Category Archives: Subjects

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: SCO VIBE

Background to the project

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is one of Scotland’s National Performing Arts Companies. The orchestra performs regularly in Scotland and overseas. In addition to this performing role, the SCO have an education programme. SCO Connect works to provide opportunities for schools, families, communities, and young people to engage with music. The SCO VIBE project is delivered by SCO Connect.

SCO VIBE is a new music opportunity which has been developed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in partnership with Edinburgh City Council. VIBE offers the opportunity for young people with some musical ability to come together in the holidays and work with professional musicians and tutors to write and perform music.

Vibe fusion band is aimed at young people who would not traditionally engage with the work of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra or the ensembles currently being offered by the Edinburgh City Council.

Recruitment for VIBE was focused on areas of multiple deprivation. SCO worked with schools, music teachers, and the City Council’s community education department to ensure that the programme targeted young people who may not otherwise have taken part in this type of activity. To increase the pool of young people coming forward, workshops were organised in schools in some of the more deprived areas to encourage participation of the target groups.

Purpose of the project

The project was designed to offer music development opportunities for young people, particularly young people who may not otherwise take part in this type of music activity (orchestral music). VIBE was also designed to be open to a broader spectrum of young musicians than other music programmes. The band includes non-orchestral instruments (guitars, voice, drums), and teaches music aurally, so there is no requirement for young people to be able to read music. This opens up participation to more ability ranges and types of instrument. Young people not only learn to play in ensembles, but also compose the music that they play

The project also provides opportunities for some of the more advanced participants to develop their skills in composition through an additional weekend workshop. These young people then support the younger members in composition.

The programme also offers volunteering opportunities for music students from Napier University and Edinburgh College. Students who take part as volunteers support the instrument groups within workshop sessions, and gain skills and experience in delivering music support at this level. The volunteers also benefit from working alongside professional musicians from Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Edinburgh city Council Music Service, learning new skills in teaching but also broadening their knowledge about possible career paths in the industry.

Project delivery

Three VIBE projects have taken place to date. Two were delivered in week-long programmes during school holiday periods – in April and July 2013. A third project took place over two consecutive weekends in October 2013. A future programme is being planned for early 2014.

While some participants are new to each event, others have attended each project.

Outcomes for young people

Young people participating in the summer programme reported having learned new techniques in playing by ear, improvising, and composing music with others.

“playing by ear – I was already trying to do that, but this has really forced me to practice. I’m so much better now”

“being able to listen to what’s happening, and adapt what you’re doing.”

Young participants in the SCO VIBE reported significant increases in their confidence in playing music. The setting, of composing and playing with other young people and adults in a mixed ability ensemble had given some the confidence to play more freely:

“I used to be really nervous of doing my own fills (drummer) – this is the first time I’ve really got into it and just gone ahead and done them”

There had also been an impact on young people’s more general musical ability:

“last time I came, I couldn’t do a flutter tongue. After the week, I could. You learn here just from being around other players, you learn from the air.”

“It’s really helping me with Higher music – lots of the terms I’ve been trying to learn, you just pick them up here, everyone is using them”.

Finally, although many of the participants are involved in learning music outside the band (for example a number are studying music at school at Higher and Advanced Higher level) they felt that being involved in SCO VIBE had been valuable experience of a kind which wasn’t offered elsewhere. It had added to their enjoyment and their understanding of music.

“It does feel professional here. This is how people come up with music when they’re in a real band.”

“It’s allowed me to play a lot more music”

“I want to play a lot more. Maybe join more ensembles or bands – it’s reminded me that music is fun and not just what we do for Higher.”

“This is a lot free-er than what we do for the Higher / advanced Higher”

Outcomes for young professionals

SCO VIBE also offers volunteering places for music students and graduates. The placements offer an opportunity for young and emerging professionals to work in a community education setting and experience a different way of teaching and supporting young musicians. The SCO also hope that there might be professional benefits for young musicians in making connections with other music professionals already working in their fields of interest.

Volunteers were motivated to get involved with SCO Vibe as it offered a unique learning opportunity:

“There aren’t any other ensembles of this size, with the variety of instruments and mixed age groups and abilities. I wanted to learn more about how it could work”

Volunteers reported that they had learned more about how to teach music in a different way and had also gained confidence in their own ability to teach and to support young musicians:

“This is a unique opportunity to learn. There aren’t any big ensembles like this anywhere else “

“Working here, helping to keep the group together and working in the right direction – it’s a great feeling to see it working well”

“I’ve really picked up a lot of teaching ideas from this. Different ways to do warm-up exercises, more ways to integrate improvisation into teaching…. This will make me a better teacher.”

