I am currently working as a Youth Worker in the ‘Talk About Youth Project’ which is housed in St Andrews Resource Centre, Pearse Street. I have worked in the youth project for the past 8 years, however, I have been in the field for the past 20 years. I have always recognised the power of Youth Arts and its use within the youth sector.
As a youth worker, over the years, I have become more aware of the value of youth arts. There has been an increased demand for this type of work, including music, dance, drama and visual arts. I have used the arts throughout my years as a practitioner, to look at issues that affect young people on a day to day basis, and how it can give young people a voice.
I see Youth Arts as a way that we can work to facilitate a creative process that enables young people to express their needs, aspirations, inspirations, and identity. I have also seen how Youth Arts impacts on the wellbeing of the individuals involved. I have witnessed first-hand the powerful results that can be accomplished through this process.
Whilst working on an International project – about ‘Participation for Change’, the young people involved created visual images about how they can generate awareness on issues around equality and social justice. The images were strong and with clear messages. One young person commented “I never thought I had a creative bone in me’ but look what I have done… I feel great”!
The same group wanted to make a ‘small change’ in a mountain village in Italy. Through the creative process of Forum Theatre, the group learned that the local people would like the opportunity to meet and greet people from other cultures. They worked on a performance, which included music and dance to share some of their culture. For me, this particular project, truly reinforced the flexible and dynamic way in which all young people can benefit from Youth Arts.
I believe that the joy of art and using a creative process with young people allows them to take ownership and express themselves as individuals, that each piece can be as individual and unique as the person creating it. Art allows the process of building a relationship from the starting point of the group or the individual involved.
Currently I am working on various projects in the ‘Talk about Youth Project’ that are trying to expand accessibility to the arts for local young people. The projects that we are involved with currently include:
1. Film making ‘Reel Youth’: this is a collective of youth projects throughout Dublin that uses the medium of film to talk about young people in Ireland today.
2. Music programme: this gives local young people the opportunity to learn an instrument, and then self-direct the music programme to meet their needs, they have formed bands, worked on song writing and recorded music.
3. Street Performance: 1916 ‘Letters in motion’ project. We hope this will develop creative opportunities for our local young people and further grow their artistic experience. We are currently working on a piece whereby we plan to bring letters from the time of Easter Raising to the streets. This will be done through a street performance using dance, drama and visual art.
I live by the concept to empower. We need to encourage creativity, not just in our thoughts but also in how we express them, to bring about change for us as individuals and social change!
“Creativity takes courage.”