What does the ground look like for cultivating networks and development opportunities in young people?

How do we set realistic expectations of the industry? Honesty and transparency, but with a sense of optimism. ’99 out of 100 times you won’t get your foot in the door, but keep knocking’, etc.

What happens when we work with YP then they move past our provision and can no longer afford to pursue a career in the arts? How can we signpost and provide support?

Encouraging a sense of proactivity and autonomy to pursue own aspirations is important. It’s crucial that YP are shown the roles that they can participate in though. Acknowledge that what’s inspiring for some isn’t for others, so need a mix and to listen to YP.

YP will tell you what they want. Listen don’t assume.
YP with no experience should be encouraged to listen to their own voices initially and explore their creativity – everyone has something useful to say regardless of experience level.

There’s a need for pathways to share roles in the industry where there are gaps with YP who may not know they exist; early on, before career decisions are made. Who is taking hands on technical theatre, circus, etc into schools to get YP hands on with it? Especially areas where teachers don’t have knowledge of them.

Acknowledge that career pathways aren’t direct, and nobody is ‘just’ an actor, director, writer, etc. Everyone has their own passions and things that inspire them within this.

Don’t project a jaded version of the arts onto YP, let them have fun and experiment, while acknowledging the situation of the industry; a delicate balance.

Proactivity is gained by promoting individual validity as a creative and artist, encouraging YP to experiment and find their own practice that inspires them. Promoting environment of independence. Sense of authenticity & elf awareness.

This needs targeted support and connection. This is hard to scale, how do we do it?

Need for YP to build soft and hard skills; how to reach out to industry leads for advice, how to build support network, where to look for opportunities, asking for mentorship, advice, etc

YP cling to mentors as comfort zone; how do we encourage them to reach out to other people with questions and build networks through this.

Inspire YP then signpost as they grow

Models that bring partners together are crucial; every organisation has their niche. Don’t try and force YP to be creative in your discipline, allow them to be creative in general and signpost to other orgs based on the discipline that they resonate with.

Don’t try and hold onto YP longer than you should; let them wander and explore

Youth influence and autonomy is crucial

Win some and lose some with YP; and that’s ok. Not everyone will go onto a career in the arts or pursue the arts at all. Seasonality

YP are not experts on their community

Outcomes are unique for everyone (and they may not know). YP should lead, experiment, and self develop

YP need a way to build their support network of peer-2-peer connections across similar ages. How we facilitate this should be youth-led. Need for official and unofficial comms

Labels can do more harm than good – focus on creativity as a whole, not discipline specific – encourage general creativity, see what appears, and signpost YP to the people that will help that niche interest/spark grow.