“Seeing the growth in the group since Easter – young people moving forward, becoming more confident about taking part in compositions and playing more forcefully  – it’s fantastic”

“Even though I’m one of the youngest workers here, the other adults listen to me and treat me as a professional – that’s been a boost for me.”

The additional benefit for volunteers was that they had made contacts and connections with other musicians and professionals which had built their professional networks.

“I’ve made connections here with people who work at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and people who work in music tuition at Edinburgh city council. It’s been good to develop professional relationships with other musicians.”

“I’ve been chatting to other instrument teachers and finding out about other projects which might offer opportunities for me in Edinburgh – it’s been really useful”

“I’ve made connections here which might help me find work – spoken to people involved in other music projects I could volunteer in, met people who are involved in teaching instruments.”

Cashback investment: £30,000

Reeltime Music – The Young Sound

Expected outcomes:

  • Young people , who would not normally participate or who are considered to be vulnerable or at risk of offending, are engaged in positive activities
  • Young people build their confidence and self-esteem, and develop positive behaviours
  • Young people develop confidence in their skills and develop aspirations for further learning and development.
  • Young people progress into further learning, training and personal development opportunities

Project Description

The Young Sound is a project which provides opportunities for young people to participate in informal music making activities.

Research with young people who had attended Reeltime identified that most of the young people had attended as part of structured short term projects (usually less than 12 weeks).

Young people identified that they wanted longer term engagement with the project and the opportunity to develop their skills and interests.

Reeltime has developed a project which allows for longer term engagement, but in a structured programme which supports learning and progressions. Reeltime has matchfunded Cashback funding with Young Start funding (Big Lottery) and a contribution from UK Steel Enterprise.

The project has three distinct stages

Level 1 – This is a six week programme. Young people get the opportunity to try out different elements of music making/production and find out what they are interested in. Young people must be able to demonstrate a commitment to   the project in order to progress to the next level.

Level 2 – this is nine month period of skills development. Young people get the opportunity to develop their skills in music making, and also music production. Although the format is ‘informal’ young people participate in projects with outputs (for example a radio production, a specific performance) and  specific learning outcomes. The format splits time between ‘learning’ and ‘creating’ and young people are encouraged to take responsibility for the production of their own work and also to work towards performance.

Level 3 – Level 3 is a period of building skills but also about giving back. Young people volunteer in a variety of roles in Reeltime – acting as volunteer workshop assistants, assisting in the studio and in admin roles. They also commit to involvement in a community band which performs at community events in North Lanarkshire. Young people are supported by a volunteer co-ordinator  their progression nd development.

While Reeltime is a music project, the methodology is a youthwork methodology. The focus is in building skills and confidence through music. Young people are rewarded on the basis of their commitment to their personal development (and to the project) – they are not rewarded on the basis of their musical skills.


Young people, who would not normally participate or who are considered to be vulnerable or at risk of offending, are engaged in positive activities

Reeltime has a good network of referral agencies who refer young people who are vulnerable or at risk. Young people access the project through referrals from schools, the Learning Hubs, Social Work and other voluntary sector organisations. Young people can also self- refer.

Young people build their confidence and self-esteem, and develop positive behaviours

B was referred by her social worker. She sustained her engagement at level 1 and has recently ‘progressed’ onto level 2.

“It’s really brilliant here. You can just be yourself. It’s really creative. I’m learning so much – I’m doing guitar and bass. It’s like a school only its brilliant”

Young people develop confidence in their skills and develop aspirations for further learning and development.

A is 17. She had always loved music, and although she has had no formal lessons, had taught herself guitar, bass and drums. However, she had never performed and only ever played on her own at home.

She dropped out of school and first found out about Reeltime through  the Hub (which provides learning opportunities for 16-19 year olds who are NEET in North Lanarkshire).

She attended Reeltime through a Princes Trust course, but dropped out of the programme due to personal problems.

However, she was keen to maintain contact with Reeltime and  asked to come back as part of the Young Sound Project.

She successfully completed stage 1, and is now a stage 2 participant. She has performed with the Young Sound – the first time she has ever performed in public.

Initially , she was only interested in performance, but as a result of attending Reeltime has become interested in music recording and production, and has recently been accepted for a college course in music production.

“ Being at Reeltime hasn’t just helped me get into college, it’s literally changed my life.

I got a reference from Reeltime and I had videos and cds that I could show at my interview. I’m also a lot more confident – not just in my music – now I’ve got confidence to speak to people ad to perform”.

“My mum was really worried when I dropped out of school, but now she’s really proud of me getting into college”

“This time last year, I was sitting on my own in my room – I didn’t have any friends. I’ve met people here that I can talk to about music and exchange ideas.  Since I’ve been here I’ve learned so much new stuff, I’ve performed and I’ve got into college. It has literally changed my life.”

