Back in June we applied for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a fantastic project idea- we wanted to explore Youth work and youth clubs in Blyth from the 1930s to the present day and present our findings as an exhibition and publication.
We were thrilled to be given a grant of £10,000 to go ahead with the project that we have named ‘Youth Work Revisited’ and commissioned ISIS Arts and the Over 50s Forum from Blyth comrades club to work in partnership with us to turn this idea into a real working project. The money we were given meant we could enlist the help of local historian Gordan Smith, pay for some recording equipment, hold artist led workshops and trips and put on exhibitions and produce our final publication.
Once we had secured the funding we had lots of meetings with Sharon Bailey and Lindsay Duncanson from ISIS Arts to plan our workshops and trips, our young people learnt how to use the top of the range recording equipment and had a wonderful time meeting with Gordon Smith and the over 50s forum collecting old stories and photos.
On the 9th July we officially launched our project in the Keel Row Shopping Centre- young people from our drop in had made some photo boxes with the help of Lindsay from ISIS for the public to drop their photos in and we spent the day collecting information and interviewing the public about their experiences with Youth work and youth clubs, it was such a successful day with people of all ages from Blyth sharing their photos and stories with us.
Since our launch we have had lots of workshops with ISIS and the over 50s forum bringing all of our findings together. The young people have been involved in collecting old photos and memorabilia, have had DJing and VJing sessions and have had fun editing old photos and creating slideshows to go on display. In August we also organised a trip to Woodhorn Museum where our young people and members of the over 50s forum had a fabulous time exploring the archives.
On Monday 24th October you may have noticed a large inflatable space descend on Blyth Marketplace- this inflatable space is called the ‘BIG M’ and was put their as part of our project. The Big M is an impressive inflatable Art Space and was used to screen and exhibit the pictures and stories that have been collected so far. It was great to be able to show the public how much work has been done and also a wonderful way for them to come and take a trip down memory lane and have the opportunity to share their own memories of being a young person with us. Our young people did a great job volunteering on the day- the dj’d and chatted to and interviewed the public about their experiences. This was a brilliant day and real memorable part of this project, a big thanks must go to Blyth Town Council for allowing us to do this.
We have had such a great time these past few months turning this idea into reality and we haven’t finished yet! The next stage of our project is to hold a social night at the Comrades Club and design and unveil our publication!
Keep checking our social media pages for updates:
For further information about ISIS Arts and The Big M visit: http://isisarts.org.uk/