14. 08. 2018
Building the Squad
Applications are now open for Art Squad, the first dedicated project from the Creative Producer, Youth program. All of the information about Art Squad, including how to apply is at this link.
So why Art Squad?
Art Squad is a starting place that has grown from the questions I posed right at the beginning of this role alongside lots of listening, talking, thinking and percolating over the past few months.
Specifically Art Squad is about trying to explore some answers to questions 1, 5 and 8.
Art Squad is about creating a structure that will nurture, connect and amplify the ideas of young people who want to make things happen with and for their own regional communities. Different communities and different young people will have different aspirations and skills so that structure is designed to adapt and evolve as the squad do.
Creative people are always creating, they’re doodling, writing songs, performing, painting, designing games, collaborating with others and just generally making cool stuff all the time. The challenge for many regional young people is how to take those skills and that creative drive and translate it into career opportunities. How to get connected to the arts sector and how to grow the profile of what they are doing locally – to see it recognised as a legitimate career path and journey – and also to grow creative networks and audiences beyond direct friendship groups. At its most basic Art Squad is simply about using my skills and networks to open up some of these opportunities for creative young people. By working with a core cohort over a long period of time I can get to know them – what they want, what makes them tick, their strengths and their weaknesses – and I can work with them to design projects, mentoring and outcomes that grow as they do.
At a programming level Art Squad is about trying something different – specifically the use of weekly virtual workshops with a statewide group – and also about building something with young people, rather than building something for them and then trying to sell it to them. Most importantly to me, Art Squad is about building something that can have a statewide impact in a relevant and timely way. As the Creative Producer, I didn’t want to create cookie cutter programs that we roll out in different communities, I want to work deeply with communities to create outcomes that are meaningful and useful for them.
The Creative Producer, Youth program is effectively one staff member – me – which means there is only so much we can realistically achieve. I’m one person and I can’t be everywhere and everything. It takes years to build and maintain the kinds of strong and trusting relationships that you can create really outstanding projects with, let alone the time it takes to understand enough about a community to know where to start. I can work really hard to consult and to listen – and I’ll keep doing that – but I can’t ever really hope to know each and every community across the state as well as the people who live there and are ‘of’ that place. The projects that are going to be the most exciting, relevant and useful are the projects that will come from people who know their communities deeply. Who love them but also see their faults. From people who are connected and embedded in those places. So it makes much more sense to me that the programs we create are about building the capacity and skills of young people to make things happen for themselves in their own communities. I want to support young people to chase their own big ideas, not be passive participants in mine.
So that’s some of the why behind Art Squad.
If you know a creative young person aged 18-23 living in regional South Australia – or you are one – have a look at the call out, share it around and get those applications in. There are only 9 spaces across the state but I hope to see way more applications than that because anyone who isn’t selected for Art Squad will still then be on my radar and there are other exciting opportunities we can all explore together!
And do jump in and join our Regional Creative Youth facebook group if you are a creative person aged 13-26 living in regional SA. I share call outs for things like Art Squad and other opportunities and you are welcome and encouraged to share the things you are working on and connect with other creative peeps in the group however you like.