How do you make sure that your work with youth sector partners doesn’t end up separate to the work with your ‘core’ group? This year, we are working to see what changes when young people in the core group shape the partnership. During the Blueprint Festival, Tate Collective Liverpool member Kayt worked with young people facing mental health issues to produce work that became part of the Parade of Living Sculptures. Afterwards, she wanted us to use the opportunity of Circuit to create ways for young people suffering mental health problems to access Tate Liverpool. She and Kitty have since gone on to work with us to build a partnership with CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) Liverpool.
“For us, making art and engaging in creative activities within a positive environment like Tate has been a cathartic process, one that enables us to express, relieve and understand. The stigma we have faced as individuals has been eased by our acceptance into a peer group with Tate Collective and then into wider artistic community. By connecting with the young people from CAMHS, we are not only introducing them to alternative forms of self expression, we are non-judgmentally welcoming them into a new environment, one that may have seemed un-relatable. We feel it is important as we have learnt first hand of the mental wellbeing benefits that can be gained from getting involved.” (Kitty & Kayt)
CAMHS Liverpool have got a young people’s participation group, FRESH, and the first stages of the partnership have involved working with them to support their anti-stigma campaign. Inspired by the work of Gillian Wearing, the group worked with Kitty, Kayt and Nzimah to create portraits of people holding up a sign telling how they are feeling. Nzimah has compiled the photoshoot into a short video aimed at encouraging people to talk about how they are feeling and to signpost them to CAMHS if they need support.
For the next stage of the project, the group will create a summer programme open to all young people accessing CAMHS or their partner organisations. FRESH have identified a few areas they are interested in, Kitty and Kayt and May have identified artists they might want to work with, and this will be the first peer led programme to have been generated by Tate Collective in full collaboration with the young people from one of our youth sector partnerships. We are eager to see if the fact that the partnership was instigated and the programme shaped by young people from both Tate Collective and CAMHS makes a difference to the numbers of young people who go on to attend or participate in Tate Collective Liverpool from this programme.