Newcastle University and City of Dreams seminar – poverty and agency

The first City of Dreams and Newcastle University learning seminar was held on 9th December 2019, providing insightful perspectives on young people, agency and poverty in the culture sector.

Attended by more than 60 people from the cultural, community and academic sectors, the seminar was hosted by Newcastle University at The Core in the Newcastle Helix developmenr. It featured four presentations from community, cultural and academic colleagues, followed by an open space discussion.

Find out more about the presentations

seminar 4Luke Bramhall of Children North East presented an overview of the socio-economic challenges facing under25s on Tyneside, a stark reminder of the impact of austerity policy over the past decade. He outlined the Poverty Proofing process, well established in schools across the country, and which has just been trialled at Sage Gateshead.

Read his presentation here.

Helen Mulherne and Rob Johnson from Investing in Children shared results of recent assessments of agency, choice and Children’s Rights practice in NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues organisations; Baltic, Centre for Life, Sage Gateshead, Tyneside Cinema, Theatre Royal, Northern Stage, Seven Stories, Dance City, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums.

Over 200 interviews with young people at the venues had demonstrated some outstanding practice in participation and dialogue with under25s, and a marked in the agency of young people in governance, programming and business planning.

All 10 organisations were confirmed as winners of Investing in Children status, in recognitions of their contribution to Articles 12 and 31 of the United Nations Convention on the luke slideRights of the Child. Read more here.

These two presentations were followed  by Dr Sarah Winkler-Reid providing an overview and analysis of the work of the Girl Kind project, which provides a fresh way of supporting young women to plan, develop and lead their own programmes – making use of creative practice – to mark the international day of the girl. The project is developing a uniquely empowering model, which has also generated fascinating research into what its really like to be a a girl in the North East. Read more of their research here.

The final presentation of the day came from Dr Michael Richardson, providing a fascinating insight into  a collaborative project between North East Young Dads and Lads, Newcastle University and Seven Stories.

The projext has used children’s literature and reading as a way to explore cultural engagement and social practice, generating new perspectives on youth citizenship in a contemporary context and offering a critique to theories of “threshold crossing” in cultural venues.

Read more here.

IiC slideFollowing the presentations the seminar broke into an open space workshop, led by Amy Golding – Artistic Director of Curious Monkey – where forums where held on topics as diverse as how we ensure marginalised young people’s voices are heard, whether arts activity about social issues is as important as campaigning for social justice, and how we work together to properly resource participatory practice in an environment of increasing financial challenge.

Fascinating discussions, involving amazing people from across the arts, culture, community and education sectors on Tyneside…and they haven’t ended! The talking continued outside the room, on social media and other platforms, and will continue into our next seminar planned for spring 2020.

Stay tuned for further information.

We’re always keen to talk so feel free to contact us anytime.



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