London is young and diverse – and one of the most creative cities in the world. Two million Londoners are under 25, hailing from a wide range of backgrounds. More than 300 languages are spoken by children in London schools. Longtime AYV Partner Eastside Educational Trust is based in Shoreditch, a place known for its creativity – home to artists, one of Shakespeare’s theatres, and so many tech start-ups and digital companies that it was recently dubbed ‘Silicon roundabout.’
“We believe the key to long-lasting success is developing young people’s creative thinking and teamwork skills. The city is positively buzzing and whilst it is evident there are many opportunities, youth are often not aware of how to access these or present their skills and knowledge to ensure they are at the heart of London’s media future.”
– Rakhee Jasani, Director of Eastside
AYV has long been committed to engaging educators and youth in purposeful media making in London, a cosmopolitan city where the people truly are citizens of the world. Eastside works across London, bringing together youth who have different backgrounds and experiences to collaborate on media projects that question the status quo and advocate change.
The Adobe Foundation is pleased to support the work of Eastside Educational Trust to provide a creative hub and more programming to develop young people’s skills and advance them in creative careers.
What’s unique about your approach to creative media making?
Eastside believes that true creativity flourishes when like-minded people come together. Participants have the opportunity to learn from committed professionals – which not only challenges them but also gives them a professional approach, good discipline, and industry insight resulting in authentic creative pieces. Many youth feel that their passion for media is not shared by their peers at school and they are delighted to meet others who do.
How does the opportunity to make media affect the aspirations of youth in your community?
Media making is a magical way to raise the aspirations of young people in our community, now more than ever. Greater access to mobile technology has meant that media can be produced and shared quickly and easily. What many find more difficult is to make pieces that stand out and find the right audience. This is where the right support is crucial, and we work closely with partners so that participants are able to produce pieces destined for an audience and experience the impact their work can have.
What role do arts organizations play in these young people’s lives?
Arts organizations can be a catalyst in many young people’s lives, offering them a pathway through which to express their identity and to discover their strengths. The arts are increasingly squeezed in the curriculum and arts organisations have a crucial role in giving young people their first meaningful experience of the arts as well as tools for success. They offer places and spaces to dream and aspirations to work towards, and for many they offer an alternative family and a sense of belonging.
What do youth need in order to advance in the creative fields, and what’s your process for connecting youth with creative careers?
We believe young people need skills, confidence, self-belief, and exposure to professionals in order to advance in the creative skills. We offer a combination of practical skills development workshops and courses, taught by professionals, so from the very outset, young people are learning the discipline and skills used within the creative industries. We offer accredited qualifications such as the Arts Award (recognising young people’s achievement in the arts), to guide young people in researching arts professionals, career pathways, and training. A key component of our media courses is to shine a light on less familiar roles, for example, the art department or the foley artist.
We run workshops and masterclasses as well as offering students opportunities to pitch ideas to an independent producer and to attend talks by professionals. We also partner with other organisations such as major broadcasters, BBC, Channel 4, film studios such as Three Mills and Pinewood Studios and agencies such as BFI or National Film and Television School to give young people insight into the creative industries. In addition, we team up with our local Adobe office to run career workshops on CVs, interview and presentation skills and how to use social media to develop creative careers.
How are you building on the work you’ve done in youth media?
Through our work with Adobe Youth Voices and other media-based programs, we have built up a strong network of teachers with an interest in media. We know that students would like to take their skills to the next level, but many schools do not offer film or media studies. With Adobe’s support we are delighted to turn our basic workshop space into a creative hub for young people to develop their creativity and digital skills, and network with other like-minded individuals. We will work closely with young people in the development of our hub, and plan to offer workshops, master classes, and inspirational talks. One of the Adobe Creativity Scholars from London, currently studying architecture, is eager to share ideas for an ideal youth-inspired digital and media hub.
We are really excited about how our ongoing program and creative hub will support the next generation of young creatives. We couldn’t be prouder of what our students have achieved so far and can’t wait to see what the future brings.
“I was an average 16-year old, still searching for a path, and never thought that a filmmaking course would change my whole life. Everybody at Eastside is full of energy and determination to kick-start people’s careers in the arts. I now make films independently. I know what I want my career to be and I can’t wait to get started.”
– Eastside youth artist Daniella, studying for post graduate diploma in
Production Management at the National Film and Television School
Patricia Cogley is manager, Adobe Youth Voices