Supporting Youth Culture through #YoungTeam

By Paul Bateson

‘Bouncy castle! Wet sponge our headliners in the stocks! Long Division tattoos!’

The Long Division #YoungTeam playfully mind map ideas for their Arts Award project as part of the Sunday Fringe at Long Division Festival this year and I look on feeling old.

‘Yes! Let’s get Peter Hook to have an LD tattoo!’

‘Or get We Are Scientists to do face painting!’

These are some silly ones, and though imagining Hooky in the stocks is a funny thought, the #YoungTeam are far from frivolous or naïve, their eventual ideas a real eye opener for myself and festival organiser Dean. For the culmination of their six months work they’ve truly come up with some ace and innovative stuff – crucially, ideas we hadn’t thought up ourselves.

#YoungTeam on our Careers “Speed Dating” session with local creatives

We are dead proud of their work so far. To get here we have been on a project which has seen us visit and review loads of creative stuff in Wakefield, exposing the #YoungTeam to local arts organisations such as Wakefield Theatre Royal, Wakefield Jazz, The Hepworth, and more. #YoungTeam  have created their own artwork which was exhibited at the Art-House’s bi-monthly Artwalk, our chosen venue Create Café; and most recently, work with the Long Division board to meet arts professionals from the region to research job roles and careers. Did I even mention them being on the radio? In a national newspaper?

Lucy at Wakefield Artwalk as part of her Arts Challenge

It’s been a great project so far and I think I’m learning a lot too. Having been a secondary school teacher for 10 years I’ve branched out into community education. In the same way Long Division is branching out. Long Division this year is more than a music festival. Through our family friendly events and workshops, our funding new work in Wakefield through commissions and seed fund, and this Youth Programme taking 15-19yr olds through an Arts Award work placement project we want to find ways of keeping good people in Wakefield and Wakefield as a place for creative careers.

We want to inspire the next ‘Long Division’ – whatever that may be

If we do our jobs right we’ll be out of a job!

Victoria meets textile designer Laura Slater

And as I sit with the #YoungTeam as they make plans for their Sunday activities, there is an element of age gap – I have learnt that snapchat is dead, man, and that young people do still love a McDonalds – but more than that I’ve felt like we’re working well together and learning together. I’ve found lots of new music from these young people and it’s more like creative mentoring than teachers with students.

I’m buzzing to be part of the project

The Young Team are certainly inspiring me !

See you on Sunday to find out what they have planned!