Emerging Learning  – ‘in the room’ notes

Each year of the Circuit programme, we run two ‘Sharing Sessions’ where all staff involved, including those from marketing, curatorial, learning, youth partners and of course young people themselves, are invited to get together and share their learning. The evaluation of the programme has taken a developmental approach, which means lessons that surface through analysis of quantative and qualitative data, alongside discussion, feed into programme and governance decisions. As we reach the end of the programme, the learning will be articulated for an external audience to support gallery education practice. For now, here are some in the room notes we made in December 2015 on an away day in Bristol.



Large Scale Events

Hold monthly evaluation sessions led by young people, in the build up to large-scale events

Marketing and Programming must be integrated to be most effective

Evaluation must be embedded into activity (not an add on)

Consider the atmosphere  – do you want it to feel like a House Party?

Run Focus Groups to find out what your audience really wants and ensure young people, including core group, are part of this

Be open to extreme opinions

How can the gallery continue to feel like home after a large-scale event?

Consider how best to build on the success of a festival

Artists can facilitate conversation and production between gallery and young people

See further thoughts on this topic here.


Peer-led and Partnerships

Use the peer-led model within partnerships so young people are co-producers

Watch out for unexpected outcomes beyond the programme – benefits on young people spill out into other areas of their lives

Working in a small group with shared goal helps builds trust and momentum

Offsite working can be important to build trust – in a space that is familiar

Young people participating through partnerships should be involved in marketing

What’s the dynamic/offer/benefit for young people to take part in peer-led?

Are there parameters to what a gallery can support when working with very vulnerable young people?


See further thoughts on this topic here.


Invitations and Relationships

The gallery is changing in response to young Circuit artists – to do this we need to be accommodating and willing to learn from them

The invitation from the gallery is one that builds up over time and through a range of offers

It’s important to build relationships with individuals so you can understand and support individual journeys, including personal development

How does the gallery change practice to work with and learn from targeted/vulnerable services (which may not be a group)?

Training for staff is part of the journey – time to recognise youth partners as experts

Consider creating collaborative artwork between peer-led and partnership groups, even if they don’t physically meet

See further thoughts on this topic here.


Ongoing Relationships

Use art and creativity as the starting point for a relationship

Disrupt the gallery space and consider immersive and themed spaces to enable a group to pull together

Do we need to reconsider our language – core group, partnerships, peer-led? Is it about options, invitations, organic relationships?

Having an intern within the gallery opens helps open access

Consider young people commissioned as artists vs external commissions

Programming happen must through consultation not just with a few young people but as diverse a group as possible and not based on what we think people want

Building an in depth relationship with audience through a series of events, offers, invitations.

A collective identity is important eg T-shirts, everyone having the same lunch


See further thoughts on this topic here.



Consider and plan for staff development and their relationship with partners

Build relationships with organisations not just individual staff

A shared vision cannot be underestimated – in teams, across teams, of the gallery

An invitation has a ripple affect


Decisions, Voice and Change

How can we store learning so it becomes organisational memory?

Where does the real decision making happen?

How do artists disrupt or enable this?

How best to amplify voice of young people to influence the most senior levels?

Pace and rhythm of projects is important

Use data to analyse what’s working and what’s not

Patterns emerge over a period of time not always after one event so keep the evaluation and analysis going

Don’t be afraid to alter the model

Importance of articulating contributions and experience on CV’s for young people

See further thoughts on this topic here.