New Cultural Citizens Programme launched

New Cultural Citizens Programme launched

Picture of Katherine Stapley-Smith

BY: Katherine Stapley-Smith
05 Dec 2016

On the blog this week, find out how Arts Award is being embedded into the new Cultural Citizens Programme by three pilot areas giving 600 young people increased access to the arts and culture.

Arts Award QES 023What is it?

Announced back in August by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Cultural Citizens Programme is one of the key proposals from the Culture White Paper and will target areas in England where there is low cultural engagement. This includes disadvantaged communities where fewer people currently visit museums, galleries or the theatre.

What does it involve?

Young people will be offered a range of cultural activities such as free visits to local plays, behind the scenes access to museums and galleries and exclusive trips to world class venues – so they can develop a lifelong love of the arts.

Participants in some areas will build new skills, including learning to use social media accounts or being tour guides. All the work that the young people do will be accredited through the Arts Award, so they will finish the programme with a qualification to recognise and accredit their achievements.

Where are the pilot areas?

The programme is being led by Arts Council England and delivered as a pilot by A New Direction (in Barking and Dagenham), Curious Minds (in Liverpool and Blackpool) and Kids in Museums (in Birmingham) with support from Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. If the pilot is successful, it will be rolled out across the country to thousands of young people.

What’s involved in the pilot?

Barking and Dagenham

  • A New Direction will partner with Creative Barking and Dagenham and Studio3Arts – ensuring high quality arts opportunities for pupils across five secondary schools
  • They plan to set up ‘Cultural Citizens Clubs’ in the schools to help students design a programme of cultural visits
  • The pilot will link with ‘Creative Schools’ – a network of 30 arts organisations providing visits and opportunities for the young people participating

Take a look at this film on YouTube - a poem called 'A Strange Kind of Beauty' by Selina Nwulu, Young Poet Laureate for London 2015/16. The poem was commissioned by A New Direction as a response to the challenges young Londoners face in engaging and contributing to the creative and cultural life of their city.

Liverpool and Blackpool

  • Curious Minds will work in partnership with the Local Cultural Education Partnerships to give 200 local young people aged between 11 and 14 from 20 schools, the opportunity to engage with cultural organisations, public art, heritage sites and arts festivals
  • Young people will be supported by specially trained ‘Culture Coaches’ to research, choose and plan a series of cultural experiences for themselves, which will introduce them to what’s already available locally and slightly further afield
  • They will review and share their experiences to work towards achieving a Bronze Arts Award


  • Delivered by Kids in Museums, they will partner with 20 arts organisations across the city – from opera to street theatre, orchestras to high art
  • Known as ‘Cultural Champions’, 200 young people will work with the 20 organisations and take on roles of responsibility such as tour guides, front of house, running social media, designing events programmes and running workshops
  • The Cultural Champions will be given free tickets to three different performances in the city
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