There are lots of opportunities to get involved in the creative arts and start building your skills and experience. The examples below include groups, events and projects happening in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire but there will be lots of other activities across the country that you could get involved in – try looking on your local council’s website or ask your teachers, friends and family.
YMCA Digital (based in Nottingham)
A programme delivered by industry professionals and YMCA staff engaging young people aged 13-19 in performing arts opportunities in Nottinghamshire.
Donut Creative Arts Studio (DCAS) (based in Derby)
A youth arts facility delivering open access workshops in music, drama, media and art for 11-19 year olds.
Derby Theatre – Youth Theatre (based in Derby)
Groups for different ages working with professional theatre practitioners to put on an annual show.
QUAD Young Creatives (based in Derby)
A group of young people aged 14-19 who create their own artwork, taking inspiration from QUAD’s exhibitions.
Critics’ Circle – Nottingham Playhouse (based in Nottingham)
Young people aged 14-25 attend press nights and review productions. Members receive tickets for the show, take part in a workshop then write a response, which are posted on the Nottingham Playhouse website.
Young Fashion Designer UK (UK-wide)
Young people submit the work they’ve completed whilst studying textiles design, product design and fashion in a competition with other young people from across the UK.
The Degree Show – University of Derby (based in Derby)
A showcase of contemporary art and design practice from final year students at the university.
Art and Design Degree Show – Nottingham Trent University (based in Nottingham)
Final year students exhibit their creative work in the university’s summer showcase.
Visual Communication/Fine Art
- Carry a sketchbook and create images based on what you see. Use a website like artprompts to generate ideas and keep trying new styles, techniques or types of media. Go back to old prompts and try again – see how your work improves as you do!
- Create an Instagram page for sharing your own work and inspiration. You could visit galleries and museums, look for street art or find inspiration in nature or urban setting.
- Try new media that you haven’t used before – experiment with sculpture using recyclable materials or try your hand at typography. Look out for classes in your local area – even if you prefer to paint, something like cake decorating will teach you new skills that you can carry into your work!
- Spend a day exploring Nottingham using the Art Map – try to tick off as many cultural highlights as you can.
- Play with the settings on your mobile phone to take a wider variety of images, and practise editing using a free app like Snapseed. Challenge yourself to never use a filter on Instagram – make your own instead!
- Try to make ordinary objects beautiful. Experiment with photographing items from around the house in unusual settings, try different angles or shots and play with lighting.
- Photograph a range of subjects – taking photos of people, animals and objects takes a wide range of skills!
- Check ebay and charity shops for different types of camera. See how your style changes from a film camera to a digital one – what skills do you need to develop to increase the quality of your photos using each camera? What is different about the way you shoot?
- Take part in an Instagram photo challenge like #100happydays, #WHP or #365project. Try to think creatively about the challenge and how you can make images that are interesting and different.
Fashion and textiles
- Keep an eye on current trends, but also think about classic style. Fashion comes around in circles, but style never fades.
- Experiment with textures and colours you wouldn’t usually be drawn to – think about the way they complement each other and what you need to do to make them work together. What would a collection look like?
- Even if your main interest is marketing and buying, learn practical skills like making alterations and creating a garment from scratch. Having a base of practical skills will help tune your eye and make you more effective in strategic roles.
- Try to create designs for a range of genders, ages, shapes and styles – think about daytime clothes, evening wear, workwear and even costumes. Really push your creative boundaries out of your comfort zone and think about how you can use your ideas from one design to influence another.
- Redesign costumes for your favourite film and TV characters – how can you show their personalities through the clothes they wear?
Film, TV and Radio
- Start a free online blog using WordPress and review films, TV shows and radio programmes. Set yourself a challenge or a theme to give it a hook – watch the Academy Award Best Picture winner from every year since you were born, or every single Disney film ever made.
- Try to engage in media from a range of different genres and cultures – don’t stick to modern blockbusters or TV sitcoms, seek out things you wouldn’t necessarily see at the cinema or on TV. See if a local cinema has a Japanese film festival or is showing some classic films.
- Create short films or podcasts using a digital camera or smart phone – think about your audience, your theme and what you want to get across. Edit in a free app like iMovie.
- Practise your coding! Playing games is great practice to understand the consumer point of view, but a base knowledge of C++, C# or Java will give you a strong foundation in the technical skills you need to succeed.
- Think about narrative structure and how you would want your game to play out – create storyboards or write short stories to explore your ideas and keep your players on their toes!
- Try to play a range of games, even if you only have access to one console – you can often find second hand games online which will allow you to see the different styles and techniques used to create different genres. If you’ve only ever played combat games, how do you know what a player is looking for in a real-time strategy game?
Music, Performing Arts and Technical Theatre
- Practise, practise, practise! If you’re specialising in a particular instrument (including your voice!) then make sure you practise every day to hone your craft.
- See as many live performances as you can – and don’t just concentrate on the band or the actors. Look at the choices the technical team have made – why have they gone for that staging/set/lighting? How have they ensured everyone can engage in the performance? If you can’t get to any gigs or shows, check out your local cinema to see if they’re broadcasting any live theatre or concerts.
- See if there are any local community groups that you can get involved in outside of school, to meet new people and try out different ways of working.
- Build a bank of audition pieces that are interesting and that a panel won’t have necessarily heard before – they will have seen hundreds of young women singing “On My Own” from Les Miserables and you want to stand out!
Publishing, Literature and Journalism
- Carry a notebook everywhere and make observations about what’s around you. Spend some time sitting in a café or shopping centre and people watch.
- Take part in creative writing challenges like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month).
- Create a blog or Instagram account about something that interests you – it might be food, clothes, sport or make-up. Create reviews of new products or analyse the strategies used by different teams in their sport.