Oxfordshire Youth Arts Partnership and the Pitt Rivers Museum joined forces to work with young people struggling in mainstream school on a two-year project.
The young people were either at risk of exclusion, not in education, employment or training (NEET), or experienced additional learning needs or disabilities; some benefited from taking time out of traditional classroom settings which they found challenging.
The project enabled them to learn about heritage in informal, flexible and supportive ways. They learned a range of heritage interpretation methods, including film, illustration, music, fine art and digital media.
“I feel like I’ve gained more confidence … and it’s changed my behaviour. I haven’t had one detention since I’ve been here."
They developed creative, heritage and vocational skills by producing their own exhibitions, events and peer-learning sessions. The approach was innovative, creative and inclusive, putting young people at the centre of planning.
The project had two elements.
Kick Arts was a participation project through which young people creatively interpreted the ethnographic and natural history collections.
An additional youth leadership programme created a pathway from the creative work into the museum’s existing Youth Action Team They created their own manifesto and branding and had significant input into events and displays at the museum.
- Many felt that the Kick Arts programme should have been longer. Parents, and participants, in particular, noted the wish to see the development opportunities extended.
- The progression route was planned from the beginning and for some helped maintain a sense of belonging.
- Taking time to build positive relationships from the beginning helped to ensure that the sessions were inclusive and engaging.