An Impact Arts creative writing programme in Edinburgh ended last week with a brilliantly imaginative and original showcase by a team of 16 and 17 year olds at the city's atmospheric Assembly Roxy venue.
Entitled Everyone Has a Story to Tell, the show explored the myths, legends and ghosts haunting the City, transporting the audience to the Jazz era and interweaving personal and political spoken word pieces with drama and music performances.
Almost 30 family, friends and Impact Arts partners were present as the group showed off their creative writing achievements and the confidence they have gained over the course of the Creative Pathways programme.
While developing as writers, the group have also taken part in weekly one-to-one employability sessions, thinking about what they might want to do in the future, completing SQA units and learning skills in job-hunting, interviews and CV-writing.
The main event also provided the opportunity for the team to learn skills in set and costume design, sound and lighting.
Brandon, 17, is one of the project participants and solo spoken word performers on the night.
"It's been a great experience - the best one of these I've been on. I've been on courses like this before, but this one has definitely inspired me."
"It was great working with the tutors. They gave us cool ideas, gave us feedback and inspired us on how we can improve. They definitely had a big influence.
"The employability work helped a lot. I'm going onto a college course now, and the mock interviews and CV work we did really helped in that.”
The group have been working with Impact Arts tutor Rosanna Hall, a writer and dramatist, for the past ten weeks. She says the showcase encapsulated the team’s achievements and progress well.
“The group were really excited to see their hard work meet an audience, and they were genuinely surprised that so many turned up to hear what they had to say.
“The aim of the project has been to build employability skills in young people through developing their confidence, teamwork and understanding of putting together an event.
“While some participants were more hesitant, having the opportunity to write and direct others got everyone involved at bringing the space to life.
“The group took the reins excellently and gained confidence and memories which will last longer than the applause of the audience.”
The programme was possible thanks to funding from Skills Development Scotland and Inspiring Scotland. For more about our work with young people, please visit this section of our website.
Edinburgh is historically a hotbed of creative genius, with a cultural impact spreading far beyond the city’s borders. What happens when you take a group of creative young people from the city and ask them to come up with their own short stories, poems and drama pieces inspired by the rich environment and the urban legends within?
Creative Pathways Edinburgh is a ten-week project run by Impact Arts which works with young people who are currently unemployed, inspiring them to produce their own creative writing while offering one-to-one support with job-hunting, CV writing and interview skills.
The team, based at the Assembly Roxy in the city centre have been learning techniques in scriptwriting, character creation, comedy sketches, poetry and spoken word performance.
Our lead tutor, writer and dramatist Rosanna Hall, has been delivering workshops to get the group thinking about the city, its societal issues and their own personal experiences in order to fuel their creative fires and produce original work.
For example, working from themes of prejudice and stereotypes, the group have been learning automatic writing techniques in order to create ideas and expand on them in a short period of time - sometimes just a matter of minutes.
The team also explored prejudice through building and designing masks – the inside of the mask being inspired by how prejudice feels, and the outside by how prejudices are formed by others - before using these as inspiration for spoken word poetry.
Anna, a participant, says: “It was fun getting to express ourselves through masks. I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ll use them in a photoshoot and in our final performance.
“Mine wasn’t based on emotions, but on a character named (OC) Ruin, who wears a plain white mask covering 85% of her face due to trauma. She doesn’t want people to see her face and hate it, despite her actually being very beautiful."
Other participants made masks about how they feel when they experience prejudice and what it’s like to go into a job interview. This aligns with a central theme of the project, as close employability support continues alongside the programme's creative side.
Another powerful source of inspiration has been the Assembly Roxy building itself, and the group have researched characters and stories that haunt the building, while creating some of their own.
Lady Glenorchy, whose name is carved in stone above the main door, has been a source of intrigue. The group have been considering what kind of character she might have been, writing diary entries for her and considering how this might fit into their final showcase.
Other scripts have been set in the areas around Edinburgh the participants are from and the ghost stories and urban legends that surround them. The writing produced has been extremely varied in genre and style with some participants creating everything from comedy and mystery tales to steampunk fantasy!
