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- Author or Editor: Frances Howard x
How do young people develop through youth arts programs and how can these programs reflect and extend young people’s personal interests? How can youth arts support participatory democracy and social change?
Frances Howard puts forward a powerful case for the value of youth arts programs, whilst acknowledging and interrogating the complexities involved, including unequal access to provision and the class-based harm that can be inadvertently practiced within them.
Drawing on the author’s own practice experience, alongside a range of international case studies showing best practice, this grounded and accessible text will be welcome reading to academics, students and practitioners across Education, Youth and Community courses.
This chapter defines the problem which this book seeks to solve: the unequal programming and application of youth arts programmes. It problematises claims in research and education policy that the arts can include all young people. Drawing on the dichotomy between ‘high’ arts and ‘low’ culture, the classed-based take-up of youth work is explored. The structure and aims of the book are set out.
This chapter explores three diverse approaches of global youth arts practice, which includes creative arts youth work (CAYW), the arts as intervention (AI) and positive youth development (PYD). Each of these trends in current practice highlights different ways arts programs function, and the affordances for and positioning of the young people involved. Following the mapping of international trends, this chapter introduces the three key themes that run throughout the book – common culture, cultural citizenship and cultural democracy – as alternative ways of configuring youth arts practice. This chapter not only maps the field, but also sets frameworks for the future development of youth arts programs.
This chapter examines problematic labels which are placed upon groups of young people, such as ‘at-risk’, NEET, disengaged. It argues that access to arts programmes is socially streamed, using youth work settings as an example. This chapter highlights that the sites in which young people access arts projects often dictate what kind of practices and pedagogies they receive. It raises issues of social justice and explores the conditions of learning that are important for young people under these categorisations.
In this chapter, the Arts Award program, an ethnographic methodology and the three youth work settings are described. Interviews with youth workers are shared as a synopsis of the key findings are given. It argues that despite the award being a ‘good fit’ with the informal education practices of youth work, there was a real danger that this program would instrumentalise the experience of working with the arts. The value of the arts as a ‘tool’ for youth work is highlighted, however the program’s use as a tool for monitoring and controlling behaviour for some young people is also shown. Practices of austerity youth work are presented in order to explore how the arts can be translated into instrumental and measured forms of youth work.
This chapter explores the different arts practices on offer through the youth arts program in my study – Arts Award. Drawing on Paul Willis’ framework of common culture, examples of the artistic practice undertaken by the young people are given as incorporating everyday practice, symbolic resources and bedroom culture. This chapter also explores ‘subcultural’ arts practices and their functioning as realignment for some young people to deviant social groupings by drawing on case studies.
Drawing on the notion of cultural citizenship, this chapter questions what arts programs ‘prepare’ young people for. It argues that youth arts programs have the potential to develop young people as justice-oriented cultural citizens () who feel a civic responsibility to use their artistic practice to actively promote justice and address inequalities in society. The potentially liberating and oppositional affordances of working with the arts are highlighted through the pedagogy of empowerment and transformative potentialities youth arts programs can offer. However, this chapter also explores a counter-argument, which demonstrates that these affordances were not consistent for all young people. While arguing that the potential of the youth arts programs is not being reached, this chapter problematises assumptions made about the power of the arts to ‘transform’ young lives, without recognising the cultural values and interests young people bring with them.
This chapter explores the kinds of arts practices that flourish within youth work settings. Two international case studies are presented, which demonstrate young people’s take-up of common culture. These include Dancehearts, based at Annantalo in Finland, which provides inclusive dance sessions; and Bolt FM (Scotland), which is a program that gives young people a voice using radio. These two programs exemplify, in particular, the value of informal education and kinaesthetic pedagogies. This chapter argues that youth arts programs that accommodate common culture, for example those that engage with DIY and digital arts practices, are more likely to be responsive, engaging and ultimately impactful for the young people involved.
This chapter contains two case studies which highlight best practice in supporting and celebrating cultural democracy and practical insights for arts programs with young people. The case studies include Propel Youth Arts WA (Western Australia), which is an arts-based youth advocacy organisation, and SWAN Youth Service (Ireland), which devises programs for young people to explore different artistic mediums and processes. SWAN places an importance on the arts as an opportunity for informal education, and its Reckless Arts program, which hosts an artist-in-residence, will be the focus of this case study. Through these exemplars, the value of youth-led arts programming and positioning young people as cultural experts as a way of celebrating cultural democracy within youth arts programs is demonstrated. In this chapter, data from interviews with young people, arts practitioners, festival coordinators, youth workers and project managers is presented in order to celebrate alternative cultural forms through youth-led arts programming.
This chapter argues for the value of the arts in supporting participatory democracy and social change and explores youth arts programs which hold cultural citizenship at their heart. Two case studies will be presented that demonstrate the value of arts programs for the development of cultural citizenship. These are Chicago Arts and Music Project, as an example of an arts program which responds to the needs of local communities and empowers young people towards social action; and a European program from Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. (Youth and Culture) in Germany, which uses the arts as a tool for social inclusion and the celebration of cultural difference. It argues that youth arts programs should be supporting and cultivating young people as cultural citizens, emphasising the importance of dialogue on ‘otherness’ and the value of building community relations.