TAKE OVER

ON THE BLOG: Handing power to young people with 'Take Over'

Take Over is a radical Cooperation Project that sees young people put at the heart of performing arts venues. We spoke to Hannah Bowers from the project’s lead, the British Council, about Take Over’s vision, the Creative Europe application process and tips for future applicants. 

Tell us a bit about Take Over 

Take Over is all about handing over the power to young people! Coordinated by the British Council, the two and a half year project brings together four performing arts venues (Bios in Greece, Theatre Association Chorea in Poland, Zaduzbina Ilije M. Kolarca in Serbia and Associazione Culturale Teatro della Limonaia in Italy) all with a desire to connect or reconnect with young adults aged 18-28. 

"The project proposes a radical demand-led audience development model, establishing a Youth Board in each of the four arts organisations."

“In order to do this, the project proposes a radical demand-led audience development model, establishing a Youth Board in each of the four arts organisations who are embedded into the venue for the project duration.

"These youth boards are given the opportunity to ‘take over’ their venue, curating and producing events of their own choice. As part of the project we will be producing a learning kit to aid other organisations who might be interested in adopting a similar model.  

“The project’s aims are to promote this upstream approach to youth audience development, encourage arts venues to rethink their programming from the perspective of their audience and equip the youth board participants with invaluable skills and experience of collaborating internationally.” 

How did you find getting partners and applying? 

“The initial idea for Take Over came from an initiative at Livity called Somewhereto_ which focused on giving young people spaces to work together, allowing them to experiment and be creative. Interested and inspired by this initiative, as well as by the youth board model at Arts Admin, we decided to do something similar in the performing arts sector. 

"We were able to bring partners together from different backgrounds that otherwise would not have had the opportunity to work together." 

“Once we had come up with the Take Over project concept we used the networks we had built up to find partners who might also be interested in testing out this radical approach to youth audience development. We were able to bring partners together from different backgrounds that otherwise would not have had the opportunity to work together. Nearly all our partners were new to participating in a European Commission bid, which was exciting." 

Why was your application successful?

“I believe our application was successful due to the time we spent building up a shared vision. We had a face to face meeting with all partners to make sure we were all on the same page. In addition, we showed clearly in our application how we would aim to communicate and disseminate the activities and results of our project."

How has the Creative Europe funding been beneficial to your project? 

“Creative Europe funding has given us and our partners the opportunity to be daring. It has provided a chance for our partners to experiment with a more radical and innovative model which they might not have been able to otherwise. 

“It has also allowed us to enhance the international exchange element to the project. For instance, as part of the project venue staff and some youth board members had the chance to attend the Edinburgh festival and Holland festival to learn more about programming an event and to hear from UK and Dutch expertise in the field of youth audience development."

What advice would you give to potential applicants of Creative Europe’s Cooperation Projects?

“Our biggest piece of advice is around the importance of creating a shared vision among partners. 

"We knew that audience development was also a key priority for Creative Europe."

“Before applying it is important for all partners to be on the same page and share the same goals as well as demonstrating individual commitment and ownership of what they will need to deliver. 

“Having said this, our advice would be that once the vision has been worked on and agreed collaboratively, it is best that one partner is in charge of writing up the final bid.”

Find out more on the new Take Over website

€200,000 was awarded to Take Over as part of a three-year Cooperation Project.