Riots spark £5m Tate arts project for the young

  • @MrNickClark

Tate is to spearhead a £5m national arts programme developed in response to last year’s riots, to help young people develop their lives “in a more meaningful way”.

Circuit: A National Youth Network for the Visual Arts aims to reach 80,000 people aged between 15 and 25 with workshops involving established artists, projects and festivals.

The four-year drive has been funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, a grant-making organisation focusing on arts, will be launched in April with a three-day arts festival at Tate Modern.

Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, said: “The catalyst for it was the events of the summer of 2011, when riots in London, Nottingham and elsewhere across the country made us very conscious that institutions, such as the ones represented on the programme, offer young people opportunities that they both need in their lives and can help them develop those lives in a more meaningful way.”

Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller and Bob and Roberta Smith have lent support to the scheme, whose six partners include firstsite in Colchester, the Nottingham Contemporary and Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

Sir Nicholas said: “It’s a programme that recognises we still have a very long way to go in terms of the provision of arts in this country particularly to certain kinds of communities” but hoped it would “spark a long-term transformation in the way young people engage with art”.

The funding marks £200m in grants from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation since it was set up 25 years ago, which include the recent donation to the Roundhouse Studios in Camden.

Sir Nicholas said: “What we are seeing is not an isolated initiative. It’s not borne simply of a wish to take advantage of money available from this remarkable foundation. It is part of a long term integrated programme.”

The Tate has led the charge in making representations to education secretary Michael Gove to include the arts as a core subject in the proposed overhaul of GCSEs.

Sir Nicholas reiterated yesterday: “Arts, design, drama, music should be included within the national curriculum at Key Stage 4.”