100 Agents of Change

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Arts Languages and Cultures


Responding to an increasingly polarised political landscape in the UK and prevailing socio-economic challenges, this project seeks to promote arts-based community activism amongst marginalised young people. This will be facilitated by providing an arts and social transformation workshop residency hosted by 20 international change-makers from In Place of War (IPOW)'s global network as well as and national arts activists and academics at Roundhouse, Block 9 (Banksy/Glastonbury) and Goldsmiths. This will be followed by 12 month mentoring period for the 100 participants/organisations based in 10 UK communities. Providing young people with mentors will give them an opportunity to develop their ideas from the residency and pilot them their communities over the following months. Finally, the project will culminate in a semi-permanent exhibition and showcase of artistic creation and production at Block9, Goldsmiths and Coventry City of Culture 2021 and a digital archive of presentations, interviews and creative responses developed by participants.

Planned Impact

Given that the project has been designed to take place over the course of a year, involving both online and physical consultations with a variety of stakeholder organisations working with young people and young people themselves both in the UK and abroad, it is anticipated that the project will provide benefits to the primary target group: young people from marginalised backgrounds in the UK. A needs analysis was developed as part of the consultation, and young people have inputted into the design of the project, in particular the workshop sessions and residency component to ensure that project meets the needs of the target beneficiaries.
The immediate impact will be apparent at a personal level in the young people themselves who take part in the residency and mentoring to develop arts-based community projects. Equally, it is anticipated that the wider community will benefit from these creative projects as they seek to respond to challenges facing the community. This is significant as the target group, young people from disadvantaged and minority groups and the community organisations involved in the project do not normally engage with academic institutions, projects or research. In the same vein, it is unlikely these beneficiaries have the opportunity to interact with peers from diverse social and ethnic groups from across the UK or their peers from communities in the Global South. Equally, it is likely that this project will encourage young people and community groups from white working class backgrounds, from regional cities and towns with high levels of knife crime, youth homelessness and deprivation and those from BAME/refugee backgrounds, to (re)engage with art, to develop new artistic skills and to learn about diverse arts forms beyond those offered on an increasingly shrinking arts national curriculum.
Against a backdrop of cuts to youth and community services, notable reductions in public funding for arts education, providing alternative pathways for engagement with the arts and to understand the value of art is critical in the UK. Moreover, the project will provide young people with national/international platforms to showcase their creative work, thus enabling them to reach new diverse audiences both online and in cultural institutions in London and Coventry. This also enables young people to learn more about the social, political, cultural and economic value of art and such platforms would benefit young participants who would like to pursue a career in the arts, education and social sectors.
The engagement between young people in the UK and their counterparts from IPOW's global network during the residency activities and the one-to-one mentoring will lead to new avenues for knowledge exchange and learning, intercultural dialogue and a better understanding of each other's context. Through the workshops and mentoring sessions, it is hoped that this will boost the capacity of young people by developing soft skills including critical thinking, communication, project design and delivery as well as an understanding of how art can promote positive social change. Furthermore, through sharing experiences, ideas and knowledge it is anticipated that this will lead to an increased awareness and confidence in young people of their agency in driving social change in their community.
Secondly, the sharing of the activities of the project with a broader public through the exhibition, talks and digital archive, will generate reflections on the role art activism can play in mobilisation and social transformation to wider public audiences. Equally, the documentation and dissemination of the activities will also contribute to academic and policy debates about engaging with marginalised young people through arts-based activism and youth policy.


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Description These are still be developed as the project was delayed by COIOVD. This was a practice led follow on project and therefore findings is not quite then right term. The plans for the project were redesigned and have been successfully completed.
Exploitation Route This project is about developing youth led projects in sites of disadvantage - artists and other organisations might be inspired by this model.
Sectors Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://www.inplaceofwar.net/100-agents-of-change
Description The project is only being completed as I write this and therefore it is hard at this stage to account for its impact. It has reached the youth organisations that it intended to and made a difference to the young creative individuals lives by giving them an experience where they interacted with creative organisations internationally and were able to develop new project ideas.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal