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Youth Voice is growing in East London!

We’re delighted to be part of Creative Schools, an East London Cultural Education Partnership (ELCEP) programme funded through A New Direction’s Cultural Education Challenge.  Creative Schools is an ambitious new initiative that aims to create a step-change in young people’s creative engagement by supporting schools and young people to meet their needs through the exceptional creative opportunities on offer in East London. Sound Connections is leading on the Creative Schools Youth Voice programme through which we have ventured into primary school consultations; speaking with students about their creative experiences, opinions and ideas across the art forms. This is new and exciting territory for us as our previous consultations have tended to take place with ages 14+ and looked at music specifically. The consultations so far have provided great enjoyment (primary students are so enthusiastic!) as well as key information on what younger students believe is important in their creative education. In the last couple of weeks we have visited Central Park and New City primary schools in Newham to speak with students in Years 5 and 6 about their favourite creative subjects, what they learn from these, and why they are important. Over the next two years of this partnership we will be working with around 20 primary and secondary schools across East London to develop the picture of what young Londoners need from their creative education.


This new work with ELCEP firmly connects the dots with several other projects we have been working on in East London. Over the past six to nine months our Youth Voice team have enjoyed being out and about to meet with young people in schools, venues and hubs across the east of the capital. Through a UBS-funded project, which sought to empower youth voice in East London secondary schools, Jess and Wired4Music members Zelal and Adem visited secondary schools in Newham, Hackney, and Tower Hamlets to facilitate consultations with students about their musical journeys, the opportunities available to them, and what they thought might be missing in their boroughs and beyond. Our findings will be shared next month on the news page of the Sound Connections website.


We’ve also loved working with local music hubs Hackney Music Service and Newham Music. Jenn and Jess met with the wonderful Hackney Youth Music Forum, some of whom have since joined the Wired4Music network, and delivered bespoke DNA sessions for the leaders of the forum; looking at individual needs, ambitions and goals. Our work with Newham Music began recently and we will be working with them over the next few months to develop a strong youth voice offer across the borough. We’re looking forward to visiting more Newham secondary schools to scope the possibility of creating a musical youth group/forum/collective – or whatever they may choose to become!


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