Young people develop confidence in their skills and develop aspirations for further learning and development.

Reeltime’s structured programme offers opportunities for learning and development. Young people who progress into level 3 with Reeltime volunteer as assistant tutors, in the studio and in the administration of the organisation. They also participate in the community band, which performs free at community events. Young people work towards Saltire Awards to recognise their volunteering input.

M dropped out of school, had very low confidence and was socially isolated.

She came into contact with Reeltime when she was attending the Hub (which provides learning opportunities for 16-19 year olds who are NEET in north Lanarkshire) and although she didn’t have much experience in music, she enjoyed participating in Reeltime, and developed some confidence and some an interest in music making..

Through her involvement in the Hub, she was successful in finding a job, but continued her involvement in music making through another project in a voluntary capacity and as a result, re-engaged with Reeltime.

After participating  in Reeltime for a second time, and further building her confidence and her music skills, M then started volunteering with Reeltime .

She has been supported to develop her skills as a volunteer and now acts as a volunteer tutor to younger participants and also provides volunteer admin support to the organisation. She also plays in the community band. She also has another band in which she plays.

As a result of working directly with young people in her volunteer capacity, M has decided to she wants to be a youth Worker and has applied for college to study for a youth work qualification.

“Being at Reeltime has made a huge difference in my confidence. I used to sit at home in my bedroom, night after night. Now I’m never in. I’ve got friends here I’ve learned three instruments, I’ve got a band and I play in the community band. “

Award £24,840 (total project cost £44,740, levered funding 19,900)

Kibble Education and Care Centre – Moviemaker Project

Expected outcomes:

  • Young people , who would not normally participate or who are considered to be vulnerable or at risk of offending, are engaged in positive activities
  • Young people build their confidence and self-esteem, and develop positive behaviours
  • Young people develop confidence in their skills and develop aspirations for further learning and development.

Project Description

The project is aimed to engage young people who are in care at Kibble Education and Care in a film–making project.

The young people worked with a range of creative artists and staff from the Royal Conservatoire to develop a film script which reflected their experiences of being in care. All young people were involved in this stage, then had the opportunity to choose which element of film making they wanted to be involved in (music, camera, on screen, editing etc). Professional staff  were brought in to support each stage of the film, but young people were given freedom and encouraged to take responsibility for the finished product.
Through the project, young people also visited the Royal Conservatoire, and a  group also visited the Royal Ballet. This was a ‘first time’ experience for all of the young people, many of whom have had no opportunity to experience the arts or cultural organisations.


Young people, who would not normally participate or who are considered to be vulnerable or at risk of offending, are engaged in positive activities

16 young people participated in the project.  All of the young people are in care –  some are residential pupils at Kibble, some attend Kibble day school and one was a  care leaver (who had been residential pupil at Kibble and now lives in supported accommodation).

Many of the young people who attend Kibble display a range of challenging behaviours, including aggressive and self-harming behaviours. Many have a history of offending and are at risk of re-offending. This often means that they lack motivation, have low self-esteem or poor social skills, making them reluctant to take part in activities of this nature.

The Creative Arts Development Officer at Kibble recruited young people to the project. He targeted young people who had shown some interest in drama or young people who he though would particularly benefit from the experience.

The movie-making project ran over a 16 week period  and was delivered in evenings at weekends, providing opportunities for young people to engage in an ‘out of hours’ activity. All young people participated voluntarily and had to make a commitment to participation. For those who are residential, the project provided a positive and stimulating activity to do  ‘out of hours’ , but in some cases the commitment meant that young people had to give up weekend home visits to participate, other choose to forgo other activities with their friends to participate.

For those who live at home, they had to make  the commitment to staying behind after ‘school’ to participate and coming along at weekends to participate.

As a result the project has been successful in engaging young people who otherwise would not engage in arts activities, but also in providing the activity at times which have potentially diverted young people from anti-social behaviours

Young people build their confidence and self-esteem, and develop positive behaviours

Staff identified that all of the young people were very proud of their achievement but that for some young people, the project had had a profound effect. Although many of the young people have behavioural issues, there was evidence that participation in the project provided a focus for positive behaviours:

  • · Young people choosing to stay behind after school to participate
  • · Young people staying focused for a whole day of filming (many do not ‘stick‘ at anything)
  • · Some young people (many of whom do not have positive relationships with adults) developing enough confidence and trust to build relationships with the drama staff
  • · Young people making the decision to film very early on a Saturday morning to get the best light , even although that meant getting up really early to do so
  • · Young people resolving conflicts –  in situation which would normally result in argument , fights or young people absconding, young people were seen to resolve conflict in order to continue with the project

Young people develop confidence in their skills and develop aspirations for further learning and development.

As a result of the project, one young person has joined a local drama group in Paisley (PACE) and one young person has joined a drama group in Kibble.

