I did with dance and it made me realise that this was something I could do professionally and something I want to do professionally. It was a really significant turning point for me personally.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
I think it’s such an important thing for the mind. The arts aren’t much of a thing in school any more. For myself, I’m quite an intelligent girl and before I decided on the arts I wanted to go into medicine. So when I was choosing my options for GCSEs the teachers were physically telling me I wasn’t allowed to take Dance, they took the sheet from me and ticked the boxes themselves. I think it’s so important for younger children, for their development so young people our age need to get out there and advocate that the arts are important to us and we want to be allowed to explore and pursue that side of life and education.
Bethan Griffiths
Name Bethan Griffiths

Linked organisation Get It Loud In Libraries

Artform(s) Writing, blogging, runs her own blog: Museum Teen

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’d like to go to university and study History. After that I’m not as sure. I’d love to work with museums and galleries, that’s why I wanted to be a young associate, to help with that in the future. I’d like to be a curator, or at least working towards that in five years.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
Well I’ve always loved the Museum of Liverpool, even when I was kid, I think it’s wonderful that such a great place is free to access. My favourite gallery is the Atkinson in Southport. And my favourite gig was one we did with Get It Loud in Libraries recently, with the band The Amazons, it was really great.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
It’s the same with anything, if we don’t have young people doing it it’s just going to handled by an older generation that can’t understand young people’s needs and what they want to get from museums and galleries. It’s the same with politics, if you just have one age group making decisions those decisions are going to become irrelevant very quickly and young people will stop engaging.
Jaz Kaur
Name Jaz Kaur

Linked organisation The Harris Museum and Library

Artform(s) Cultural Producer

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’ll have finished university and be hopefully back doing a post-graduate course and hopefully have accomplished a lot of things through my work with Curious Minds.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
I organised a Comi-con event at the Harris Library that was really cool and I was so proud of. It was really successful. I had to lead it all and do all the planning and execution, delegate roles and all the things that come with putting on an event like that. It was very stressful but really interesting to experience the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of an event.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
It’s good that young people have a representation of their voice, just like the general public have MPs. Young ambassadors can break down those barriers that older people might have difficulty with. Because we’re a new generation, it’s sort of easier for us to communicate newer ideas.
Anna Litchfield
Name Anna Litchfield

Linked organisation The Forest Art Works programme with the Forestry Commission

Artform(s) Fine Art, Sculpture

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully I’d like to call myself an artist. I haven’t been practicing lately so I’d like to have a good strong network of people in the area to work with.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
The last time I was here in Preston I went to the Martin Creed exhibition at the Harris, I thought that was really good. It really struck me, it was so fun and new and everyone there was really engaging with it. I’ve been telling everyone to come down and see it. I also went to see Sacrilege, the Jeremy Deller bouncy Stonehenge installation down in London. There was such a buzz around and a great atmosphere. It’s something I’m really glad I experienced.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
I know when I was little I didn’t question it because I was raised in a really supportive and arty family. But I realised there are a lot of people who don’t have any kind of arts input or experience in their life. It gives people an outlet and a voice but also just a great chance for enjoyment. With the government pushing everyone towards STEM subjects, I think it’s important that young people speak up for the arts because they do have a huge role in those areas. People have been making art forever and its not something you can side-line or ignore.
Dorcas Sebuyange
Name Dorcas Sebuyange

Linked organisation 20 Stories High

Artform(s) Drama, Music, Dance, Poetry

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’d like to still be acting professionally, but I’d hope to be more established. I’d also like to have more experience in some of the different art forms that I practice in.

What's been your best cultural experience to date?
I’d been to see a performance at the Unity Theatre, where this man had been making notes all his life about little moments and little things that had made him happy, and now later in life he’d made it into a play. It was so uplifting and really made happy at the end of it.

Why do you feel it's important that young people be ambassadors for the arts?
Well children are often just presented with art as pupils and as sort of consumers. So I think it’s great that young people can feed into that and have a role in deciding what the future of that looks like.

If you’d like more information on the programme or to enquire about commissioning the young associates please contact holly.ball@curiousminds.org.uk.