Partnerships and Puppet-making

As Becky moves into a new role, she pauses to share an experience from a partnership workshop at the gallery…



Since graduating, I have been volunteering at Nottingham Contemporary and have recently completed the advocacy scheme – and I’ve just been employed as Circuit Marketing Assistant. As part of my Advocacy project, I had the privilege of shadowing a workshop for Action for Young Carers (AYC), a youth group which is part of the Carers’ Federation. They are a partnership organisation of Nottingham Contemporary, and this link is being sustained through Circuit.

The group of young people who attended the workshop are currently working with towards creating a video promoting healthy living to their peers, and are working with Nottingham Contemporary staff and a videographer to make their creative visions a reality.

The young people supported by AYC are deemed as ‘harder to reach’, and it is certainly an aim of the Circuit Programme to improve opportunities in the arts for this group, sustaining relationships and networks with Nottingham Contemporary. ‘Hard to reach’ as a label is difficult, however, and there is debate amongst arts organisations and youth groups as to the implications of its usage.

A discussion took place on this matter in July – an article about it exists here. One of the main points to come out of this discussion was that young people must not be treated as a form of ‘currency’ for arts organisations, with youth groups being the ‘bank’. Emphasis must be placed on what arts organisations can offer to young people, rather than what they categorically will offer. Furthermore, trust and relationships are key to successful partnerships between young people and galleries.

And it was this final point which came across so strongly at the workshop I shadowed on Sunday. It was clear to see the trust and friendliness between those taking the workshop and those hosting it, and it seemed to me that this environment was fuelling the creativity shown by the young people.

Making puppets with young people from AYC for their video about Healthy Living.

Making puppets with young people from AYC for their video about healthy living.

By Becky Timmins

Read more about Becky’s day making puppets with AYC on her blog.