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16 On Now

Creative Class

1st Jul 2024

A long term mentoring project supporting young people’s development, interest and future in the arts across Merseyside.

Project Details
Creative Team
  • Artist: Fox Irving
  • Producer: Dr. Emma Curd

With statistics showing that fewer working class people than ever are working in the arts (just 8% of those who work in Film, TV and Radio are from a working class background found a Channel 4 report, 2024), artist Fox Irving is exploring and exposing the systems that keep us in our place, social mobility and class.

Creative Class identifies the key milestones or transition periods for young people when making decisions about their career. The project incubates and celebrates creativity, and showcases different ways of thinking/learning about the arts and what art can do, to help young people make informed decisions about their futures.

A key strand of this programme since January 2024 has been the development of our Youth Advisory Group or Learning Council; a cohort of 18-25 year old young women, girls, nonbinary and trans people from St Helens. This group will shape the programme in collaboration with Fox, with their ideas influencing how mentoring might work, and shape opportunities to work with Heart of Glass and the sector in the future.

Over six meetings to date, our Youth Advisory Group has visited arts and community organisations across the North West (Granby Winter Garden, Liverpool Community Print Station, Metal, Squash), taking part in discussions and workshops with artists and arts practitioners.

In the next phase of Creative Class, the Youth Advisory Group will collaborate with Women Working Class, to design and start to realise a non-hierarchical learning community, for themselves and with young people aged 14-16.

This project is designed to foster inclusive spaces for women, girls, nonbinary and trans people from working class areas to access the arts and provide mentoring opportunities for people who experience feelings of not belonging in arts and cultural spaces.

The project is co-produced with an intersectional and youth-led lens to create a non-hierarchical mentoring community, with collaborators bringing their own shared lived experiences. The majority of young people engaged in the project live or access education in St Helens.

Supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation as part of our Speculative Futures Programme.

Fox Irving