We believe all young people should have the opportunity to benefit from and be inspired by a variety of arts experiences to support their creative development, imagination, self-expression and confidence. Our priority is to make opportunities available to the most disadvantaged schools and youth groups in the North East.

Young persons feedback next to a Paddington Bear book

Creative Journeys was a three-year project (2016 - 2018) working with groups of young people from Newcastle Bridges School, who had a series of complex needs and had often been excluded from other mainstream schools.

The project aimed to enhance and inspired the young people via creative arts, offering a range of experiences to engage young people with the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society buildings history, heritage and contents.

November Club worked with three professional artists to create a safe, welcoming and supportive environment at the Lit & Phil to broaden the pupils’ knowledge, skills and experiences. Creative workshops included photography, book design, sculpture making, exploring the library and writing short poems.

The group also contributed to “The Imaginary Museum of the North” – a three-month public exhibition of some of their work that formed part of the Great Exhibition of the North Inspired By programme and attracted in excess of 16,000 visitors.

“The visits to the Lit & Phil are my favourite time of the week; the young people attend, which is a challenge in itself sometimes, and they engage and get so much out of the sessions and all in such an incredible building. Given the social and economic challenges facing many of the students, weekly access to a cultural treasure such as the Lit & Phil has not only exposed them to a great wealth of creative and cultural capital but has also instilled within many of the young people a renewed sense of regional pride. Standing in the same room where Joseph Swann demonstrated the first light bulb, next to a chair where Oscar Wilde once sat and held court, whilst creating art with dedicated professionals surrounded by hundreds of thousands of volumes of the world's knowledge was an overwhelming experience for many of the young people. One that will not be forgotten any time soon”.
Matthew Hickey, Art Teacher & Pastoral Lead, Newcastle Bridges School 

Young people from Newcastle Bridges School exploring the Lit and Phl The project brought together young people who wouldn’t usually mix, and encouraged engagement and interaction with staff, artists and visitors to the library. Creative arts provided an excellent tool to engage young people with challenges and some of the impacts during the project included:

  • Improvements in attendance
  • Expansion of interests
  • More curious
  • More engaged in extra-curricular activity
  • More independent and confident

"It's been really good coming here. I am really interested in libraries now and will go and see other libraries. I liked doing the art. I hated art at school but doing it here has made me think about it differently"
Participant, Creative Journeys 2017