The group are in preparation for their final exhibition - entitled Everyone has a Story to Tell - which will showcase their written work and include dramatic readings. It will take place at the Assembly Roxy on Thursday 15th February 2018 between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.
In the meantime, the group will be going on inspiration trips to get more ideas for their work, learning more about the technical side of writing and working on their SQA units in Employability to help them with their next steps as the project comes to a close.
The project is funded by Skills Development Scotland’s Employability Fund Stages 2 and 3 and Inspiring Scotland.
For more about our work with young people, please visit this section of our website.
In November last year, a group of young people on our Creative Pathways employability programme created a series of amazing sculpture prototypes for the north Glasgow Clay Pits.
Here is a short video all about the fantastic work created by the young people, the highly-skilled and creative tutor team that led them and the real impact it had upon the young people's environmental awareness and their employment prospects.
This project was made possible thanks to funding from Inspiring Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund's Our Bright Future initiative, Scottish Canals, SCVO, SDS Glasgow, Scottish Children's Lottery and the Gannochy Trust.
You can find more information about our work with young people here on our website.
Impact Arts are offering young people across Renfrewshire a unique opportunity to earn over £250 per week while training for a future in creative industries such as art, design, animation and photography.
Starting in February 2018 and running for six-months, twenty young people from the Renfrewshire area will take up paid traineeships in Paisley.
A partnership between Impact Arts and Renfrewshire’s Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme, these opportunities are available to unemployed people between the ages of 16 and 29.
This takes the form of two programmes, both funded through the EU’s European Social Fund.
Advanced Creative Pathways is aimed at unemployed 16-19 year olds and will offer ten six month paid traineeships, teaching skills in digital photography, 3D printing and animation.
Those taking part will also gain SQA accreditation and take part in intergenerational arts projects with local children and older people.
The Creative Mentoring Programme is aimed at recent graduates in arts-related subjects who are aged 20-29 and currently unemployed.
There are also ten spaces on this programme which will give match participants with professional artists and offer placements with local community arts projects.
Impact Arts are also recruiting for a Digital Tutor and Youth Worker to lead the project.
You can find more information on recruitment for these posts on the Jobs section of our website.
Natalie McFadyen White, Head of Delivery for Impact Arts, says this is an incredible opportunity for those looking for a future in arts or the creative industries.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to twenty young people in Renfrewshire.
“The Paisley 2021 bid was instrumental in getting people talking about Renfrewshire’s creative and cultural heritage and potential over the last two years.
“We hope to harness all the energy and positivity of the bid and offer a well-rounded, creative experience to those looking to take their first steps in the creative sector.
People from Renfrewshire have made a profound worldwide impact in the fields of arts, culture and creativity. We hope these projects can go some way towards uncovering bright new talent in the area.”
Those looking to register their interest in the project are asked to call Invest in Renfrewshire on 0300 300 1180.
Those who are interested but would like more information are encouraged to attend an information session on Tuesday 23rd January 2018 at the Russell Institute (30 Causeyside Street, Paisley).
Advanced Creative Pathways (for 16-19 year olds) will be covered between 2pm and 3pm and the Creative Mentoring Programme (for 20-29 year olds) between 3pm and 4pm.
Our Re:Imagine project, kicking off in Livingston on 22nd January 2017, is looking for 16 and 17 year olds to sign up.
Offering practical work experience and accredited training, you will design and create unique, upcycled products using pre-loved furniture, vintage textiles, and unwanted scraps.
Through reimagining these source materials, participants will unleash their creative flair, making furniture over while gaining valuable skills in quality design, manufacturing, customer service, retail and enterprise.
Participants will receive a £55 weekly training allowance and travel expenses (subject to Stage 2 Employability Fund eligiblity).
The 10-week programme will run from 22nd January 2018 until 29th March 2018. Workshops will take place at The Vennie, Knightsridge Adventure Project, Knightsridge E, Livingston EH54 8RA.
To sign up or make a referral, contact Rob Gallagher on 07530916360 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Referrals must come through Skills Development Scotland.
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