Developing the next generation of the cultural education workforce

Young Associates is Curious Minds' commitment to building a more diverse workforce for the creative and cultural education sector. It is a bespoke training and development programme designed to support early career professionals to build the skills and attributes needed to become the next generation of leaders and changemakers in cultural education.

Young Associates take part in high-quality training led by experienced industry professionals.

Focussing on key areas such as:

  • Project management
  • Facilitation skills
  • Access and inclusion
  • Youth voice
  • To develop the skills and knowledge needed to work creatively with children and young people

Learning is recognised with our brand-new digital badge. This has been co-created with our most recent cohort to help articulate skills, knowledge and experience to future employers.

Once they have completed the training period, the Young Associates may also undertake paid work opportunities by Curious Minds to ensure young people's voices are authentically embedded across our work. They are also are invited to join our wider networks, attend other training opportunities, and connect with creative and cultural education professionals across the North.

Meet our latest Cohort


Name: Linda Wachaga

I’m a visual artist, filmmaker, actor, and creative practitioner. I deliver visual art workshops for marginalised communities and children throughout Greater Manchester, with a particular focus reflecting on participants self-image and heritage. I’m also a Biomedical Science graduate with a strong interest in visual arts for health and wellbeing, with my organisation, Art Workshops Manchester, aiming to build community and reduce isolation using the arts.  

The change I want to see is… how children and young people engage with the arts beyond traditional educational settings.   

Instagram: @linda.wachaga and @artworkshopsmcr  

Twitter: @lindawachaga  


Name: Hannah Warren 

I am currently working as an art technician, alongside facilitating workshops and my own creative practice. My specialism is Fine Art and a lot of my workshops have had a focus on self-expression and storytelling via craft and drawing. I am interested in arts for wellbeing, and I am a passionate believer in the power of the arts to uplift and empower people of ages.  

The change I would like to see is… a greater connection between arts institutions and educational settings, especially in areas affected by poverty. I would like to see a change in education from solely techniques and skills based learning to a broader cultural awareness.  


Name: Rawan Yousef  

I’m a writer, artist and a youth and arts cultural worker. I’m a Creative Engagement Assistant over at Factory International, helping to produce and run workshops for young people in and out of schools. I love getting to talk and think about art with students and getting them to think beyond the limits of their classrooms!  

The change I would like to see is… more young people with decision-making power!  


Name: Ruby Stephenson   

I currently work at Z-Arts and The Circus House in Manchester as an assistant facilitator, where I enjoy delivering a variety of classes to children, from drama to acrobatics and aerial skills! I would love to teach circus to children and also to perform with and to them.   

The change I would like to see is… better gender diversity in both the teachers and young people taking part in cultural education.   


Name: Toni-Louise Carter  

I am a freelance illustrator/image maker based in Runcorn, near Liverpool. I am super inspired by memories, everyday life and capturing moments through vibrant images. As well as my own practice of visual minutes and illustrations, I work with the community through arts and crafts workshops and projects with Hazlehurst Studios.   

The change I would like to see is… how creative careers are perceived in schools and other education settings.   

Instagram - @tlcillustration  

LinkedIn - 


Name: Isabel Wedgwood  

I’m a performance and creative arts practitioner based in the Peak District and South Yorkshire. My current work focuses on running workshops for adults with learning disabilities and autism at Art Works. Before this, I taught dance and drama to young people in Sheffield and Buxton, as well as assisting a visual art and craft group at DARTS in Doncaster. I’m continually inspired by those I meet and, as such, I love developing work collaboratively.  

LinkedIn - 

The change I would like to see is… the skills developed through engagement with the arts are valued more for being the most transferrable, versatile, and essential skills in our lives.  


Name: Urussa Mallik  

I’m an emerging writer and producer for theatre, film, and poetry, with a keen interest in translation and review writing. I freelance in the heritage sector, particularly in evaluation and am a trustee for Bradford Producing Hub, an arts funding organisation. I’m looking forward to centring critical and interdisciplinary ways of working. 

The change I would like to see is… more young people knowing how to incorporate art and creativity in the everyday and the value that holds.  

Programme Assistant


Name: Hattie Kongaunruan

Hattie will be coordinating all of the training sessions, both online and in-person. Hattie is a socially engaged artist and cultural producer, often working with children, young people and families in co-created ways to highlight the value of overlooked objects and everyday experience. Based in Manchester, Hathaikan creates works by reconstructing discarded chairs and furniture into whimsical creatures reacting to their salvage from landfill. 

The change I would like to see is... more meaningful, diverse inclusion, especially at leadership level in cultural education and more cultural organisations including young people in their decision-making spaces!

Working within the Sector

Are you curious about commissioning Young Associates?

Find out how they can support you to develop an authentic youth-driven offer by emailing Holly Ball, our Head of Careers and Employability.


Young Associates on our Blog

November 8, 2023

Young Associates Recruitment 2024

We are recruiting the latest cohort of Young Associates. We are looking for ten young leaders from creative backgrounds, aged 18 to 25 years old, who are ready to take on a new challenge and become the next generation of leaders and change-makers.
May 16, 2022

Young Associates Recruitment

Now we are recruiting for the latest cohort. We are looking for ten young leaders from creative backgrounds, aged 18 to 25 years old, who are ready to take on a new challenge and become the next generation of leaders and changemakers in cultural education.