Green Shoots, place and an inspirational centre in Boston

Jo McIntyre reports:

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the cultural offer for young people especially in cities with designated spaces for arts and culture such as the creative quarter of Nottingham. It seems to me that it is becoming increasingly important for organisations within these spaces to engage with young people as some schools are forced to squeeze arts and creative subjects out of the curriculum especially at the upper end of secondary education.

Over the past few years I have been tracking the work of Greenshoots  as they have worked with young people on a range of creative projects. Most recently from their new base The Lofthouse, a former lace making warehouse, in the creative quarter, I have watched how they have worked with young people to devise a performance which focuses on the history of lace making within Nottingham City. I talk a little about how I have theorised the processes and practices I have observed in this short film:

Recently Becky Parry and I went to the Media Education Summit in Boston. Through talking about the work of Greenshoots I was fortunate enough to be given an introduction to Susan Rodgerson who has founded an amazing organization in Boston,  Artists for Humanity. A colleague from Bournemouth University, Michelle Cannon and I were invited to visit.

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The AFH building in Boston.

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Rob, one of the original first students to work with Susan and Free one of the mentors on their way in from a visit to a high school where they have been asked to design some mural work.

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One of the artist mentors sets to work on a former billboard. Imagine the space with 200 easels and 200 teenagers being paid to paint three evenings a week alongside their mentors.


AFH is an inspirational venture and one I have enjoyed talking to Greenshoots about. As I continue to think about how young people in one city in England engages with creative and cultural organisations I am sure I shall return to my notes and photographs from the trip to AFH.

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