2 young people applied to college (one for music and one for drama). While this outcome is not wholly attributable to the project, the project provided the young people with the purpose and focus to apply, and provided them with valuable experience for their auditions.

Case study

X is 16 years old and had been in care for many years. She is vulnerable and has history of offending and has spent some of her time in care in  secure units. She dropped out of formal education at age 14.

K is in residential care and got involved in the project  to give her ‘something to do in the evenings’ . She had done a bit of drama in the past, and had enjoyed it but had never followed it through.

K ended up playing  the lead role in the film and showed incredible commitment to the project. As a result of the project, she has had to make decisions and take responsibility for herself in a way that is often difficult for her. She committed to turning up in the evening  and at weekends – some weekends, she had to cancel home visits because of filming commitments.

She also had to learn to deal with disagreements with other participants.  Her usual pattern is to ‘storm out’ of any situation where she finds herself in conflict or faced with a problem, but during the project  resolved a conflict with another participant which would have led to one or both of them ‘walking away ‘ from the project.

K reports that her focus has come from the fact that she has found something that she values and wants to do

“This is the first time that I really wanted to do something “

“ If I hadn’t been doing this, I’d be out doing crazy stuff, getting into trouble, getting drunk…….”

As a result  of the project, K decided to apply to college to study drama.

K’s key worker reported that this was the first time in her life that she had achieved something (she has no formal qualifications).  The project had been ‘great for her, providing her with a focus– in the past she would last about 20 minutes in a lass then she’d walk out –  and helping her to consider her behaviours.

“We’ve been using the project as an opportunity to get her to focus on her behaviours. She has found something she likes and she’s good at, and that has provided a focus for her. (Previously, she was very chaotic).  She’s been practicing for her college audition and has started to plan – for example planning not to go out on Friday nights when she had filming on a Saturday morning.”

Voice Of My Own (VOMO)

Background to the project

Voice Of My Own (VOMO) is a film-making youth project which works to empower young people in the Borders to make high quality films about issues that are relevant to them.

Purpose of the project

The Filmlink project has two elements:

Access and participation:

  • six local youth groups will be supported to write, develop, and create a short film which will form part of a larger single film.

Learning and progression:

  • four young people, who have an interest and some previous experience in film making (usually as participants of previous VOMO projects), will be employed by VOMO as trainee producers to support the development of the above films. The trainee producers will learn from the professional staff, but also get real work experience which will build their CVs and support their aspirations to work in the film industry.

Project delivery

VOMO identified groups of young people in six locations across the Borders. Workshops were held with each group to develop a concept and script for each groups contribution to the film.

Filming has taken place throughout the summer in locations across the Borders. The final feature-length film will be screened late in 2013.

The trainee producers have each taken a role in supporting one or more youth groups to develop their film. They have also worked as assistants on all film shoots, supporting the production of the film. They are learning through supporting the young people, but also by working alongside industry professionals in the making of the film.

Outcomes for young people

  • Access and participation

The work with youth groups has provided opportunities for young people from rural areas of the Borders to access and participate in high quality in film projects. This project provides new opportunities for participation in areas with a dearth of activities for young people, but also provides opportunities for young people to learn new skills, to develop confidence and their creativity.

Some participants had previous experience of drama and theatre projects, but recognised that they had learned new skills in acting for film.

“It takes patience to get it right.”

“This is a chance to do more acting, in a different way.”

“I’ll maybe do both, film and drama.”

“It’s a bit less pressure, filming, than being on stage.”

Young people also reported that they had learned about the various roles available in film-making.

“Filming is so much better for people who don’t want to be on stage – there’s so much more you can do behind the scenes in a film.”

Some had changed their career goals as a result of taking part in the film-making programme:

“you don’t have to do everything, but there’s lots of interesting things you can do in film that I didn’t know about.”

“After next year, I want to do a college course in film making.”

Some participants also reported that they had learned more about the technical aspects of working in film:

“I’ve learned how to work in film. I’ve learned how to use the camera, how to use the equipment. I’ve definitely come away with lots of new knowledge.”

One young person taking part in the project has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. The young people worked to identify a role in the film which he could play, allowing him to take part fully in the project.

“This is a great opportunity for X, a chance to take part in something which is accessible for him. The script has been adapted to allow him to have a full part.”

Outcomes for the trainee producers

Learning and progression

Each of the young persons selected to be trainee producers were identified as having skills and potential, but were also recognised as requiring some additional support to enable them to move into the film-industry.

The trainee producers have received a wealth of support and have developed their skills, in film making and but have developed their employability skills.

The trainee producer role includes supporting the larger youth groups to create their films. This has been quite challenging, as the producers are required to take control of a group of young people and ensure that the group work towards the completion of their film. As a result, they have gained confidence and self–esteem.

