Children and young people from across Southampton are at the heart of ‘Connecting Culture’, a ground-breaking project focused on addressing the question of how the city’s thriving Cultural Quarter can enrich the lives of those aged five to 25.
The project begins this winter with an Artist-led ‘Creative Consultation’ with over 350 participants that will provide an insight into each participant’s individual experience of culture and collectively, it will form a picture for Southampton of how children and young people would like to engage in creative activity across the city.
The ‘Connecting Culture’ Consortium is delighted to announce that Southampton-based artists Nazneen Ahmed, Anna Carr, Faye Phillips and Natalie Watson have been selected to undertake the Creative Consultation.
“We are thrilled to be working with Nazneen, Natalie, Anna and Faye. Each artist brings an extraordinary wealth of experience. Together their individual practices include dance, theatre, photography, stitching, writing and visual art, alongside a deep commitment to enable children and young people to develop their own creative voices and means of expression,” Louise Coysh, Associate Director, Arts and Culture, University of Southampton
The artists will work together with Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde and the Research Team to devise, develop and deliver a series of workshops suitable for a range of ages and levels, taking place in different settings across the city’s 16 wards. This vital work will inform the subsequent stages of the project, which overall will see young people produce a Young People’s Manifesto and Map that will adopted by ‘Child-Friendly Southampton’ and create a sustained programme that reflects their needs. The city-wide Creative Consultation will commence this winter and we will be working with our strategic partners to identify participating groups that reflect the city’s population.
Led by University of Southampton, ‘Connecting Culture’ is a two-year research project, supported by a £75,000 grant from Arts Council England, involving a large consortium of arts organisations and child-focused services, to catalyse a new future in the arts.
About the Artist-Facilitators:
Nazneen Ahmed is a writer and creative writing facilitator and lives in Southampton. She writes fiction for children, creative non-fiction and poetry for adults, all of which are often inspired by the theme of migration, which was the topic of her work as an academic researcher and historian at University College London and the University of Oxford. She is currently Writer in Residence with the Southampton Stories project at Southampton City Museums and has held residences at John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Libraries in the past. She runs writing workshops in schools, libraries and community settings. She was selected for the 2016/17 round of Penguin Random House’s Write Now Live mentorship scheme for underrepresented writers for her historical fantasy novel in progress which is aimed at readers aged 11 upwards. She is represented by Louise Lamont at LBA Books.
Anna Carr is a Southampton-based socially engaged, multi-platform Theatre Maker, and Associate Artist at The Point, Eastleigh. She trained at East 15 School of Acting. Her work draws on cross-form devised, verbatim & autobiographical approaches. She regularly collaborates with professional artists and under-represented communities and has 8 year’s experience of facilitating a broad range of community groups.
Faye Phillips is a visual artist and educator with a BA (hons) degree in photography from Southampton Solent University. Since finishing her degree in 2013, Faye has worked within the local community and a range of settings across Hampshire and the South of England, delivering a variety of high quality arts workshops to young people from diverse backgrounds. Faye specialises in conceptual photography, visual art, book making and is a trained Arts Award advisor.
Natalie Watson is a freelance contemporary dance artist. Since graduating from Chichester University in 2014 with a BA and MA in Dance, she has performed nationally and internationally with Michaela Cisarikova Dance Company (MCDC), Nexus Dance Theatre, Hayley Barker and DarkFest. Alongside performing, Natalie teaches and choreographs in wide range of educational and community settings such The Point, Fluid Motion Theatre Company, Newbury Corn Exchange and Zoie Logic Dance Theatre.
The Connecting Culture project strands involve:
- over 350 participants, aged 5-25, and Early Years families in a city-wide artist-led Creative Consultation;
- the recruitment of 10 new ‘Cultural Connectors’, a programme for young people aged 16-25 integrating ‘youth voice’ leadership and organisational development;
- the commissioning of a series of new public artworks led by young people;
- the use of data gathered by the consortium, participants and partners to trial, develop and shape activities for children and young people – now and in the future.
The ‘Connecting Culture’ consortium includes: Artswork, Art Asia, ArtfulScribe, ‘a space’ arts / God’s House Tower, Black History Month – Southampton, City Eye, John Hansard Gallery, Mayflower Theatre, Mayflower 400, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, SeaCity Museum, SOCOMusic, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton Central Library, Solent Showcase Gallery, Southampton Music Hub, SÓN, Turner Sims, Unity 101, Voice FM, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre.
Strategic partners include: Southampton City Council (SCC) Children’s Services (Children, Young People and Families), Southampton Youth Forum, Southampton Children in Care Council, Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP), Southampton Education Forum (HE/FE), Virtual School Head, Primary Heads Conference, Southampton Cooperative Learning Trust, Youth Options, No Limits (Young People, Young Carers), Diverse City (Dorset/Bristol), Creative Youth Network (Bristol); UoS: Public Engagement with Research Unit, Widening Participation Department, Social Impact Lab.
The Project Research Team comprises: Dr Dan Ashton, Dr Seth Giddings, Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde, Professor Jo Sofaer, Dr Alan Wong and Louise Coysh as Project Manager.