Meet the Finalists: Arts & Creativity

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BIG Drama Team - The BIG Project

In the heart of the Broomhouse community, one youth organisation has an incredible impact on youth development and brings the community closer together. Enter stage left, the BIG Drama Team.

Documented through a tapestry of community testimonials and project reports, The BIG Drama Project demonstrates real change in the lives of the young people they support. Young people speak of significant strides in confidence levels, public speaking abilities, and interpersonal skills, attributing their growth to the nurturing environment the project provides. 

Central to the BIG Drama Project’s success is its unwavering commitment to inclusivity and collaboration. Youth workers help to break down social barriers, forging deep connections that defy conventional divides. In this melting pot of creativity, diversity becomes a source of strength, fostering unity and understanding amidst the varied community of Broomhouse.   

Yet, the impact of The BIG Drama Project extends far beyond personal development. It pulses through the very fabric of the community, infusing it with a renewed sense of cultural vibrancy and pride. Public performances serve as rallying points for community engagement, drawing everyone together in celebration of local talent and collective achievement. 

In the script of Broomhouse’s evolution, The BIG Drama Project emerges as a principal player, weaving threads of hope and possibility into the community’s story. It is a testament to the power of youth work in shaping not only individual lives but also the collective spirit of a neighbourhood, igniting sparks of creativity and resilience that illuminate the path toward a brighter, more inclusive future.

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Brass Blast - Oi Musica

Brass Blast raises the roof, bringing together the harmony of music with youth leadership. Since its start in 2016, this exceptional initiative has been fuelled by the dynamic energy and vision of its young participants, offering a gateway to self-discovery through the art of music. 

With a weekly attendance of 80 budding musicians aged 9-to-19, Brass Blast has upped the tempo in the local community. From trumpets to trombones, clarinets to saxophones, and even samba drums, young people can hone their skills under the guidance of dedicated musicians and youth workers. Yet, Brass Blast is more than a music programme, t’s a safe space for personal growth and empowerment. 

At its core, Brass Blast embodies inclusivity and accessibility, challenging stereotypes and opening doors to all who wish to participate. Its crowning achievement came in the form of a commissioned performance at the 2023 Edinburgh International Festival, where Brass Blast young musicians worked in tune with the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland, showcasing original compositions that excited audiences and critics alike. 

By partnering with local schools and nurturing youth leadership, it confronts socioeconomic disparities and removes barriers to participation. Astonishingly, 65% of participants initially had no musical background, yet with Brass Blast’s support, they blossomed into confident performers. The statistics speak volumes: 100% reported improvements in their musical skills, 90% experienced a boost in self-confidence, and an overwhelming 95% took pride in their accomplishments. 

Brass Blast is a springboard for lifelong passions and aspirations. Young players have gone on to join prestigious ensembles, continuing their musical journey and also their journey in education, enriched by the guidance of experienced staff spanning youth work, teaching, and music therapy.

The project illustrates the transformative potential of youth work in enriching lives and building stronger, more vibrant communities through the universal language of music. 

One young person described their experience: “This project has supported me with growing my confidence, my leadership and has given me a real sense of community. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.”  

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Priya Shrikumar, Dance Ihayami International

Priya Shrikumar, the visionary artistic director of Dance Ihayami, is on a mission to break down barriers on step at a time, through the world of Bharatanatyam and youth work.  

At the heart of Priya’s approach lies an inclusive mantra: “if you want to dance, you shall dance.” This ethos forms the cornerstone of her commitment to nurturing young talent from diverse backgrounds. Through her classes, Priya brings determination, patience, and understanding, empowering her young people to celebrate their culture and diversity. 

Beyond the realm of dance, Priya tackles pressing societal issues head-on. She provides a safe haven for young people to express their fears and challenges, addressing themes of racism, bullying, and inequality through the lens of artistic expression. Projects like “Dance in Colour Black and White” serve as powerful vehicles for challenging perceptions and fostering reconciliation through shared experiences. 

Priya’s work extends far beyond the dance studio. With a focus on cultural immersion and artistic exploration, she enables young people to reconnect with their roots and share their heritage with pride. Her efforts have led to performances at prestigious events like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Scottish Parliament, amplifying voices and fostering integration. 

Her current project, inspired by a poem penned by one of her young students, delves into the experience of racism. Focused on teaching coping mechanisms for those facing racism and associated bullying, the project also highlights the impact of these actions on both victims and perpetrators.  

Priya’s work goes beyond just teaching dance. A lot of her students have grown into confident adults because of her. Her story shows how powerful youth work can be in changing lives. 

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