Listen 52

Listen 52 was set up as an arts engagement and youth leadership project co-created with children and young people from across Sheffield at a crucial moment in their lives and a globally significant time. At the heart of the programme was our new Young Producer Intern model, where eight Young Producers gained paid creative career development with our organisation for a six month period.

The project was made possible due to funding from Arts Council England.

Listen 52 Events

Young Producer Internship

During the Listen 52 Young Producer Internship, eight young people aged 16 – 22 met regularly in-person to learn new skills, build their confidence and co-create artwork that was meaningful to them. The programme was designed and delivered over six months, this began with a period of teamwork and confidence building sessions, where we used our Equal Players methodologies to lay the groundwork and establish an equal status between Interns and Artists.

Following on from the initial stage, Young Producer Mentor, Lauren Townsend introduced the group to ‘producing’ and explored the skills and tools needed to produce artwork and events.

The final stage of the internship saw the interns work in small groups to develop, plan and create their own artwork and events as mini residencies, which included a film, an exhibition, a podcast and a series of workshops for younger children.

Mini Residencies

Each group of interns worked with a Chol Artist and a Freelance Artist who specialised in the young people’s chosen area of interest to co-create their final artwork as part of the mini residencies.

Short Film

This residency was based around film production. Our Young Producer Interns began working alongside Artists Peter Martin and Alfie Heffer from Site Gallery to learn and develop the skills needed in creating a short film. Each Young Producer volunteered for a production role to help create the dystopian film, themed around loneliness, survival, trust, hope and fear.

Mental Health Awareness Exhibition

This was an exploration of mental health in young people, looking at young people’s hopes, fears, frustrations and ideas, and gathering responses as to how young people feel right now about current and future issues. It fed into the wider themes of Listen 52, while teaching important skills such as research and promotion of empathy, culminating in an art audio installation piece for people to engage with art/portraits and hear thoughts and feelings in 2052. Young Producer Interns Maia Gaskell and Caitlin Pickering worked with Assistant Artists Jess Hulme (a previous Young Producer) and Chol Artist Ruth Dyer to explore the themes and develop the final exhibition.

The exhibition was displayed over a number of days and locations including Soft Ground in the City Centre and temporary pop-up sites, utilising the Cholavan at Walkley Festival and Site Gallery’s Freshly Squeezed Festival. To view the online version please click on the images below.

Days of Future Past Podcast 

With each episode focusing on a different theme, such as climate crisis, identity, class and education, our hosts, Young Producer Interns Alfie Askam & Mani Latifi responded to questions, comments and provocations from young people across Sheffield to give their own unique perspectives on current events impacting today’s youth. They explored what issues they thought will affect young people in 2052 and what we can do today to prevent these.

Workshops and Performance

Three Young Producer Interns, Evie Kaisi, Lois Adamson and Will Gabbitas worked together to share the skills in co-created they had developed with the younger generation. The designed and delivered workshops using co-creating and collaborative skills and activities to young people ages 7 – 14 over a series of weeks at Walkley Library. The group were able to explore the themes of Listen 52 and re-imagine what 2052 might look like. These workshops culminated in a short performance for parents and friends during Walkley Festival week.

Schools and Colleges and Community Workshops

Throughout the project, we delivered creative workshops in schools and colleges, starting with two residences at Sheffield College, working with Level 3 students on a Theatre in Education module and Level 2 students on a performance based module. The Level 3 students went on to perform and lead workshops in a local school, and the Level 2 students worked with our Lead Artist, Lauren Ash to develop themes of the future as part of their Final Major Project. They continued to build on these themes of the workshops to create their own performance based in the year 2052.

In total we delivered over 70 creative sessions in schools, colleges and community locations across the city as part of this project, engaging more than 750 children and young people. These workshops also worked as research and development to gather what young people of Sheffield are fearful and hopeful for in the future, to inform the creative outputs of the project.

Listen 52 Final Performance

On Saturday 30 July, our fantastic young cast performed Listen 52 at Site Gallery. This was part of the Freshly Squeezed Festival, a two-day festival of live music and workshops. The young people worked together with Chol staff and professional artists to devise and perform the theatre piece. The performance was inspired by the research and development carried out earlier in the year with children and young people across Sheffield.

The performance allowed the young people to share their concerns and fears with a well turned out audience, exploring future issues and topics that they feel we need to take action on today.

Celebration Event

We rounded up Listen 52 with a celebration event on the 23 August, to celebrate all the achievements of the project and premiere the long awaited Short Film created earlier in the programme. Young Producers, Participants, Assistant Artists, previous Young Producers and Project Artists came together to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the project.

Tribute to Trevor

We would like to take this opportunity to pay our respects and celebrate the life of Trevor Grossett, an amazing artist, mentor and colleague. Trevor was part of the original LISTEN 52 team but had to take a step back for ill health, we were very saddened to hear the news that he passed away following a short illness. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, as his legacy lives on through the fantastic work he did supporting young people across the region.

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