Young creative careers set to take off with new East London initiatives

2 March 2021
By Amy Zamarripa Solis

As part of National Careers Week, which is celebrated nationally from 1-6 March, eight East London arts, cultural and heritage organisations are getting the next generation ready for work in the creative sector, supported by Foundation for Future London.

Starting in March and running through 2021, programmes will train up young people aged 14 to 25 to become curators, programmers, producers and even architects with festivals, exhibitions and programmes happening in partnership with Here East, Barbican, Museum of London, UCL Special Collections, Newham Heritage Month, and Spotlight Youth Centre. Many of the programmes offer paid training and employment opportunities to young people who may not have any experience in the creative sectors.

Projects include:

  • Skills.Youth.Network.Create. (S.Y.N.C.) by Art Clubbers and Spotlight across London
  • The People’s Pavilion by Beyond the Box in East London, working with East Bank partners V&A, BBC and London College of Fashion.
  • The New Curators Project by UCL Special Collections and Newham Heritage Month in East London
  • The Pattern by Play Nice across London, a new alternative curriculum by winners of the inaugural Fusion Prize, a national award established to help foster the fusion skills young Londoners need to thrive in the modern workplace
  • Fusion Futures in partnership with Culture Mile, Barbican Creative Learning and Foundation for Future London

East London is earmarked as London’s next major cultural destination with the emerging East Bank development and yet there is high unemployment amongst young people, lower wages and other inequalities. Young people have especially been affected by covid-19. The Foundation for Future London is supporting innovative and community-led projects that focus on supporting young people to become better equipped to get jobs through training, skills development and support, including “fusion skills”, which are a mix of communications, creative and other skills necessary for the workforce.

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, CEO, Foundation for Future London said:

“Foundation for Future London is proud to continue funding and investing in a remarkable breadth of impactful and exciting projects. We know our grants are crucial in these unprecedented times of dealing the impact of C19 whilst resourcing build back better and fairer career focused projects.  The exciting range of projects S.Y.N.C, The People’s Pavilion, The New Curators Project, The Pattern and Fusion Futures are designed to support East London and the next generation with the creative skills and training they need to establish and develop careers, jobs, business and ideas in arts, culture, education and innovation.

The Foundation’s role continues to be vital in supporting and providing pathways into the creative sector. Through our Foundation Programme, co-funded by City of London, we aim to ensure East Bank is an inclusive resilient, thriving, world-class neighbourhood of local and global significance, connecting London’s cultural districts through our cross-cultural sector partnership with City of London and Culture Mile.”

Vicky Price, