Arts Emergency

An Alternative Old Boy Network

A generation of working class artists and thinkers changed the world and lead revolutions in popular culture and society throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Low income does not mean low imagination, low ambition, or low intelligence. But the next generation, though full of vim and vigour, are stopped in their tracks by fees and cuts, sidelined by policy makers, and vexed by austerity. They need us to send the ladders down and we need their fearlessness and invention to change the world all over again.


When tuition fees tripled in 2010 and public funding for the arts was decimated, we wanted to do something meaningful for the low income kids most affected.

We pulled together around 50 friends – artists, thinkers, writers, performers, and activists. We pinned up a photo of the infamous Bullingdon Club. We listed the many advantages and favours those men had had on their way to the top. We pledged to build an open access alternative to that ‘old boy’ network that dominates arts, culture and politics in the early 21st century.

In 2013, after a pilot project in Hackney that saw 22 teenagers mentored and go on to study the arts at university, we registered officially as the charity Arts Emergency.


It begins as a one year mentoring project for 16 year olds, and it’s the absolute chance of a lifetime. 

What’s revolutionary here is the fact our kids are supported along the way (and beyond) by what’s now a network of over 4000 arts professionals, including 100s of the biggest names in visual art, music, fashion, film, journalism and more. These are people who can and do open doors at ALL levels of the industry.

We can set up paid work experience, studio time, set visits, auditions, coaching, gallery space, free tickets, backstage passes, paid internships, academic help and so much more. They only need ask, and we can deliver it.

It’s our very practical way of giving low income kids everything we wished for at 16. It’s a first class ticket into the world of culture, learning, and creativity, that is underpinned by long term practical support right up to the age of 24. Unsurprisingly, three years in and with a rapidly rising profile, we find ourselves oversubscribed by teenagers wanting to apply.


Our work is funded entirely by members of the public. It’s a fact central to our mission and our identity and means that Arts Emergency is a genuinely public movement for arts and culture at a time when bigger establishment organisations are, well…he who pays the piper calls the tune and all that.

Some people give £1 a month, some people give £1000 a month. We only ask for whatever you can afford.

It costs us £1000 to support one young person from 16 to 24. That’s £125 a year for something amazing and long term. We are working with 120 young people in this year’s project and it will be 1000s more as word spreads behind the scenes and in the right places.

Asking only for regular monthly or yearly pledges is deliberate and revolutionary. It means we actually spend NO money directly on fundraising. Zero pounds. Instead we can put every penny and all of our attention towards supporting kids who need this amazing project in their lives.







If you would like any more info about us, please email our Director at!

  • Laurence Alliston-Greiner

    I have worked as a freelance drama teacher for the last ten years. Working with young people in the U.K…

  • Julie Amphlett

    I have always loved arts and science and was very disappointed to discover that it is almost impossible to continue…

  • Colin Anderson

    I began my career in comedy as a pharmacy student at Manchester University, running club nights and writing sketches for…

  • Alexandra Anderson-Dyer

    Having worked as an actress for over ten years, I began exploring the area of directing several years ago and…

  • Fairooz Aniqa

    I studied Media at college and took an interest in Fashion media. I chose to do my course at LCF…

  • Misha Anker

    Misha Anker

    I really very much fell into technical theatre; I can’t say it was a childhood ambition, that would be untrue!…

  • Brigitte Aphrodite

    Brigitte Aphrodite

    Poet/ Song writer/Comedy actress. I pursued a BA in the arts because it was the only subject I absolutely loved…

  • Paul Arathoon

    I do law (of the corporate/company) variety

  • Helen Arney

    Perhaps unusually for this role, I’ve come from a science background as well as an arts background. I have a…