Attenborough Arts announces new partnership with the British Museum

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre has been named today as one of the British Museum’s key cultural partners for 2021, and will be collaborating on a new innovative national programme for young people named Where we are… 

Working in partnership with the British Museum, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and Pedestrian, a Leicester based arts organisation and charity specialising in music and arts education for young people young people who are often socially excluded, not in education, employment or training, projects will be led by and co-produced with young people in Leicester who identity as LGBTQ+ to explore activism and social justice. 

Where we are… aims to connect with young people who are currently under-served by the cultural sector. The Attenborough Arts Centre co-produces work with children and young people and seeks new and creative ways to removes barriers to accessing the arts, and prioritises working for the most marginalised youth. In Leicester, these young people will have full unrestricted access to resources from these organisations to produce their project in response to the upcoming exhibition programme, including the creation of music. 

Marianne Pape, Education and Outreach Officer, Attenborough Arts Centre said: “Where we are... is a new collaborative partnership that will bring together young people in Leicester identifying as LGBTQIA+, artists, and colleagues from Attenborough Arts Centre and Pedestrian. Supported by our friendly and experienced team, they will respond creatively to Attenborough Arts Centre’s autumn 2021 exhibition entitled 'The World is a Work in Progress', which features newly commissioned work by contemporary artists, including Bob & Roberta Smith, engaging with ideas of activism, social justice and future building. We are excited to be working with the British Museum on this project and amplifying young voices, ideas and culture in Leicester.”

Sarah Saunders, Head of Learning and National Partnerships at the British Museum said: “In all of our work, the British Museum draws upon the support of our many long-standing partnerships and building new connections. This year we have launched our new Where we are… programme to encourage under-served young people aged 16–24 from across the UK to engage with arts and culture in their local communities. Initiatives like this are more important than ever to break down existing barriers and increase access to the arts, not just in museums but in all areas of local life.”

Hema Mistry, Director of Pedestrian said: “We are so excited to work with the British Museum and Attenborough Arts Centre to introduce and widening the understanding of contemporary visual art for young people whilst combining with our music specialism. This is a unique opportunity to share the talents of young people from Leicester on a national platform.” 

The programme wants to broaden definitions of arts and culture and support young people by giving them the space and time to express their identities and culture in an artistic way. 

Running from 2021 until 2025 and supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Where we are… aims to help give young people agency within their own local communities by creating three cultural projects a year as part of the British Museum’s National Programmes with key partners in Leicester, Edinburgh and Leeds. 

The next stage of the project is for each Key Partner to locally manage the recruitment of 10 young people to co-produce the youth-led cultural or arts project, seeking to engage those young people who are traditionally under-served in the arts and culture sector. 

Young people will be remunerated for their time and expenses and this first year of the programme will run until January 2022.