Arts Connect are very excited to be working with our fellow Bridge Organisation The Mighty Creatives on The Emerge Festivals.


What is Emerge?

Emerge will deliver 24 children and young people led arts festivals in 12 Midland locations between 2017 – 2019. These festivals will celebrate the life and work of William Shakespeare, with an emphasis on verbal arts and content will be entirely generated by children and young people who will be directed by a commissioned young artist.

Planning for four of those festivals is already underway.

This exciting, innovative programme is funded by Spirit of 2012, a funding charity endowed by the Big Lottery Fund. The Mighty Creatives are the programme lead organisation working with two partner organisations – Arts Connect and UK Young Artists.

16 Emerge Labs are being set up in a variety of areas in the West and East Midlands. The labs will be hosted in Secondary Schools, arts venues and youth settings.

The areas are:

West Midlands – Cannock Chase, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall

East Midlands – Ashfield, Boston, Mansfield and South Holland


What is an Emerge Lab?

An Emerge Lab is where festivals are developed. It is where ideas are exchanged, a programme is formed and festival content created.

It takes place outside of the school curriculum during evenings and weekends. It is where a young commissioned artist or an artist company and 2 dedicated workers (youth workers, arts workers or teachers) from the Lab forge a working partnership to recruit children and young people from your community (aged from 11 to 25) – to build a festival development team and create original and inspiring content for a festival to take place on or around Shakespeare’s Birthday on 23rd April in 2018 and 2019.

An Emerge Lab host provides two things: first, a vital, well managed, safe space and second, an environment where a dynamic and creative collaboration can be forged. So that between the fellow lab hosts, the commissioned young artist(s) and above all, the young people taking part – a platform and stage is built where creativity can be inspired and fresh new voices heard.


What does an Emerge Festival look like?

An Emerge festival:

  • Engages and inspires young people. Over the 3 year programme 24 young artists or artists companies have been commissioned and over 1000 young people will have participated in the programme and achieved Arts Award Bronze as a minimum.
  • Works with a broad range of participants, ensuring that children and young people with disabilities take part in an integrated programme.
  • Generates diverse content, rooted in Shakespeare and the verbal arts, that is devised, developed and performed by young people with support, curation and Artist Direction from the commissioned young artist or company.
  • Transforms familiar spaces into creative places, turning the attention of the community onto the creativity of its young people.
  • Stimulates confidence and demand in a young people led, locally supported festival model, that provides opportunities in places where they didn’t exist before. We hope to develop a sustainable model, overseen by Cultural Education Partnerships that can be utilised long after this programme has finished.

Find out more here from The Mighty Creatives.