Our Place in the World: Cultural & Creative Education Programme 20-22

The Our Place in the World: Cultural & Creative Education Programme was a two-year initiative funded through Curious Minds Partnership Investment Programme and Lancaster University.

Managed by Lancashire Youth Challenge and the Culture Co-op the programme aimed to widen access to art & culture for under-represented young people, specifically those from a working-class background.

Developed as a response to the significant challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, the programme supported also local artists, practitioners and small organisations with much needed financial investment to help them realise new and ambitious work.

Over the two-year period:

  • 708 young people were directly engaged in arts and cultural activity
  • 7 projects were commissioned
  • 33 freelance artists were employed
  • 100 creative products were made by young people
  • 4 offline resources were produced
  • 13 Lancashire based artists were supported via the commissions
  • 33 pieces of digital content were created and shared online
  • 10 professional development sessions were delivered
  • £20.5k was given to local artists and organisations to realise their ambitions
  • 61 teachers, artists and cultural education enthusiasts attended our CPD sessions

Programme Outline 2020-22

Cultural Care Series

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.

Creative Commissions

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

Creative Challenge Packs

We developed and distributed two offline creative activity packs 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 packs were crammed full of activities aimed at inspiring young people’s creativity. 

New Radicals

In January 2022, ten young people took part in a series of 12 weekly two-hour sessions to develop a brand-new project.

With support from the Project Producer, Assistant Arts Producer (Kickstarter) and visiting guests, the young people worked together to curate an LGBTQIA+ artistic safe space called ‘Home is Where the Art is’.

The event consisted of an exhibition of the young people’s work, a queer cafe, sensory chill space, and sustainable marketplace with materials developed by the young people.


With a number of the young people identifying as queer, they each developed a unique artistic response to the theme of identity.

Queer Cafe

Identifying a need for there to be more safe spaces for queer young people in the area, the group decided to create a Cottagecore themed cafe space within the Cornerstone Building.

Sensory Space

Wanting to support those with mental health issues, the group decided to create a sensory space with wireless headsets playing calming soundscapes, mood lighting and sensory toys.


With many of the group being passionate about the environment and sustainability, they decided to develop a small marketplace with reprinted T-shirts from charity shops and small prints of their work.

The event ran on Sunday the 3rd of April 2022 at the Cornerstone Building, Lancaster.

Change in a Box v2

Change in a Box is an active citizenship arts project for young people aged 14-18. It includes a magazine of inspiring stories from history, creative challenges, and advice for making a difference in local communities.

In 2020 Theatre in the Rough were a year one commission recipient, developing Change in a Box V1 for 500 young people across the District. In 2021/22, £1,000 was allocated towards phase two of the initiative, with them seeking and being successful in receiving Arts Council England Funding.

Many young people care about “making the world better” (88%, iWill survey). Still, real, or perceived barriers have produced a downward trend of young people engaging in meaningful community activities. Barriers include lack of opportunity/knowledge & fear of making mistakes. Change in a Box uses art to remove these barriers, empowering participants to speak out & get creative.

Each kit contains printed materials, trinkets & craft-based challenges. The crafts offer joy & a means of connection. They can be displayed online, in windows or act as helpful conversation starters. Meanwhile, an accessible magazine helps learners understand their place in the world & engage with their community.

This project built upon past success to reach 1.5k young people in Lancaster. The aim: provide kits to every Year 9 student in the city & increase the participatory elements of the project.