Big Dreams and Big Impacts at the SCEP Workshop

More than 30 representatives of Southampton’s arts, education, health and police sectors took part in the SCEP (Southampton Cultural Education Partnership) workshop at the John Hansard Gallery on 30 January 2023 to look at how arts and culture could improve the lives of children and young people in the city.

Photographs: Louise Coysh

At the forefront of everyone’s minds was young people; what they want from arts and culture and how to ensure they get it.

SCEP workshop participant

Participants undertook various activities investigating the needs and aspirations of local children and young people before taking part in a group Big Dream Big Impact workshop. The groups were given a hypothetic scenario where an anonymous donor had given £2 million to improve the lives of children and young people using arts and culture, and then discussed ideas to use the money which could be feasibly implemented in the city if funding was available. These included:

  • A fleet of community arts and education buses which could visit individual communities with community-led activities and then create a centralised festival site showcasing what had been produced in each area.
  • Increasing the opening hours of existing spaces like libraries to run arts activities and connecting the city with bus passes for every young person.
  • A social enterprise initiative focused on youth led events and activities with free transport for young people.
  • ‘You Belong Here’ – an arts award hub with go-and-see transport and neighbourhood road shows.
  • An adolescent crisis lounge with a hub-and-spoke support system.

Key elements were then discussed to see which could be taken forward in the work of the SCEP over the next year including transport and building on past projects, utilising and revitalising community assets, arts linked with additional provision such as health, a focus on places and neighbourhoods and neutral spaces for young people. Some young people attended the event and threading through all the discussion was the need to give young people the power to direct and drive future activity.

I was reminded all over again of the power of a creative act to inspire people to work together and come up with amazing new ideas.

SCEP workshop participant

If you want to learn more about SCEP, become a member, hear about future events, or to join our mailing list, please email us

TheSCEP works to nurture creative and cultural education for all children and young people in the City. We are a consortium of organisations working together, in partnership with Artswork.   

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