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Major Initiative to Drive Youth Hope from Heritage in the North West

The North West is set to spearhead a major National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported initiative to engage young people in the heritage of their local communities with a series of ‘Hope Happenings’ taking place across the region this April.

The project is being led by Curious Minds, a North West based arts in education charity, in partnership with Youth Focus North West, Museum Development North West and five of the region’s museums, and has been made possible with a £977,000 grant thanks to National Lottery
players. It will bring young people together with youth artist collective, Frog + Bone, to create a pop-up museum and community parade in five North West locations: Winsford (supported by West Cheshire Museums), Carlisle (supported by Tullie House Museum), Padiham (Supported by Lancashire Museums), Bolton (supported by Bolton Museum) and Bootle (supported by The Atkinson).

Explains Saul Argent from Curious Minds: “With climate change protests, knife crime and grooming issues all making headlines, the importance of listening to young people and ensuring that their voices are not only heard but are embedded in the cultural activities of our communities has never been more relevant.

“The Hope Happenings bring together all these themes, creating a platform for successful and inspirational young artists, young people, heritage organisations and communities to create events that will provide a celebration of young people’s ideas and vision for the future based on their understanding of the past.”

All five Hope Happenings are free and open to the public. They will provide a fantastic cultural event, using puppets and models inspired by young people and created from recycled materials by Frog + Bone. They are also intended as a catalyst to help the participating museums to recruit young people to take on leadership roles in the organisation of five ‘Festivals of Hope’, which will take place in 2020.

The project has been informed by a wide-ranging consultation with young people in the region, which has revealed that they are interested in how the past has influenced the present and can affect the future but feel disinterested in museums and do not feel part of formal heritage attractions.

“The idea of Hope Happenings is to make young people the driving force behind a series of cultural events that take inspiration from the past and literally bring their ideas to the streets of their local communities in partnership with local museums,” Saul adds.

The events are part of ‘Hope Streets’, a five-year project that seeks to revolutionise the ways museums connect with young people, and enable young people to influence the future development of the heritage sector in their local community.

“The project has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Saul continues. “We’d like to thank them for enabling us to deliver exciting heritage projects like Hope Streets.”

Comments Louise Window, Libraries and Learning Team Leader at Bolton Library and Museum Service: “We want to put young people at the centre of museum development to ensure that we remain relevant, engaging and attractive to teenagers and young adults. The Hope Happenings provide a forum for young people to give us their take on what heritage and community means to them and we’re hoping it will inspire participation in the wider activities planned for the Hope Streets initiative.”

The five Hope Happenings events are:

  • Saturday 6th April, Winsford, Cheshire (supported by West Cheshire Museums)
  • Monday 8th April, Carlisle (supported by Tullie House)
  • Wednesday 10th April, Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire (supported by Lancashire Museums)
  • Saturday 13th April, Bolton (supported by Bolton Museum)
  • Wednesday 17th April, Bootle, Sefton (supported by The Atkinson)

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