Since its founding in 1852, the Victoria and Albert Museum has been a key resource for young people looking to work in the creative industries. The Learning and National Programmes team believes in the importance of developing the key creatives skills from a young age – and our learning programmes fire imagination and foster ingenuity for everyone in a fast-changing world. In this context, we aim to equip learners with design-led skills and understanding for the 21st century.
Over the last 15 years the V&A has run an informal young people’s programme, with events taking place at the weekends and holidays. Our focus has been on skills development and career insights, and our Create! programme for visitors aged 13 – 24. Each year Create! engages around 4,000 young people, who take part in skills-based projects and careers events.
Create! Encompasses five different strands of programming:
- A programme of one day workshops and short courses for 13 – 19 year olds. These events are run by professional artists and designers, covering areas such as photography, fashion, digital, architecture, costume, fabric design, drawing, car design etc. The focus here is on skills development across a range of disciplines and pathways and progression into various creative industries.
- National Art and Design Saturday Club: the V&A runs a thirteen-week free programme of workshops for 14 – 16 year olds nominated by local schools and youth organisations.
- CreateFutures are five-day projects that support 16 – 24 year olds not in education, employment or training.
- CreateVoice is the V&A youth collective, an informal, friendly and diverse group of 16 – 24 yrs. who help shape the Young People’s programme.
- Making it are two free annual career festivals run for 16–25 year olds who are considering careers in art and design, or fashion. Each one involves a day of talks, demonstrations and taster workshops. You can get careers advice, find out how to be a freelancer and meet people who have set up their own businesses.
Having talked to people taking part in these events over the years, certain questions arose within our team. What were their motivations in coming? What should we provide? Could we find out more about our audience to help us make our programming more useful for them?
Drawing on data gathered from a Making it: Careers in Fashion and Costume event and a CreateFuture project, plus feedback from members of CreateVoice, Loughborough University undertook evaluation of the findings and set out the results in a paper entitled Let Me In: Getting young people into the Creative Industries. This paper has identified some recurring motivations of the young people wanting to access the creative industries engaging with the programme – and from them, we can build audience profiles, which will be useful to us as we plan events.
The profiles are:
- The Selector: Starting to make decisions that will affect their career path
- The Multifaceted Creative: Talented and interested in more than one field
- The Decided: Chosen a career, looking for relevant opportunities in that field
- The Switcher: Transitioning into a creative career
- The Explorer: Looking for new ideas, spends time critically thinking to form new opinions.
From this, we can check we are offering a broad programme of events catering to all five categories. The next Making it will be developed with members of CreateVoice looking at the profiles, identifying specific talks, workshops and displays that will appeal to each of the five types.
More information on the profiles is available here.
This work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), grant number AH/S004424/1