Published on February 27, 2013 | by Julie Smith


New youth arts festival to open at the Tate

external view of Tate Modern

A £5m inclusion arts programme is to be launched at the Tate Modern. [Flickr: Steve Harris]

A three-day festival at the Tate Modern will launch a landmark £5 million  inclusion arts programme aimed at young people across the UK.

Backed by a grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Circuit: A National Youth Network for the Visual Arts, hopes to target 80,000 under-25s over four years, with particular focus on those with minimal access to the arts.

The new festival, organised by Tate’s Young People’s Programme and the Tate Collective, will take place from April 26-28 at the Tate Modern Tanks.

It will explore the concept of six degrees of separation through a mix of workshops, installations, performances, digital technology and food.

Following the April launch, Circuit will be rolled out across the country through selected galleries in the Plus Tate network.

Riots as catalyst

Tate director Nicholas Serota said that the catalyst for the programme was the events of the summer of 2011, when riots broke out in London, Nottingham and other cities across the UK.

“Circuit will spark a long-term transformation in the way young people engage with art.” Tate director, Nicholas Serota

He said: “These events made us very conscious that institutions, such as the ones represented on the programme, offer young people opportunities that they both need in their lives and can help them develop those lives in a more meaningful way.

“Cultural organisations play a vital role in encouraging young people to use their imaginations and to express themselves. Circuit will spark a long-term transformation in the way young people engage with art.”

The scheme, which is backed by Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller and Bob and Roberta Smith, will develop and support creative projects led by young people, schools and emerging artists.

As well as a mass participation piece, an online platform will enable interactive contribution to digital projects from 15-25 year olds.

Circuit is funded by a £5m grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Jane Hamlyn, daughter of Paul Hamlyn and chair of the foundation, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Circuit, as a national youth initiative, working through a group of fantastic organisations including Tate, with high ambitions for reaching and opening up the arts to so many young people in the UK.”


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