“I’m much more confident now. I can speak to a group of young people. I’d never have been able to do that before”

“I’ve got better at speaking up and joining in the discussions when we plan what we’re going to do”

The trainee producers are responsible for the administration of the film projects, which involves arranging permission to film, liaising with local groups and business owners. This has increased their planning skills and their communication skills.

“I had never done anything like that before. I was quite nervous about calling people, and tried to put it off when I could – but after you do it a few times, you can just do it”

Staff also reported that the trainee producers had developed better self-management (timer-keeping, planning, time-management etc.’

“One has got much better at managing her own day – turning up on time, eating at mealtimes to make sure she doesn’t ‘slump’ – she’s learned how to do that on her own.”

Finally, the producers had also significantly improved their technical skills in working with cameras, sound equipment, and editing software:

“I’ve learned so much about different aspects of film making, that you need to do it over and over again”

“I’m finding that I know how to use all of the equipment now, and I didn’t before”

“I’m getting better at doing stuff automatically. I suddenly realise that I’ve been adjusting the settings for the best image, without even thinking about it.”

The work experience also helped the trainees to develop new ideas about what they would like to do next. In some cases, the real-life experience of working with VOMO staff members had helped them to identify the specific areas they found interesting about film:

“I was always interested in the technology. That’s what made me apply for this opportunity. But now I’m really thinking about doing an audio technician course at college – and VOMO has helped me get there.”

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But it’s been really interesting, seeing the kind of options that there are. Working with adult film makers”

The producers were all young people with little or no work experience. Being employed by VOMO has given them a chance to build their cv and work history, demonstrating to future employers that they have experience of working full time. All the trainee producers felt that they had improved their employability through being a trainee producer.
Cashback investment: £29,540

Eden Court with Cameron Youth Centre – Dance Music Video

Background to the project

Eden Court delivers a range of creative arts activities for young people across the Highlands through its Cashback funding. Eden Court works in partnership with youth organisations to enable them to engage with young people from across the vast Highland area.

This project was delivered in partnership with the Cameron Youth Centre.

Purpose of the project: Access and participation

The purpose of the project was to provide access opportunities for young people who otherwise would not participate in arts activities.

Project delivery

Eden Court worked with Cameron Youth Centre on two projects:

  • Initially Eden Court delivered a programme of activities leading to a dance music video in late autumn 2012
  • 6 week sessions with dance, music and film where the young people made a film.

The project introduced the young people to all aspects of film-making through taster sessions. The tasters were useful as many of the young people had pre-conceptions about different roles (e.g. some of the boys were scornful of the drama element, but later got involved in things that they had originally dismissed). Young people then decided which element they wanted to be involved in and worked in teams on the different elements of the film.

The group produced a film which was screened at Eden Court.

Outcomes for young people

This project displays a very high level of additionality – the majority of the young people who attended had not had any previous involvement in arts activities.

The project also provided opportunities for sustained engagement – three of the young people on the original dance /music video project progressed onto the second project.

The young people learned lots of new skills: camera skills, editing, creating scripts for film, and some were also involved in music production. Participants also gained in confidence from the experience.

“most of them had never had the opportunity to touch that kind of equipment”

At the end of the project, participants were invited to a screening of their film at Eden Court. This was a positive experience, both in terms of validating their achievement, but also widening access for young people, as “a lot of the kids at this school don’t have the money to go to Eden Court normally”.

What has happened as a result

The success of the project has resulted in the development of sustainable arts activities for young people at the Cameron Centre. The Centre has now employed the Eden Court dance instructor (on a sessional basis) to run a weekly dance class to the end of the year. They are hoping to provide on-going activities for the existing group but also to attract different groups of young people to come to these activities.

The Centre is also applying for funding to develop an active youth club – doing dance, film, music, drama.

The project has also built an interest and demand for creative activity among the young people (most of whom attend Inverness Academy.) Previously, there was no dance or drama club at the school, but as a result of the success of the music/dance/video projects the Cameron Centre has persuaded the school to enter the Rock Challenge. Many of the young people from the project became part of the core of the Rock Challenge group.

The Rock Challenge® is a performing arts competition for secondary schools. The focus of this friendly and vibrant competition is on young people leading healthy lifestyles and being their best without the need for tobacco, alcohol and illegal substances.

The centre has used the interest in arts activity which was demonstrated by this project to persuade the school to enter the Rock Challenge for the first time (Inverness Academy will perform in the Rock Challenge in February 2014 at Eden Court).

The intention is that the development of the Rock Challenge will encourage more arts activity in the school in general – dance and video.

“all of that has come about as a result of letting the kids see how good dance / film / music can be”.

