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Youth arts and creativity to be celebrated in virtual festival

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UNCON 3.0 is the third iteration of a biannual festival, designed for and by young people, celebrating the best in youth arts and creativity in Scotland. 

The coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on every aspect of children and young people’s lives, including on art provision, and their opportunities to participate and progress within the arts, screen and creative industries. 

During the virtual UNCON on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 January 2021, partners from across the youth arts sector will share reflections on the challenges of the past year and consider how children’s voices and aspirations can be heard in the recovery process. 

The partner organisations are: Media EducationIntercultural Youth ScotlandCollectiveArts End of Somewhere/PAMISGlasgow Connected Arts NetworkStarcatchersFèis Rois/Highland Youth Arts Hub and CELCIS

The programme will feature a mix of pre-filmed and live performances, presentations and panel discussions, artwork and manifestos created by children and young people.  

Children, young people, policy makers and anyone with an interest in children and young people’s rights are invited to join the conversation. The programme includes live events which are free to access. Full details of the programme and information about how to register is available on the Creative Scotland website

Fiona Dalgetty, Fèis Rois said: “Young people from Fèis Rois and the Highland Youth Arts Hub have taken part in every UNCON to date, and we are excited to participate online this year. Overcoming the challenging move to a digital event, the team at Creative Scotland have put together an ambitious programme and we are excited for the audience to see the video our young people have created.” 

Katie BrennanCollective said: “For this year’s UNCON, we’ve been working in partnership with Edinburgh Young Carers on a postal project, asking young people to reflect on their experiences of lockdown and hopes for the future through mail art. We look forward to UNCON as a space in which the hopes, concerns and priorities of young people from all backgrounds will be heard by organisations and policy makers.” 

Paul Sullivan, CELCIS said “We know the importance of creativity in helping children and young people to develop new skills, express themselves and have fun. COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on every aspect of children and young people’s lives, including their opportunities to access creativity. Our hope for UNCON is that through showcasing the creative skills of a number of talented care experienced young people and projects, we can further highlight the need for creative opportunities to be protected for children and young people all across Scotland.” 

Sarah McadamTime to Shine ManagerCreative Scotland said: “As with so many things, the lead in to this UNCON has felt very different to previous years. We know that the coronavirus will continue to have a significant impact on children and young people’s futures and it’s more important than ever to make sure we are listening to what is important to their lives.  As this UNCON takes place at the beginning of a new decade, we look forward to working with a youth arts sector that meets these challenges head-on and continues to support Scotland’s children and young people to thrive in and through the arts and creativity.” 

UNCON 3.0 is an outcome of Time to Shine – Scotland’s National Youth Arts Strategy

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