The energy during the first conversation to start of the day was electric! It was truly a pleasure to be a part of such an inspiring bunch of young people, just like me but so different personally. Discussing the challenges that young people face going into the creative world such as social media pressure, financial security to basic respect – each of us on the panel were able to spin round the negativity of these to our advantage; i.e. looking for those opportunities that are only offered for those not in full time work/education and using bursaries. 

The second conversation I joined in the day was around restorative approaches. This introduced myself to a new way of thinking around my own brain functions in terms of working relationships and how to approach certain types of people to get the best out of them. It was a surreal session to be a part of as these approaches are installed in human nature already however taught me a valuable lesson on how being aware of these choices would help in work settings. Look up the ‘Four Choices Window’ and you’ll see what I mean!

The main takeaway that springs to mind from such a wonderful collaborative day is the feeling that the arts although a scary place to be sometimes is always worth it. Everyone young or ‘old’ knows about the pressures and barriers that come with taking that leap of faith into the unknown. With a job in the arts field it comes with social media pressures, financial barriers to factors as simple as having the time to be able to train in the thing you love. The fact that as a young person you can advance in the arts sector no matter what your age is an ongoing progression and one that I will fight for way into my old golden years!

The day itself was filled with inspiration for change screaming accessibility, and making sure that who you are does not stop you becoming who you want to be. It is not so much targeting those individuals who may not have the income or emotional support in making the first step to a creative career but making sure that the opportunities are visible to all.

Arts organisations must be aware of the barriers and challenges that young people face and provide direct solutions, only then can real art be made. Introduce young people to be the face of their programmes and values. Installing a route goal to not only need young people at the heart of what they do but embodying a real want to work towards the younger generation. Let them rule what happens next as in reality it is young people like myself who are going to build up the arts for many years to come.

Ayesha Charles, Youth Advisory Board Member and a Young Trustee at Roundhouse London.

Ayesha was a panelist on the opening panel of young people titled ‘Hearing from the experts: What challenges are young people experiencing in their lives, and what role can the arts have in addressing some of these?’ at New Horizons 2018.

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