At the end of September we hosted the launch of Young Creatives at the Tabernacle Theatre. The event invited young people from RBKC and surrounding boroughs to take part in free design and make workshops, to meet the Design Museum team and to find out more about becoming a Young Creatives member.
This was the Museum’s first youth focussed event in the borough and there was creative energy buzzing throughout the day! Over 60 young people attended the event and met with designers and artists, and took part in digital, graphics, fashion and architecture workshops. We saw young people building architectural structures to fill the room, led by artist Carlos Cortes. Others created t-shirt designs with artist Ella McCartney who encouraged people to think about positive changes and words that inspired them. Graphic designer Paul Jenkins invited people to think about their own community and of their favourite local places to inspire fly-poster designs. And, digital company PrintMe 3D showcased a range of digital scanners, 3D printing and robotics activities.
Here are some thoughts and responses that I gathered from our team of designers and artists:
Why did you want to get involved and what did you want to bring to the event?
Paul Jenkins (PJ): ‘I was excited to be part of a project that introduces design to young people, outside of the classroom, which I think is vitally important. Design can and should be fun and this is what I wanted to bring to the table.’
Ella McCartney (EM): ‘The event had a focus on the process of design which I really value. At school young people are not exposed to all of the different types of design that this event offered and I wanted to bring my own experiences of working in industry/museum context to this event.’
Can you share your thoughts about design and the value of learning through designing?
PJ: ‘Design is around us, everywhere, without you even knowing it and introducing this idea to young people is vitally important. Involving young people with active participation is a key way to bring this message to life and I think the event did a great job at it, with some very happy faces on the young people (and adults) from what I could see.’
Carlos Cortes (CC): ‘I do believe design has an important role to play in young people’s future. We can talk about possibilities of employment in an increasingly sophisticated and technological society. But there are also other more subtle elements that can be equally important. The ability to relate to the world that surrounds us and to understand a number of coded languages that are part of our everyday experience, the ability to use design thinking to solve problems and create a better society.’
Can you share your reflections of the launch event?
PJ: ‘I think the event was a great success. There were a variety of different disciplines for participants to be involved with, which I did too myself! I think the fact that participants could see tangible outcomes whether they took part in a workshop or simply entering the space meant they could see themselves that it was fun, interactive and something that they may not associate with a regular ‘museum’.’
EM: ‘The event had a positive atmosphere which seemed to enable the young people to feel able to try new things. I noticed how the young people spoke to each other (some knew each other, some had just met) during the activities and there was a feeling of encouragement throughout the day from the facilitators as well as the participants. ‘
CC: ‘I enjoyed seeing people taking part in different activities, the regular flow of participants that were sharing their own creative approaches and experimenting with different techniques and art forms. I think it’s particularly appealing to create a safe space where people can try a variety of things without fear of failing or being ridiculed. It was particularly exciting sometimes to see the response that the same person had to some of the different activities that were on offer and to understand how the same creative principles can manifest themselves in often contrasting ways that nonetheless are clearly related.’
The Young Creatives programme welcomes people aged between 14-19 years to become a member. In January 2016, members who are signed up to the programme will take part in a six week, after school, designer-led project. It will be a hands-on design and make creative project supported by a designer exploring the groups interested and ideas of what makes a good design and how design can help others or create change. All members of Young Creatives taking part in the project will also have the chance to gain a Bronze Arts Award.