Pitt Rivers Global Heritage Youth Action project

Teenagers in a museum
Young people taking part in the project Claire Williams photography

Heritage Grants

OXFORD, Oxfordshire, South East
OYAP Trust
Young people at risk of exclusion showcased new talents, taking inspiration from museum collections in Oxford.

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.

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