21 Dec 2020

Tags: Community

Young people in Reading are really making the most of lockdown and finding ways to get their voices and experiences out there online! At Reading Museum we have been lucky enough to work with some of the Young Ambassadors at No5 Young People to create crafty challenges for youth in Reading.

The Young Ambassadors were aware that young people, just like the rest of us, have had to find ways to connect with others, whilst still doing all the things we did before, from home. The work these young people have done has really inspired us in exploring our creative skills and sharing our hits and misses.

The Background

Throughout lockdown, the Young Ambassadors had already been setting challenges to their peers within No.5 Young People’s service. These took the form of crafts, creative writing and other creative outlets. The challenges were often issued as single word prompts, like ‘time’ or ‘dragon’ and young people within the service could send in their responses to the prompts. We thought this was such a great idea that we actually wanted to offer this opportunity to a wider audience of young people within Reading, so we applied for a small grant, from Reading Culture Live, to support the project and young people in Reading!

Starting the Project

After a successful bid in May, Reading Museum began working with No.5 Young People to create a series of videos setting challenges for Reading youth. More specifically, we worked with the Young Ambassadors from No.5 Young People. These young people, who having worked with the service for a long time, now use their experience to act as advocates for No.5.

We were very lucky to have two creative organisations jump on board in the planning of this project: Cast Iron Theatre and Real Time.

Plant parent
Becoming a plant parent

Making the videos

Starting in September, Cast Iron Theatre delivered training in script writing and performing for camera. It was absolutely invaluable (and flexible) taking place over Zoom. This really helped the Young Ambassadors make decisions about what kinds of challenges they wanted to set and how they wanted to present them. They were asked if they wanted to create characters and scenarios or if it was a more straightforward ‘how to’ presentation. Once they knew how they wanted their video to come across they were able to start thinking about the script and the order of the final video.

It was amazing to see the Young Ambassadors grow more confident in their ideas, start developing them and making changes as the footage started to take shape.

In October, Real Time worked with the footage the Young Ambassadors took, giving advice on recording film and sound, and working the raw footage into the vision the young people had for their work.

The challenges include being a plant parent, making a zine (small home-made magazines that share ideas – these became popular in the 70s and 80s for supporting grassroots political movements) or creating your own closet cosplay (dressing up as characters from tv and movies using things you can find in your own home)!

Closet cosplay
Closet cosplay

Going live

You can find the completed videos here on Reading Culture Live:

Why don't you try closet cosplay?

Why don't you become a plant parent?

Why don't you make a zine?

We would love it if you could share anything you make in response to these challenges. Tag us and No 5 Young People on social media!

We are very impressed by the work created by the Young Ambassadors. They, like their peers, have to deal with the pressures of school-work, university exams and the stress of lockdown. They found the time to attend the workshops, film videos, take photos, re-record videos and finally review rough cuts for the final edits. They put in a lot of work in a short space of time and we are very impressed by the outcome.

We are sure that you will be too!

Make a zine
Making zines

Mental Health and Well-being

No.5 Young People is an incredibly important service within Reading. They aim to provide early intervention services to prevent the development of more serious problems caused by mental or physical ill health or other challenging circumstances, by providing support and advice (in particular, but not exclusively, by providing professional counselling services), to children and young people and their families regardless of difference, background or identity who live, work or study in Reading and the surrounding area.

Please see the No.5 website to find out more about their services.