Friday, 2 March 2012

Get Involved 17, by Sian Watson

Young people in the driving seat with creativity as their vehicle

Get involved 17 is Nottingham Contemporary’s young peoples group. They have witnessed and taken part in a host of unexpected, imaginative and innovative projects, weaving the voice of youth between the walls of Nottingham Contemporary.

The first ever project over two years ago took place before the doors of our gallery had even opened!  The group  set sail with over 300 members of the public to celebrate  the opening of the gallery by creating an armada of  paper boats that sailed across the waters of Old Market Square. 

The group has had a fantastic journey over the last two years, experiencing  adventures in the shape of carrying a stripy sofa across the city collecting conversations, turning The Studio into an application form installation, even causing a coup d’état by staging an  ART FORM election.

Get involved 17 are a peer lead group who have complete freedom in the direction of how their projects travel, taking pride in sharing fresh ideas and perspectives with us. In turn we have support our young people in the process of action research and consultation. Inviting a collective curiosity, openness, and dialogue that allows a shared conversation to grow.

I have been lucky enough to have been involved on this exciting road trip, along the way I have seen them complete the Silver and Gold Arts Award, with their portfolios acknowledged as outstanding levels of achievement. Two of the young people’s portfolios were chosen to be used nationally in Gold art award training as examples of excellence.

We were also invited to visit the US ambassador's residence in London. Marjorie Susman, the ambassador's wife, guided the group around the house in Regent's Park, sharing with them the beautiful modern art collection. They even got to sign in the official US Embassy guest book, their names nestled between the likes of President Obama and Tom Hanks!

Our new project is even more exciting!

We are taking part in the Tate Plus initiative, a programme exploring young people’s engagement with arts and art organisations. Working with 18 organisations across the country such as, Tate Liverpool, Ikon and the BALTIC, Get involved 17 will be helping to create an evaluation tool which can be shared with other galleries and their youth programmes. The group will be looking at  ideas around,  ‘what is quality?’ and how can we evaluate a quality experience?

So, keep your eyes open for events around the city, celebrating what quality means to the Get Involved 17, Nottingham Contemporary and you!

I know that Get involved 17, old and new, have made my life full of quality moments!

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