Some of London’s most vulnerable young people will benefit from a month-long programme run by the Young Urban Arts Foundation, which aims to reach underserved children and teenagers through the power of music and the arts.
Building on a successful pilot backed by Sony Music UK last year, the Educate To Create programme takes a special bus customised with a multimedia studio to some of London’s estates and offers children a chance to learn about music, lyrics, poetry, art and production.
Following the events of this year and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2020 programme has been expanded to include modules on African cultural awareness, the history of hip-hop and the history of black women in the music industry.
The music education workshops are delivered by Doctored Sound and regular sessions encourage the young people to draw from their own life experiences when creating their lyrics, poetry and art.
The organisation, headed by founder and director Isatta Sheriff, aims to use the creative arts to enhance the quality of life and raise the aspirations of local communities in areas of deprivation through the creative industries. Doctored Sound uses music to address themes relating to that of identity, heritage and community. It is supported by PRS and Arts Council England.
Isatta Sheriff said: “It has been fantastic to see young people engaging with opportunities that will have such an important and lasting impact on their lives. We want to see more and more young people able to nurture their strengths and realise their potential as valued individuals. Working with the YUAF programme and the Sony artists has been a fantastic experience.”
Sony Music and Sony/ATV UK artists and songwriters will visit the estates and share stories of their own careers. BRIT-nominated artist Joy Crookes, ZieZie, JNR Williams and Pa Salieu are among the artists taking part. The weekly workshops are open to eight to 19-year-olds and will take place in estates in Chelsea, Edmonton, White City and Dalston throughout August.
Kerry O’Brien, CEO and Founder of Young Urban Arts Foundation, said: “Educate to Create is a project that I am extremely proud of, which creates a safe space for young people from all colours and cultures to learn about Black culture and history and enables them to express themselves, be seen, be heard and be celebrated.”
Jason Iley, chairman & CEO, Sony Music UK & Ireland, said: “Kerry’s dedication to creating opportunities for the next generation and widening access to the creative industries is a vision we whole-heartedly support. Community organisations such as YUAF are vital to the wellbeing of our country’s young people and we are proud to back a valuable initiative that seeks to educate and inspire.”
Joy Crookes said: “I’m really excited to be involved with the YUAF programme, I believe that these kinds of grass root schemes can have such an impact on changing the landscape and representation within industries as well as engaging the participants with invaluable creative skills.”
Tim Major, Sony/ATV UK co-MD, said: “We are incredibly proud to partner with Kerry and her team at YUAF on such an important cause. Young songwriters and artists from all backgrounds should have equal opportunities to learn and express themselves and Educate to Create provides the resources and support to make this happen.”