For the last 12 months young people under the age of 25 from across the Kingdom have been able to enjoy the arts in ways that have perhaps not been available to them in the past.
And that’s thanks to the work of Fife Youth Arts – an initiative that aims to make children and young people key stakeholders and decision-makers in shaping arts provision in the region.
It was established in 2014 through a Creative Scotland investment of £3.1 million for nine youth arts hubs across the country, and Fife Youth Arts recently celebrated its first birthday with a rebranding of its name and website.
Originally the online site was set up as #Hub8, as it was the digital element that was designed to complement the seven hubs established in towns throughout the region.
However, the re-branding as simply Fife Youth Arts – and the creation of the website www.fifeyoutharts.com – was sparked by the young people themselves.
Although Fife Youth Arts has two adult members of full-time staff, the rest of the work being carried out is being done by young people for young people.
Since it started in 2015, Fife Youth Arts has worked with over 4000 young people from across the region, covering all ages from birth to 25.
In the past year the organisation has established a wide ranging creative learning programme, with activities and taster sessions covering all aspects of the arts from drama, music, dance and film.
It has also hosted events such as Festival 15, a family friendly all day event held in the summer; and family fun days for pre-school children.
A group of young people were also given the chance to meet and speak with Amal Aldoseri, a member of the United Nations committee on the rights of a child, when she visited the Kingdom last year.
And the hub has coordinated young people’s involvement in other events, such as the Diane Arbus exhibition at Kirkcaldy Galleries.
The young people have also taken part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and projects have been ongoing to give those people under 25 who have never had the opportunity to get involved in the arts to do just that.
And this year plans for Fife Youth Arts continue to develop with a busy time ahead.
Janet Robertson, manager of Fife Youth Arts, said: “This year’s focus is heavily on early years work, but we have a lot going on.
“We’ve had a fantastic response from young people this last year.
“We’ve approached this initiative as a collaboration and resource sharing. We’ve had help from across Fife Council departments.
“They are really supportive and we’ve also had a lot of fantastic support from creative partners locally, regionally and nationally.”
As well as finalising the next session of the creative learning programme, which has seen more teaching artists coming forward and getting involved in supporting the young people, the year ahead sees numerous events and opportunities planned.
Among them is a chance for local young people to take part in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Transition Auditions for its junior and short courses when the auditions come to the Adam Smith Theatre on March 27, for just the second year.
Scottish Opera will also be working with Fife Youth Arts on a project to perform a production of ‘The Little White Town of Never-Weary’ at the festival of architecture hosted by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
Janet added: “We’re also working on a bigger and better Festival 16, and we’ll be heading to the Fringe again in August with the young people involved in the creative learning programme.”
This weekend two different projects involving Fife Youth Arts are taking place. The first is a family fun day at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy on Sunday. Following on from a similar event in Lochgelly last year, the Bennochy Road theatre will be opening its doors to families with young children from 11am to 4pm. It’s a drop in event and there’s plenty of opportunities for everyone to enjoy the arts. Among the events on the day will be relaxed movie screenings, early year craft workshops, creative play, Bookbug story corners, Wee Dance Wee Groove sessions and Balancability spaces. Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon, young people will be getting involved in an event at Lochgelly Centre, hosted by Fife Cultural Trust.
The event, entitled ‘Time for Tea with Jennie Lee’ will see a variety of activities taking place from 2pm celebrating the work of Jennie Lee. Dr Daniel Wienbren, the author of The Open University: A History, will give a short talk about her and Sheena Wellington will sing.
In recognition of Jennie Lee’s work for the arts, Fife Youth Arts will provide taster sessions in different art forms, including make up artistry, drama, digital skills, aerial dance and singing.