Key debate will focus on enabling young people to work in the arts


Leading arts figures will discuss how to get more young people working in the sector.

The City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile, and the Genesis Foundation, which champions the work of young actors, directors, playwrights and musicians, are co-hosting a series of free ‘Cultural Conversations’. These bring together major figures from London’s arts and cultural scene.

Young People and the Arts – Making Space and Opening doors is the fifth discussion in the series and will take place online via Zoom on 26 July from 5pm – 6:30pm. Places can be booked here.

Hosted virtually by Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, at The Mansion House, and chaired by multi award-winning broadcaster Gemma Cairney, the panel includes:

  • Cherry Eckel Artist and Advisory Group member at Boundless Theatre;
  • Neil Griffiths Chief Executive at Arts Emergency;
  • Montana Hall Founder of Run the Check and Trustee at The Photographers Gallery;
  • Renee Odjidja Curator: Youth Programmes at Whitechapel Gallery;
  • Abdul Shayek Artistic Director at Tara Theatre;
  • Lemn Sissay OBE, Poet, Playwright and Broadcaster.

The discussion will examine a wide range of issues, including:

  • The lack of opportunities for young people, in terms of arts education and employment;
  • How accessibility, affordability and attainment gaps have widened further as a result of year-long school closures;
  • Enabling young people, especially those from more diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, to better access the arts both as audience members and a career option;
  • How the arts are benefiting from the participation of young people;
  • What the cultural and business sectors are doing to create sustainable employment.

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The Lord Mayor said: “It is vital we find ways of helping more young people to work in the arts. They have a massive role to play in enabling the sector to flourish again as we emerge from the Covid pandemic.

“It is terrific to see collaborations between culture and commerce playing a pivotal role as the City begins to build back better. We are confident these will bring more opportunities for young people and fuel the creative energy that makes London such an exciting place. 

“We have assembled a great panel for this fifth cultural conversation and we can expect a lively, compelling and thought-provoking discussion with the online audience.”

John Studzinski CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation said: “I am delighted that we are partnering again with the Lord Mayor of the City of London on the fifth Cultural Conversation to shine a bright light on young people and the arts.

“The pandemic has made life challenging for so many young people in the arts which is why we launched our Genesis Kickstart Fund for creative freelancers, who are disproportionately young.

 “This has built on our work at the Genesis Foundation over 20 years supporting emerging and talented artists. Young people are the present but also the future, particularly when it comes to creative use of digital. By investing in young people and their artistic passions, we invest in our cultural and artistic legacy.”

The City of London Corporation is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.

In partnership with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London, the City of London Corporation is leading the development of Culture Mile, the City of London’s new cultural district, between Farringdon and Moorgate, building a world-class hub of creativity, innovation and learning.

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