Cashback investment: Eden Court £50,000 (this is only one of the many projects delivered by Eden Court)

Eden Court with Outfit Moray – outdoor learning and filmmaking

Background to the project

Eden Court delivers a range of creative arts activities for young people across the Highlands through its Cashback funding. Eden Court works in partnership with youth organisations to enable them to engage with young people from across the vast Highland area.

This project was delivered in partnership with Outfit Moray, an award winning outdoor education charity based in Lossiemouth. Outfit Moray works with schools, youth agencies and youth groups (and works predominantly with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people) to develop the potential of young people through outdoor education.

Purpose of the project

The project aimed to provide opportunities for young people, who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity, to participate in a unique programme of exciting outdoor activities and film –making.

Access and participation:

  • provide opportunities to young people who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to participate;
  • develop confidence and team work skills through outdoor education;
  • develop new skills (both in outdoor skills plus filmmaking).

Project delivery

Outfit Moray worked in partnership with two Youth Cafes; one in Elgin and one in Cullen. The Youth Café’s identified young people who will benefit from the opportunity, and provided transport to the activities (as many of the young people in more remote areas are excluded from participation through the distance/cost and inaccessibility by public transport).

Young people spent two days carrying out exciting outdoor activities – kayaking, surfing, abseiling, climbing with experienced instructors from Outfit Moray. They filmed their activities using helmet-mounted cameras.

The final day of the course involved film-making – each young person learned how to make a film and music track to their film. This element of the programme was delivered by Eden Court’s digital media and music production staff.

The final element of the programme was a showcase event at Eden Court. The young people’s films were shown at a special screening at Eden Court cinema, to which family and friends were invited.

Outcomes for young people

The programme aimed to engage young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to participate in arts activity.

Most of the young people (who had been engaged in the programme through their local youth cafés) commented that they had done some outdoor activities in the past, but that the combination of outdoor activities and film-making had attracted them. Most had no previous experience of film-making.

Young people reported that they had enjoyed the programme, and that they had learned new skills and built their confidence.

Comments from parents highlight also highlight the impact on building the confidence of young people.

“Huge thanks for the amazing opportunity for X to work with Eden court and yourselves she absolutely just loved it, all this outdoor stuff has given her such a confidence boost as she was such a shy wee girl last year, it’s great to see her feel comfortable with others and socialise more easily now.”

A youth worker from Cullen Youth Café reported that one young person who had taken part in the programme had very low self-esteem. However, through the programme, he found that he really excelled at the film-making element, and this had boosted his confidence and inspired him to get involved in another film-making project.

Making a film of their achievements had obviously added to participants pride and self-esteem:

“I’ve done outdoors stuff before, but I hadn’t done filming – to be able to film what you are doing was pretty cool. When people ask what I’ve done over the summer, I can show them.”

One boy had shared the film with friends on twitter.

The showcase is an important element of many of the Creative projects. The young people have the opportunity to ‘showcase’ their work and report a sense of achievement and pride in so doing.

One young person commented

“I’ve been to Eden Court before, but never to see my own film. I’m quite nervous about that.”

For the staff at Outfit Moray

“The screening of the films at Eden Court was really successful – it really gave young people an opportunity to reflect on their achievements, but also to share their success with their parents/carers.”

“It’s also a great opportunity to introduce the young people to Eden Court which is a great venue – but many of the kids had never been, so it’s opening their eyes to different opportunities and expanding their comfort zones too.”

Cashback investment: Eden Court £50,000 (this is only one of the many projects delivered by Eden Court)

Screen Education – mentoring and training in film and drama

The pathways

Screen Education trains tutors in its model for developing young people in drama. The model combines learning through watching, understanding and making films. As well as the core tutors, Screen Education have recruited some of the older young people from previous CashBack projects to work as trainee tutors on the projects. These are paid traineeships, not only providing work experience but also paid employment opportunities for young people from areas of deprivation.

Trainee tutors are being mentored throughout the project by Graham Fitzpatrick as part of an Artworks Scotland programme focusing on the development of their individual practice as artists in participatory settings.

4 young people from the previous group have progressed into trainee tutor roles.

Yutsil Martinez

Yutsil participated in the Cashback programme in 2011-12, and was involved in making many of the short films, particularly the Man with No Name, in which he was lead actor.

In 2012/13 Yutsil has returned as a trainee tutor. He is interested in studying film making but for some time could not access college courses because of his immigration status.

However, Yutsil has continued to be very active in film-making. Through links in the industry, Screen Education has found work experience placements for Yutsil– he has had some voluntary and some paid work experience working with a production company making commercial adverts, and has worked on a ‘Scottish Short’.

