If someone had told me a year ago that I would be sat in Tate Modern’s impressive East Room (complete with panoramic views of London), representing an internationally renowned arts centre at a meeting about sparking change in gallery practice and opportunities for young people, I would have probably laughed them out the building. Yet there I was last week, sat above the famous turbine hall, sharing the space of the massive former power station with some of the most important works of modern art in the world. And all whilst discussing two of the most exciting things possible- young people and the arts.
Thanks to the Circuit programme and Nottingham Contemporary, my career in the arts has got off to a very exciting start. Before taking up the position of Circuit Marketing Assistant last month, I completed the eight-step advocate programme, which has recently been established as part of Circuit. This programme paved the way for me to becoming a staff member, which entails working within the gallery’s highly experienced marketing and learning teams. As a History of Art graduate, this is the ultimate opportunity, and I am relishing every minute! My first Circulate meeting at Tate Modern was equally brilliant, as I had the chance to meet the Circuit national team and members of the other participating galleries, and be involved in an inspiring day of sharing and evaluation.
Making the transition to staff member at Nottingham Contemporary has been made all the smoother by my previous position as advocate. I had already built relationships with some members of staff such as our youth programmer and marketing manager, and as lovely as everyone is at Nottingham Contemporary, seeing a few familiar faces certainly helped to calm those inevitable first day nerves! I really think that the advocate programme addresses several of the Circuit aims head on, as it has developed previous practice towards young peoples’ involvement, whilst improving access to the gallery and creating a fantastic opportunity.
Nottingham Contemporary’s youth programme is seriously exciting, with lots of new opportunities for young people to get involved, contribute and shape practice within the gallery. Last Saturday saw over 300 young people flock to the gallery for COLLABOR-8, a live art and music social showcasing the works of our young creators group, plus some amazing performances from our young people and local bands. Talented photographer Vika Nightingale snapped all night long, capturing the transformation of the Space into a colourful and creative wonderland.
And there’s certainly more where that came from. Regular workshops and socials will aim to bring young people from all kinds of backgrounds together in the gallery space, allowing them to showcase their talents and challenge the way young people are viewed by society. There will be more info to follow, so watch this space. But one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be exciting!