A year for youth at Bristol Museums

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

Claire Simmons, Engagement Officer for Young People

It is now exactly a year since I started my post developing a programme for young people aged 16-24 and it’s been a very exciting one! Here are a few of my highlights from the last year.


Natural History Curator Bonnie gives a tour of the store to the youth panel hopefuls

© Alesia Clifford

Bristol Museums Youth Panel application Deadline Sunday 15 January 2017
I’m currently getting ready to recruit 10 young people to be on our first ever youth panel.

A taster day was held on Tuesday 22 November. Over 30 young people attended and took part in store tours by our Geology, World Cultures and Natural History curators– and we talked about what being on the youth panel would involve.

It will officially launch in February, with the first cohort’s programme running until June.

Members of the panel will be involved in decision making within our museums, get to see more from behind the scenes, will run their own young people’s event and can complete an Arts Award qualification. Anyone aged 16-24 can apply.

Autumn 2016

Students filming ‘Coming to Bristol’ film 8th Sense Media and City of Bristol ESOL students
Four young people from Poland, Italy, Romania and the Philippines have been working with Michael Jenkins from 8th Sense Media to make a film about their experiences moving to the UK, and Bristol.

The film will be on display at M Shed from the end of January.

Creative Youth Network – Creative Careers’ performance at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery 
Five young people worked with performing arts tutors from Creative Youth Network to devise a short performance tour around the museum; inspired by it’s winding spaces and art collections.

The young people were not in education, employment or training and were working towards their Bronze Arts Award.

An audience of museum staff and visitors attended, and although not everyone had performed in public before, we were really impressed by their professionalism and confidence, well done guys!

Summer 2016

Action shot of Hype Dance Group performing at the 25 Below exhibition25 Below – Summer Programme
In August we held a huge three week programme of creative workshops, museum tours, exhibitions and a performance evening at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

Over 100 young people got involved, and developed an exhibition inspired by the museum collections, including digital video, soundscapes, ‘zines, paper sculpture and creative writing.

We collaborated with many partner organisations and artists, including Rife Magazine, Creative Youth Network, Young Bristol, Knowle West Media Centre, Rising Arts Agency, Bristol Plays Music, spoken word artist Solomon OB, author Rachel Carter, Hype dance group, musicians Stay Hungry and presenters from Ujima FM.

Spring / Summer 2016

Culture Vultures Radio Project with Ujima FM
The culture vultures team in the Ujima fm studio learning about radio productionIn collaboration with Ujima FM, we helped train young people in radio production skills as they created six radio shows highlighting the best of Bristol’s cultural offerings.

The young journalists attended and reported on our Death Fair in February, interviewed curator Lisa Graves about our death: the human experience exhibition; discovered a new passion for wildlife and art when covering Wildlife Photographer of the Year; and channelled their inner art critic with exclusive access to the Art from Elsewhere exhibition.

The volunteers on the working exhibits at M Shed gave the reporters full access to the cranes, the John King and the Pyronaut (with a water canon demo, of course). The project finale was a nail biting live broadcast at The Story of Children’s TV exhibition family fun day.

They were all working towards achieving silver and bronze arts awards, which were presented at the 25 Below evening event in August.

Claire at the 25 Below exhibition

Claire in the 25 Below exhibition © Samantha Gilraine

Many of the group have now gone on to create their own spin-off show on Ujima, still covering museum related content, recently reporting from Black History Month events at M Shed.

You can access highlights of the Culture Vultures shows online.

If you would like to get involved with our Young People programme or would like any further information, please contact us.


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