Clarity of Purpose
The main purpose of the Young Musicians for Heritage project was to encourage young adults to develop their own distinctive and creative engagement with their local heritage, mediated through musical and music-technological activities. In 2010 the Department of Contemporary Arts (DCA) at MMU Cheshire in collaboration with a local social enterprise company (Wishing Well), a heritage centre (Crewe Heritage Centre) and Cheshire East Council was successful in applying for a £23,500 grant from the Young Roots Heritage Lottery. The result of this project was the formation of a larger socially cohesive learning community motivated by the subject area of music.
• we have a prospective number of audiences (numbers from our dissemination channels including web, TV, radio, concerts, events, schools) of ca 7,000.00.
• we have direct engagement / been in contact / had workshops with ca 100 individuals
• the project enabled 10 young people to move from a participant role to a leadership role, and an additional 12 students who gained additional employability skills through these placements.
In detail, the project involved:
• over 100 young people (11 to 25 yrs) from Crewe and Manchester
• 4 young people (18 to 25 yrs) have successfully completed Gold Arts Awards, 1 has successfully gained entry into MMU, 2 are preparing for university interviews
• 2 young people (11 to 15 yrs) have successfully completed Bronze Arts Awards
• 12 Contemporary Arts Students involved in the project as mentors
• Activities are supported by research of the academic department. Publications published and in preparation are: a) 3 papers published in 2010/2011 (BOEHM, CLENNON), b) further publications planned in the area of “The history of music halls in Cheshire”, “Impact Measurement of Community Arts Projects” , “The use of music technology and heritage as drivers of community cohesion”
• The project directly engaged with 2 social enterprises (Wishing Well, The Youth Village).
• The project directly engaged with 4 local businesses (Troubadour, Redshift Radio, History Mystery Tours, Crewe Heritage Centre), 2 of which are currently setting up creative apprenticeships to work with our group (Troubadour and Redshift Radio)
• The project worked directly in partnership with 6 schools and colleges from Crewe and Manchester (Monks Coppenhall Primary School, Hungerford Primary School, Wistason Primary School, Loreto College, Xaverian College, Stockport College)
• The project worked directly in partnership with 1 conservatoire (Royal Northern College of Music)
The project is a good example of how application of specific research areas (music technology, creativity, education and interdisciplinarity) can have a large impact in - and benefit to the wider community and thus played a vital part in allowing transformational partnerships to emerge between a University (MMU) and its surrounding communities. We achieved this by helping to create MMU community learning outposts where we were more visible and accessible to the local communities. Learners at different levels were involved in this project, and this allowed different stakeholder and different target audience to benefit in various ways.
Thus measuring impact, as outlined above, is measuring the learning happening at these different levels:
Case Example 1
In linking Wishing Well (Crewe) with The Youth Village (Manchester), we were able to facilitate knowledge exchange between the two communities. Not only did both sets of young people work and perform together through jointly organised gigs in Crewe and Manchester, they were both mentored by DCA students as part of their Gold Arts Awards programmes. This not only promoted community cohesion between communities, as they celebrated the similarities and differences of their urban environments but they were also mentored to higher educational aspirations, as they worked alongside our students who were their peers. The resulting asset was the setting up of a community recording studio in Crewe (Wishing Well) run by the young people who use it. The asset based community engagement outcome was the integration of the community recording studio with our music studio facilities in our department via our Arts Awards student mentorship programme. A paper is currently being written that will be published in a relevant journal, allowing the outcomes to be disseminated in an academic forum.
Another avenue we are exploring presenting is using the emerging methodology of measuring asset based community engagement (ABCE), recording the enhancement of assets within the community, facilitated by the university. From our ABCE perspective, our driver is education:
Case Example 2
The Youth Village is at the heart of a large community regeneration project in Manchester's Hulme area with its restoration of the Hulme Hippodrome to its former glory. The Youth Village planned to regenerate the local area by reinvigorating the provision of community services using the Hippodrome as a community hub, setting up a community learning centre that is arts focussed. In partnership with our department (DCA), and as part of the M4H project specifically, we set up an Arts Awards student mentorship programme, in which our students were able to facilitate young people from Youth Village to prepare for entry to university or cultural apprenticeship programmes.
As outlined above, our model of involving different levels of learners that make up a cohesive “learning community” with an interest-focus around music has allowed a long-term partnership to be established between community and university. The recurrent re-invigoration through the entrances of new students and new young people gives the project on the one hand a never-ending enthusiasm to explore all things music, but on the other hand allows longer learning to be supported through the apprenticeship and Gold Awards Scheme, providing at the same time spontaneity of individuals groups, and sustainability across longer time-scales.
Ten young people from the Manchester and Crewe groups have formed a youth steering group to apply for further Heritage Young Roots funding to further explore the relationship between culture, education and entrepreneurial skills. Five of these young people who were from Crewe were mentored by DCA students so that they could lead their own workshops to attract new young people to their groups.