In September, The Screen Education film, ‘Man with no Name’ was nominated for The Chris Anderson Award for Best Young Filmmaker 2013 (sponsored by the National Youth film Academy). As a result, Yutsil has been awarded an acting scholarship at the National Film Youth Academy in London after picking up Best Actor award at the event.

“The project was really helpful and I gained more confidence in wanting to work in the industry, it was great to work with great professionals in the field such as Graham, Sarah and Steven. Participating in these projects and shoots has allowed me to find more opportunities and meet other filmmakers and professionals. Watching how the team works taught me that you have to be serious about it but at the same time you can have fun doing what you love the most which is filming. Sarah taught me how to keep your forms organised and keep track of budgets by keeping receipts. Graham taught me how to talk closely to an actor rather than shouting across the set at them, also helps them feel comfortable and confident while being filmed. And Steven helped on how to prepare the camera, checking adjustments and settings on the camera, DSLR filmmaking and white balancing, focus pulls and lighting.”

Prison Learning – What’s the Point? Labels, Stigma and Hope

On 11th June the creative writing and drama students from Glenochil Prison Learning Centre hosted a creative conversation as part of College Development Network’s The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas.

This was the culmination of a six week drama/Scottish Studies project in which students explored aspects of labeling and learning in Scotland through drama and writing processes.

The students performed a powerful piece of theatre and then hosted five separate conversations, based on topics of particular relevance to them in an open space format.

The aim of the final creative conversation was to be able to explore a range of crucial questions in a creative and innovative way with a range of participants from within and out-with the prison.

Questions included:

  • Are labels self-fulfilling?
  • When are labels useful, needed or important?
  • Positive learning in prison vs negative/sensationalist labels in the media
  • Is personal growth as important as gaining qualifications in learning?
  • Prisons learning and progression – how to progress on release with an offender label.

Following the event students wrote up their findings and identified areas that could be developed further by themselves, the Learning Centre or other parties.

Who was involved?

The project was delivered by New College Lanarkshire, Glenochil Prison Learning Centre and Scottish Prison Service.

Participants included students: fellow prisoners, prison learning manager, prison psychologist, prison chaplain, offender outcomes manager, lecturers from other prisons, artists, criminal justice researcher and Business Gateway representative.

What core skills were developed?

Students developed questions for the final event through performance, presentation, drama, reflection and writing processes.

The final performance/conversation event required all participants to challenge preconceptions, raise questions and explore potential solutions to problems with open and enquiring minds.

Performers had to be prepared for potential hostility from an audience who may have very different ideas/experiences to their own; they had to develop strategies to facilitate conversations that may include points of view they might disagree with. Likewise, guest participants had to be open to the lived experiences and emotions of the performers as well as to views they may disagree with.

According to participant feedback and learner reflections, the following characteristics were developed:

  • Motivated and ambitious for change for the better, including in their own capabilities
  • Confident in the validity of their own viewpoint
  • Able to apply creative processes to other situations
  • Able to lead and work well with others

What impacts did the project have?

The project has had the following impacts on participants, students and staff:

  • More engaged learners
  • More understanding and support for this kind of work within the prison
  • Expressions of interest in future collaborations across agencies both within and outwith the prison – eg. learners suggested a similar event could be held with trainee social workers
  • Staff learned not to be scared to do new things, to contextualize work appropriately and to ask for support when necessary

An unexpected outcome was that prison staff from other departments engaged positively with the whole project, enhancing processes across the board.

You can contact College Development Network here:

01786  892 000

Breath Cycle – the impact of singing on cystic fibrosis

Scottish Opera and Gartnavel Hospital created Breath Cycle – a music making project with 17 young Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients which saw work being created virtually on-line. The project ran for almost a whole year (May 2013 – January 2014).

The project set out to measure the impact of singing on the lung function of people with CF.  We wanted to take residence at Gartnavel’s respiratory unit and work with their patients and staff to create vocal exercises and songs; solos, duets and little pieces each written especially for, and sung by, people with fragile voices because of their condition.

We wanted to create beautiful music whilst measuring if singing increased lung function and could be used as an alternative to physiotherapy treatment (typically unpopular with patients).

The project had a huge impact on the 17 participating patients, none of whom had any previous experience of opera or performing. The medical staff at the Respiratory Unit and our team of artists were also strongly affected by the project: it was an entirely new experience for them too.

Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence Dr Gareth Williams led the project with our partner, Lead Consultant at the Respiratory Unit, Dr Gordon McGregor. One of Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists Marie Claire Breen devised and delivered all the work in the Unit, with the support of our repetiteur Laura Baxter, and we worked with librettist David Brock who co-conceived and co-created the project with Gareth.

This was the first long term residency Scottish Opera had ever undertaken in a health setting; and moreover, in an acute ward. We were creating work especially for fragile, limited voices – work that was taking us, Scottish Opera, into new areas.

