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Future Leaders at The Whitaker

During 2024, The Whitaker are running a youth project ‘Future Leaders at The Whitaker.

The aim of the project is to create a young person’s network at the museum and art gallery, giving ownership over some museum / gallery activities and providing skills and experiences which will create cultural leaders of the future.

This project is for 11-17 year olds and will take place from June to November. We are looking for around 30-40 young people to take part in the programme. Sessions will be out of school time, during weekends and school holidays.

The time commitment we ask is dependent on which strand you wish to be part of but as a broad guide we’ll ask for around 25 hours commitment for collections activities, 20 hours for audio visual and 12 for artistic practice activities. Participants may want to take part in a single strand or multiple strands. Participation in a particular strand cannot be guaranteed.

This programme will be free to attend but we do ask for a time commitment as outlined above and also to provide feedback on the project.

To register an interest in being part of the project, please send a short paragraph of around 200 words outlining why you want to take part in the programme and how you think it will help you, as well as which activity strand(s) you’d like to be part of.

Please send this to Gemma Outen, Programming and Engagement Coordinator at The Whitaker on Deadline is 19th April.

We want young people in the Rossendale area to have access to high quality, skills-based learning opportunities in the arts and cultural industries. The project will encompass 3 activity strands, collections activity, film programming and workshops around artistic and creative practice. More details on each strand are below:


Young people will attend a half day training session at Lancashire Conservation Studio combining ‘Introduction to Collection Care’ and ‘Packing and Handling Objects’. This skills session will provide attendees with behind the scenes insight into collections and conservation, and provide skills which will help in career development. This will be followed by a reflective research session with our Collections Curator where participants will learn about the collections at The Whitaker and select items for inspiration in creating their own display and exhibition. They will be guided in researching items. Participants will then work in small groups to create a pop-up exhibition which will be on public display in The Whitaker and visible to c.2000 visitors. This will provide skills in conservation, curation, research and installation, all essential skills in a career in heritage and collections.

Audio Visual

Young people will choose two films as part of our film programming as well as influencing our film choices for the remainder of our selections. We hold twice monthly film nights, currently programmed by a small team of staff and volunteers and participants in this strand would attend a selection of these programming meetings to gain insight into and understanding of issues involved in programming including rationale and buy-in, as well as the technical aspects of licensing and screening. They would then select two films to be shown to the general public as part of our film programme, getting hands on experience of programming, necessary for any career in the arts. They would then introduce the film and host the film evening, gaining skills in public speaking.

Artistic Practice

We will facilitate three artistic workshops with young people, focusing on both engaging with the art collections at The Whitaker and understanding art production, as well as developing their own creative skills and practice. This will benefit participants as they deepen their understanding of art in a heritage setting as well as in developing their own skills. The sessions will also encourage peer to peer relationships as attendees work in small groups to create small pieces of work, developing inter-personal skills.

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