Arts Emergency

About us

Arts Emergency is an award-winning mentoring charity and network. Our mission is to help marginalised young people overcome barriers to participation and success in higher education and the creative and cultural industries.

“We believe passionately that those with the most potential are often the least able to pay for education, the least able to pull favours or access helpful networks, to work for free, or find shortcuts into paid creative and cultural work.” Josie Long, co-founder

Our Story

Comedian Josie Long and campaigner Neil Griffiths founded Arts Emergency in 2013 as a way to do something meaningful for the young people most affected by rising tuition fees and cuts to the arts.

“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 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.” Neil Griffiths, co-founder

From a grassroots project in Hackney with eight students and a handful of volunteers, Arts Emergency is now a community of 7,000 professionals from the creative and cultural industries who have pledged to pass on opportunities and support to less privileged young people. Since we registered as a charity in 2013 we have provided expert mentors, work experience and free cultural activities to over 750 young people, with the vast majority going on to higher education, apprenticeships and employment in the cultural sector.

We currently work in London, Greater Manchester and Thanet, and we’re launching in Merseyside in 2020.

You can read about our plans to grow across the UK here: The Future is Another Place