What did I learn on the Certificate in Youth Arts?
The NUI Certificate in Youth Arts course gave me a lot of practical tools which I have brought into my own youth work practice. I have reused or taken aspects of modules and integrated them into my own youth work programs. The variety of tutors, guest speakers and site visits kept me interested, focused and inspired. Put simply, they joined up a lot of scattered dots and developed a new language for understanding and articulating just what Youth Arts means to me and what it means to our culture and society and its place in youth work. I would be inspired and reinvigorated by the efforts of my peers and also brought up to speed with regards to policy developments and funding opportunities within our sector. This course compliments the youth work practice as it shares our values of equality and inclusivity of all young people. It promotes young people’s strengths and provides a platform for them to develop and express themselves.
I gained a tremendous amount from this course as a whole, however one of the most valuable aspects of the course that I now appreciate more than ever is the invaluable network of skilled professionals whom I worked with throughout. The course introduced an eclectic mix of artistically minded individuals and offered a unique platform and a shared language for these individuals to work together and create. The hands-on nature of the modules meant there were plenty of opportunities to share ideas, discuss methodologies and collaborate on various projects.
I feel extremely privileged to have had this opportunity to grow in an open environment whilst developing a professional network with likeminded people. I was a part of the 2012-2013 course and still keep in regular contact with some of my class mates. Whenever I begin a new project with one of my groups I am always aware that I have access to this pool of talented people with different skill sets who I can tap into for advice and/or collaboration.
Thankfully today there is ‘greater recognition that authentic, high quality arts experiences can offer enormous gains to young people both artistically and personally’ (Creating Magic Booklet). What is equally important to this increase in recognition and our passion for the welfare of our young people is that we are afforded these platforms to grow so as to ensure that we continue to deliver the high quality programs we wish for our groups. I would recommend this program to anyone who is currently engaged with Youth Arts or is planning in the future to engage in same.
Saoirse Reynolds is currently a Youth Worker and Youth Arts Facilitator in the Brú Youth Service. Her educational background is in Art, Design and Mixed Media from BCFE, BA in Visual Communications from D.I.T, MA in Youth and Community from NUIM and Youth Arts from NYCI. She is the current chairperson of the REEL Youth Collective. Saoirse has a huge passion for working with young people and promoting the power of youth arts. She believes that meaningful collaborations are the secret to success in youth arts.