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.
This is our call out for those that a can, to consider funding annually, one young person’s place on our project. It costs £1000, and if you sign up, that will be debited on the same day each year until you say so.
That £1000 can cover up to eight full years o support form our team here, including the life changing mentoring in year one, work experience, academic support and help settling at university or equivalent, and real life opportunities and useful contacts when entering the world of work beyond. It’s the chance of a lifetime for somebody, that you will be solely responsible for creating!
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 not a window, it’s an open door, into the world of culture, learning, and creativity, that is underpinned by long term practical support right up to the age of 24. Unsurprisingly, four 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, independent from external influence.
Most people give between £3 and £10 a month to go towards places here. And to speed up our growth and increase our national reach, we have created the Bursar Club for those who wish to, and are able to, fund an annual place for a young person at Arts Emergency in it’s entirety.
£1000 has been the average cost we estimate for a full 8 years of network support, with one to one mentoring for a year being the largest investment within that amount. You’ll fund ongoing support too, ending with a young person leaving us at 24 with an influential network of peers and set of experiences that enable them to make the absolute most of their potential. Doing this in perpetuity means not one person, but one person EVERY year. The positive ripple effect on the wider world will be tangible!
The day you set up your direct debit is the day it will clear in following years, and we are putting together a special recognition package for anyone who chooses to help in this way. Details will be announced closer to Christmas 2017, basically Josie and the team here are making lots of nice things to say thank you to you.
Or if you wish to support us in a different way, please contact me directly at Neil@arts-emergency.org