Innovative Thinking

The project was the first of its kind – creating artistic projects with, and for, people with CF.  Previously, projects with people with lung problems such as COPD have been choirs where participants sing along.  In this project, the participants worked with our artists to create their own music. We also used the internet in a new way: to rehearse with the patients (who cannot be in the same room together) and to broadcast their singing.

The project greatly developed the creativity of the participants.  There was a very low interest level in the arts prior to the project and a subsequent low awareness of their own innate creativity or confidence in their creative skills. Breath Cycle also developed the creative practice of all artists and gave them the experience of working in an acute hospital setting.

The participants were encouraged to take a leap of faith into the unknown.  They were encouraged to do this by the medical staff who were well known to them as well as by our artists who visited the Unit regularly.

The vocal exercises were designed to be done regularly: the patients are used to physiotherapy treatment demands but compliance can be very poor.  The one-on-one attention the patients received with the vocal coach meant that their engagement levels remained consistently high.  They were encouraged and nurtured by Scottish Opera’s artists but they were also tested and pushed.  Each of the participants met the high expectations placed upon them.


Medically, the participants benefitted hugely from the project.  Physiotherapists supporting the project noted that participants had increased breath size, more controlled expiration, occasional expectorating after singing as well as improved physical fitness post singing practice.

Lead consultant at Gartnavel’s respiratory unit, Dr MacGregor and his team were greatly encouraged by the psychosocial benefits of the bringing people with CF together.  Usually segregated to prevent cross infection, this project encouraged peer interaction and support.

A more tangible benefit of the project was the increase in lung function as measured in FEV testing; measuring the amount of air a person can force out in one second.  During this project, the participants enjoyed a 13% increase.  Dr MacGregor cites this as one of the best results of the project and cites the project as a whole as an incredibly positive intervention. These medical results are all evidenced through clinical research.

The artistic impact of the project is evidenced in the interviews and qualitative tools used and displayed on the website. The project’s reach is due to be expanded as co-conceiver Dr Gareth Williams has been appointed as Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh to further pursue the work.

All the participants said the project created amongst them, a sense of community.  CF patients must be isolated from each other top prevent cross infection.  We created a project structure which meant that the participants worked together on-line.  This proved to be incredibly successful and participants have maintained this new community post project, supporting each other and enjoying music beyond the life span of the project.

This website hosts all the information about the project as well as songs performed by the participants.

The Big Dance Pledge

The Big Dance Pledge aims to inspire people to dance and to create prominent public performances that reach new audiences and raise the profile of dance in the public consciousness. This case study explains how 2014 guest choreographer Scottish Ballet’s inclusive approach encouraged creative responses from participants for the first time.

On Friday 16 May, more than 67,000 people in 24 countries danced in schools, town squares, sports centres and playgrounds as part of The Big Dance Pledge.

The Pledge aims to inspire new groups to dance, existing groups to try different styles and for everyone to create prominent public performances that reach new audiences and raise the profile of dance in the public consciousness.

Scottish Ballet’s 2014 Pledge Dance

Each year, a different company or choreographer is invited to create a dance for the Big Dance Pledge that is shared with participants through online teaching films. In the year Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games, it was Scottish Ballet’s turn to create a new piece of choreography. Films were released in January; groups learned the piece, some also created responses to it, and then everyone performed it on 16 May 2014.

This was the fifth Big Dance Pledge and 2014 saw the highest levels of Scottish engagement – in particular more public performance events than ever before. The approach taken by Scottish Ballet was inclusive and allowed participants to respond creatively to the choreography for the first time.

Who were the delivery partners?

In Scotland, teachers were trained by Scottish Ballet and YDance, who also delivered workshops for teachers in areas without dance development provision. Other delivery partners included Big Dance, Get Scotland Dancing, Get Scotland Dancing Hubs (x6) and Dance Development Officers. The British Council distributed information internationally.

How were participants encouraged to develop their creativity?

  • The dance contained a wide variety of dance styles requiring participants to be open-minded and try new things outwith their comfort zones.
  • Groups were encouraged to create a choreographic response in their own style and to post a video online.

Through taking part, leaders and dancers became…..

  • Motivated and ambitious for change for the better, including in their own capabilities
  • Confident in the validity of their own viewpoint
  • Able to apply a creative process to other situations
  • Able to lead and work well with others, where appropriate

What impact did the Big Dance Pledge have?

  • Feedback gathered by Get Scotland Dancing shows that many participants were new to dance and felt encouraged to continue with further dance activity.
  • In future years the approach to creating the choreography and film resources will be informed by the successful developments of 2014.
  • Project leaders have learned that more inclusive video resources and a more co-ordinated effort from dance hubs and development officers increases participation.

Further reading