Emerge Festivals

Emerge Festivals provide children and young people with the chance to be creative at the heart of their community.

What is an Emerge festival?

Emerge is an arts festival model which is commissioned and delivered by young people across multiple sites on the same day. We have run Emerge Festivals over the last two years and we have plans to deliver three more Emerge Festival days in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Emerge Festivals are entirely shaped by young people. In 2015 and 2016, Emerge Festivals have been commissioned by 20 young people, its content designed and delivered by over 250 young people with 2500 people involved at Emerge festival events. The two festivals have been performed and delivered at 40 different location across the East Midlands, generating over 1000 tweets.

The film below and this report gives you a flavour of how it worked and what it looked like in 2015 and this report outlines how Emerge worked and what it looked like in 2016, courtesy of our delivery partners, Platform Thirty 1.

Emerge 2015

This took place over one day and used Valentines Day as a provocation for children and young people creating a vibrant variety of performance and art right across the East Midlands.

What is produced at an Emerge Festival?

Emerge is an amazing opportunity for the young people taking part. in 2015/16, over 230 young people secured an Arts Award and in so doing produced work and engaged in content and work generated that included dance, painting, printing, writing, mask masking, sculpting, fashion design, Bollywood dancing, photography, street art, flashmobs, music, theatre, script writing, medieval crafts, carpentry, make up, dcumentatary making, treasure trails, cabaret, comedy, spoken word performance , acoustic live sessions and poetry slams. It introduces and develops young people's skills and craft and it is done within and for their community.

Who takes part in an Emerge Festival?

The range of participants and settings was broad - whole families, children of all ages from pre-school to A-level, children in care, young people not in education, refugees, employment or training. All engaged in public performances, displays or workshops in a variety of setting such as schools, theatres, studios, streets, rooftops, and community radio stations.

EMerge transformed familiar spaces into creative places, turning the attention of the community on to the creativity of its young people. For one day, it turned the place where a young person lives into a space for their energy and creativity to be projected and celebrated.

Emerge 2017-2019

With our funding partners, Spirit of 2012, and delivery partners Arts Connect and UK Young Artists, The Mighty Creatives are planning more Emerge Festivals - bigger, more ambitious festivals which provide children and young people with greater opportunities to develop their skills and for the community to take part in and enjoy.

We have investement to deliver 24 arts festivals over the next three years in the Midlands. We will post more details here soon when we can, but this model will continue to be developed and this work has an exciting future. And we are always looking for new opportunities and places where we could apply the Emerge model and give children and young people the opportunity to lead and produce a festival.


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Clare Janes

Clare is the Relationship Manager for the Emerge Programme.
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