Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs

This is a complex and challenging project funded by Interreg (ERDF funding). The overall purpose is to provide opportunities for young people to take part in ‘Creative Jams’ and ‘Key Enabling Technology’ workshops designed to inspire them in developing their own ideas & innovative concepts – before potentially making them a reality!

Once those ideas have hatched, these groups of entrepreneurs then enter an incubation period, which in essence is an intensive short-cut for business startups, covering such things as market research, branding, idea conceptualisation, prototyping & business support.

Our EU funder is particularly interested in seeing how formal education and business standard incubation can be adapted to suit young people, especially amongst those who may not engage with formal routes of education or may not see this ‘alien’ world as a possibility for them.

We are working with partners to learn from their experience and skills to adapt these models of practice into our settings, all whilst building a local network of experts and collaborators who want to support young people on their journey. We currently have 3 ‘Creative Hubs’ in Space, and they are working on the following ideas at present:

Bideford has a group working with a local gallery to map the environment & develop a Virtual Reality experience for guest artists to display their artwork in a virtual space, making the building more accessible and tangible for those people who experience barriers in using their local gallery.

This incubation period has included support from local photographic experts for 3d mapping, a visit to ‘Tate Modern’ in London for a guided talk and a seminar with their world-renowned VR experts for tips on how to use the mapping concept for gallery spaces.

Future developments have been made with the town council, who have stated that should the business be successfully launched, they can have a contract to map out 2 new community spaces that are being cleared at the moment – exciting times for this group of young people making a small town in North Devon futureproof.

Exmouth has a group embarking on a 6-week social media and marketing course led by an industry expert with hopes of becoming the projects documentary team, capturing our accomplishments and the challenges we face as the project moves forward over the next two years.

Tiverton has a group of young people working on their ‘Empathy Project’, an educational resource concept for people, educators and businesses to further understand & re-evaluate their misconceptions of daily life amongst people living with ‘invisible’ conditions such as neurodiversity, mental health conditions, and learning difficulties.

This fascinating idea brings together VR immersive experiences, workshops and expert discussions to give individuals an opportunity to really walk in someone elses shoes – whether that be someone with social anxiety, dyslexia or any other condition like epilepsy. There is also the idea that people can meet those who experience these difficult conditions & together, engage in a discussion that would develop an empathetic perception which will encourage individuals to reflect on their own experiences.

The future business plan includes training for teaching and support staff who will benefit a deeper understanding of how it feels to experience such conditions. Not bad for a group of 15-17 year olds!

The Challenges
This is a large project (4.4 million Euros over 3 years), with 17 partners and associates across 4 countries. We need to learn fast about new terminology while educating our colleagues on our skills at reaching and retaining young people that they may not currently work with. There are different views throughout the partnership which we also need to navigate. For instance the age range; this can be complex with ‘young people’ meaning different ages to different countries – the age range of the project is 16-30. Although we can work with people aged 14 and 15 years as well.