Tips for Engaging With Arts & Culture in Your Community

This article was written by members of NYAAG, find out more about the group and what they've been up to.

For Young People

A group of young NYAAG members sitting on rainbow-coloured steps
  1. Don't be afraid to try something new, there is loads of support and opportunities out there so make the most of them!  Try convincing friends to come with you, it makes an experience less scary and means having someone you can travel with, potentially cutting down costs.  
  2. Don't underestimate your local area. Especially if you're from a small, rural location, it's easy to think there's nothing on offer in your local area but this isn't always true! Search local social media pages; look for notices at community halls; read local newspapers, and ask your friends and family about what's on offer. If you can't find anything that interests you, why not create a group yourself! 
  3. Funding Opportunities: If you’re finding it hard to get involved in the arts, don’t forget that there are funds such as the Nurturing Talent Fund to help you fulfil your creative potential. If you have an idea for a project that you’re passionate about or want to connect with other young people in your area through the arts, there’s support out there to help you!
  4. Online resources: remember that you can access a lot of opportunities online! You may want to consider online opportunities if they are not accessible for you n person, if they are too expensive to reach or too far away. 
  5. Be vocal about what you need and want: if you feel that an organisation could be more accessible or you have some suggestions that could improve your experience as a young person: just say so! Most organisations will have some sort of feedback forms you can complete in person or an email address you can write to. You can also talk to a member of staff pointing out what could be improved and why. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want! 

Don't forget you can check out Young Scot's discounts and #YSRewards, we've put together some arts-related offers for you. 

For Organisations

A room full of people sitting around tables working together

If you're a young person working at an organisation, there's a few things you could speak to management about, such as:

  1. Helping them understand the barriers young people in your community might face so that they can adjust practices with young people in mind, aiming to support them overcoming those barriers. These will be different wherever you are, so think about what issues face the young people in your area! Barriers could include: financial, language, accessibility and cultural barriers. 
  2. Encourage them to ask young people what they want! It's very difficult to create resources and groups for young people if you don't know what they actually want. Create surveys; ask questions via social media; forms focus groups - find out what young people need from the organisation!
  3. Keeping it simple. Encourage them not to overload or over complicate things. The more simplistic the easier it is to join in. This also keeps it enjoyable, and fun. 
  4. Diversity. Trying to include different groups of people and making sure it’s not all aimed at one specific group because it can be easier for young people to join if they feel represented and welcome.
  5. Developing youth-led projects: Making projects or platforms youth-led will allow an organisation to engage young people on a more meaningful level than by simply creating them for young people. It will also make the projects self-sustaining, as they will evolve to fit the needs and desires of each new generation that’s involved. Young people will gain crucial transferable skills such as organisation, cooperation and time-management, as well as a sense of responsibility and pride for developing a project that they’re a part of. 

Head back to the NYAAG landing page for more information about the group and other arts-related articles.