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  • Writer's pictureMolly O'Donoghue

Your City, Your Culture

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

During the Summer I was given a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with MADE Mcr. They informed me that their youth panel were in the process of coming up with a toolkit for teenagers to encourage them to visit cultural organisations, post lockdown. During their planning, they had come across my work and were wondering if I would like to get involved and help them visualise their manifesto through illustrations.

MADE is a collaboration between culture and education organisations from across Manchester. Their main mission is to bring creative learning to every young person in the area, something that I believe is truly fantastic and important work.

Within MADE is two youth group, I’m grateful to have been chosen to collaborate with their 'Young Influencers' aged 15 to 21. They had been reflecting on their shared anxieties and the re-opening of culture in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, something that I could definitely relate to living in the city centre. Despite enjoying visiting cultural venues, they feared feeling like 'imposters' in elitest environments. As they explored their fears and spoke to different partners from MADE, they realised that these spaces were for everyone, including them.

Emboldened, the group came up with a 7 point call to action! After they did this I had the pleasure of meeting up with some of the members at Z-Arts (an Arts and creative hub for young people in Hulme) to put on a creative workshop so they could explore their thoughts and aims for the ‘manifesto’ and how they wanted their work to be portrayed.

As we went through each point, I was overwhelmed by their creativity and unique take on the project. We discussed everything from race to gender and how they are being ignored in some of these archaic structures. Using their own personal experiences I was able to get a much better understanding of where each idea came from and why it was important for it to be included in the final outcome. Coming away from the workshop I was so inspired and excited to get going, It was so interesting to hear how art spaces are being perceived by the young adults in the forum and how simple changes to be more inclusive could mean the world of difference to someone's experience.

notes from a workshop
Final thoughts from the workshop

I took my time to plan and illustrate the final pieces, remember to keep the member's ideas at the forefront but add my own artistic flare that had drawn them to me in the first place. Making sure to include bright colours, inclusive groups of people and striking memorable images that were coherent with what they wanted to say. After finishing the 7 call-to-action we had the pleasure of it being shown at The Whitworth, the perfect location for the work to be shown and shared. I loved the aspect of collaboration with this project and wouldn't have been able to express the ideas without the help of the young people and their experience.

Teaching resources can be found here and if you live in Manchester pop to

The Whitworth to see it in real life!

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