Teenagers explore artistic side at Youth-Work Week

Ibrahim holding a bag he printed and stitched in the workshop. Pic: Samuel Johnston

Ibrahim holding a bag he printed and stitched in the workshop. Pic: Samuel Johnston

Youngsters from Tower Hamlets enjoyed a fun-filled arts taster event last week as part of the Council’s Youth Work Week, aimed at improving attendance at their weekly arts workshops.

Teenagers were invited to try their hand at a range of activities, including musical performance, production, acting, and some crafty artwork.

Brothers Yamin, 13, and Ibrahim, 17, from Bow were attending the workshops for the first time and noted their pleasant surprise at how much they enjoyed printing and stitching their own bags.

Yamin said: “I learnt a lot, it was very fun and I’d definitely like to come again.” Older brother Ibrahim added: “I haven’t done art in three or four years and didn’t know you could do things like this.”

The Council runs weekly workshops at the Brady Centre, Whitechapel, and its regulars came out in force, providing a great example to newcomers of what can be achieved.

Rebecca, 15, from Bow has been attending the acting workshop for three years. She said: “It’s really fun because I don’t do drama at school. There are only so many options at school for GCSE and I chose music.”

While Rebecca would like to pursue a career in acting, she added: “The skills that I’ve learnt in these sessions, like being able to talk to people and perform, are very useful for lots of things, like getting jobs where you have to do presentations.”

‘Music Space’, the musical branch of the programme, provides various options to attendees. Stevie, 18, from Shoreditch is a singer but on Thursday night was exploring production.

She said: “I’ve realised how passionate I am about music and want to take advantage of my last year being able to attend these sessions – the software we have here isn’t available at my college.”

Jack, Nazim, and Imogen, all aged 17 and Sofia, 14, form the tentatively titled ‘Jack’s Band’, and have been attending the workshop for three months. “There is nowhere else with rehearsal space for free,” said Jack. He added: “The music directors help you with creating music and live performances.”

The event organiser, Geraldine Bone, Youth Arts manager for Tower Hamlets, said: “We are one of very few council-funded youth arts organisations in the country; the council have supported us since 1979.”

She continued: “We believe arts and culture are really important for youngsters’ personal development and their careers. These sessions give them positive experiences that they will associate with the arts and stay with them forever – it’s great when I see someone who used to come here and they tell me they remember doing ‘this’ or ‘that’ with us.”

The sessions continue to run on Thursday evenings at the Brady Centre. See here for more information.

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