Our Place in the World: Cultural & Creative Education Programme

Year 1 Summary

The Our Place in the World: Cultural & Creative Education Programme is a two-year initiative funded by Arts Council England via their Partnership Investment (PI) fund and Lancaster University, in partnership with Curious Minds and Lancaster University.

Led by Lancashire Youth Challenge and the Culture Co-op, the programme aims to reach over 150 young people aged 13-19 (up to 25 for those requiring additional support) from working class, vulnerable and marginalised backgrounds, by engaging them in high quality arts and cultural activities, either in school or out in the community.

During this period of global uncertainty, the first year of the initiative focussed the Co-op’s collective energy on providing digital and offline educational resources for young people to explore and interrogate their place in this new and unfamiliar world.

In year one the initiative also supported local artists, practitioners and small organisations with much needed financial investment to realise their work.


Acting as a catalyst to inspire and empower, each commission enabled young people, especially those from working class backgrounds and vulnerable individuals, the space to make critical comment on their lived experiences during this time of unprecedented change and uncertainty.

A diverse selection panel met (consisting of representatives from the cultural, education and youth & community sectors, as well as young people) and selected four projects (out of 19 initial proposals); Our Place in the World Now (Charlotte Barber), Change in a Box (Theatre in the Rough), Double Life (leo&hyde) and GRAFT’s Young Changemakers (GRAFT).


Over the Summer of 2020 we developed an offline creative activity pack for young people aged 13-19 (up to 25 requiring additional support) across the Lancaster District. Inspired by Arts Council England’s Let’s Create initiative, the pack was crammed full of activities aimed at challenging young people’s creativity. A digital version was also produced and distributed to partners.

Working with Lancaster City Council and the following organisations, we were able to successfully distribute 125 packs to young people across the district:

  • Family Wellbeing Service (10)
  • CAMHS (27)
  • Cancer Care (17)
  • Princes Trust (4)
  • NHS Children Nursing & Integrated Therapy (22)
  • Stanleys & the Marsh Community Centres (40)


A professional development programme for teachers, artists, community practitioners and cultural education enthusiasts wanting to develop their skills, learn about current practices and share experiences with peers.

Series #1 (Oct – Dec 2020)

In the first series we hosted a workshop on the Language of Disadvantage with Dr Diane Potts from Lancaster University and ran two Creative SALONS (themes: creative joy & sparking creativity).

Series #2 (Jan – Mar 2021)

In this series we hosted a digital tools workshop from Curious Minds and ran an additional SALON around the theme of collaboration.


In December 2020 the Culture Co-op launched a new website (www.culturecoop.co.uk). It is a space for members, teachers, artists and young people to connect to one another and access activities and valuable resources.


  • 4 creative commissions (2k each)
  • 238 young people engaged
  • 15 artists employed
  • 15 pieces of creative and cultural education responses produced by young people
  • 2 offline resources produced
  • 5 Lancashire based artists supported via the first round of creative commissions
  • 21 pieces of digital content created
  • 6 professional development sessions hosted via the Cultural Care Series
  • 8k given to local artists
  • 33 artists, teachers and community practitioners attended our CPD sessions


The activities are pretty fun, and you can find a lot of use out of this pack. It kept my mind busy when I was alone.

Young Person (Creative Challenge Pack)

I feel like this was the beginning of an important discussion and I would be interested in joining further events on this theme.

HE Practitioner (Cultural Care Series)

It is really important and vital that the message is spread about Black Lives Matter and also for up-and-coming black artists to get a chance. We chose these artists because they were the ones that we feel most represented our message – they had a story to tell that represented the project.

Young Person (GRAFT’s Changemakers)


As part of the Our Place in the World initiative, a number of subsequent opportunities opened up to local artists:

  • Due to the quality of the Change in a Box product, an additional 50 boxes and 200 booklets were commissioned by the Co-op and Lancaster University. The additional booklets will be distributed across University libraries.
  • The Culture Co-op, Lancashire Youth Challenge and Lancaster University are continuing to support Theatre in the Rough to develop the next phase of the Change in a Box initiative.
  • In April 2021 the GRAFT Young Changemakers Voices Exhibition was restaged at More Music for an Arts Council England funded arts project. Young people were also able to learn from one of the artists in a special workshop with GRAFT.

Download the full year 1 report here.