Voluntary Arts has set up a new online network to connect creatives who work with children and young people across the UK and Ireland.

We are very proud to collaborate with Miranda Ballin and YANC the Youth Arts Network Cymru at all these sessions.

Please join us on zoom to check in and chat, and support everyone working in this sector.

We are focusing on trying to uplift and support this network by focusing on what inspires us to work with the arts and children and how we can keep inspiring children and young people despite lockdown barriers. We really want this session to give you all the chance to share your challenges and celebrations of working with children and young people at this time. 

#CreativeSpark campaign

Creative Spark campaign

We have recently launched a new project called #CreativeSpark. Creative spark is an initiative we’d like everyone to participate in. All you need to do is revisit, reflect and enjoy your first ever creative spark as a child for the arts and help inspire others by sharing it. Please follow our twitter handles @voluntaryarts @YANCinfo1 and my twitter page @beth_imi to keep up to date with all the latest news.

Your creative spark is your earliest memory of enjoying an art form. Please follow the instructions on the links to record your own creative spark message and please retweet and encourage others to take part.

You are welcome to join our next #CreativeNetwork - Children & Young People session on Monday 29 March at 6pm. We'll discuss about reaching unheard voices & creative spark with guest speaker Bethan Marlow.

Bethan Marlow

Bethan is a writer that has worked extensively with and within communities across Wales on ground-breaking theatre projects that focus on giving voice to unheard people in our society, culminating in large scale site-specific productions (in both Welsh and English). This has included working with the LGBTQ community, residents of social housing estate, prisoners and rural communities in North Wales. 

She is currently working on first feature film, 'Madison' (productions and BFI) and new original tv series ‘THE TRAP’ (Severn Screen, Warner Media 150).

Click on the 'Join' button on our main webpage: https://www.voluntaryarts.org/creativenetwork

Here are some of our previous participants' creative spark 

The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that, amongst other definitions, a spark can be defined as “small flashes of fire or electricity, like a sparking, crackling fire”. This is perhaps the way I can describe my “creative spark”. It feels like something that started as a series of little flickers that have slowly expanded around me as I have grown up and, like a fire catches a small piece of tissue paper, then spreads to the curtains and the walls, until the whole room is ablaze, my creativity has gradually consumed my life.

As a child, I grew up in a house full of books. However, I don’t think it was until I was a little older that I realised the worlds in these books, the domain of dragons, wizards and faraway places had, in fact, originated in someone else’s head. It astounded me that some person, in a different town, perhaps even in a different country or even a different continent had also had a spark, the glimmer of an idea and that had eventually spread throughout their mind, and the minds of others to become a book - wow, what a thought!

Then came the stage. I grew up around drama and at the same time that I started consuming stories, I was also watching them being enacted by people around me. A particular flash of light that jumped around my head, feeding my creative fire, came in the form of a performance with accents.

I distinctly remember watching a group of Welsh actors (people I knew personally) performing a play set in Liverpool. “But Mam… they are Welsh aren’t they” I asked, confused by their convincing Liverpudlian accents. “Yes” my Mother replied “But they are acting”. In that moment, I realised that the world of the real and the unreal could mix and meld, not only when written down on the page, but in real life, in the bodies of real people, in a magical world called the theatre.

I could go on and on with stories like this, because in truth, they still happen all the time, mini creative sparks spread throughout my life on a daily basis. Every time I read a new book, hear an interesting song lyric or watch a thought-provoking film, a new spark will emerge to influence my work. Everything I do is defined by these spark,  flickering away in the larger creative fire that warms my bones.

Stella Miriam Pryce, writer and academic critic.

My CreativeSpark is... by Louise Gordon

Here's what participants in at the February session of the #CreativeNetwork - Children & Young People said...

That was such a pleasure certainly reignited my #CreativeSpark. You have brought so many different people together it’s been amazing! - Miranda Ballin Youth Arts Network Cymru

There was no way I could leave that meeting it was awesome! - Shelley Parry Performing Arts Teacher

Thank you Rhi - you were bloody amazing! So lovely to see what Laura has done!!

That poem!!!! Flipping awesome! - Heidi

It was such a lovely session, thanks for the invite! - Gemma Hicks, Senior Community Engagement Producer Wales Millienium Centre

How to join us 

This sessions are open to everyone so please share with your colleagues.

Each conversation will be recorded could be featured on BBC Radio Wales during Nicola Heywood Thomas' Arts Show. Anyone that speaks will need to complete a BBC release form attached in order for their comments to be offered as content. Please note you don’t have to speak you can use the chat or you can just observe. Some excerpts of previous Creative Network sessions aired on Nicola Heywood Thomas’ BBC Radio Wales Arts in the Open Air show which aired August 28th. Click here to hear it.

A huge thank you to Miranda Ballin Chair of YANC for collaborating with us for these sessions.

Everyone's welcome!