The benefits for young people of engaging with the arts are indisputable. For generations, the positive impact of theatres, galleries, museums and youth arts organisations, has been widely researched, and it is undeniably evident how engaging a young audience grows life-long links with the arts, and supports future audiences.
Arts organisations’ youth engagement work is vital in building these audiences, and developing a love of the arts; notwithstanding the artform or backgrounds of the young participants. Attracting and retaining a diverse cohort of young people is the goal of anyone working in youth engagement within the arts, but we know it isn’t easy. With challenges such as financial limitations or language and cultural barriers, the arts aren’t always perceived as a space for everyone.
Here we look at how arts professionals working with young people have increased engagement levels, diversity and improved the quality of connection, and we share the strategies and initiatives that have worked well for them.
If sustaining your organisation into the years ahead is your priority and you are considering how your offer can be as relevant as possible to the range of local communities you support, we hope these approaches will provide inspiration and help you shape a youth offer that truly supports your strategic vision.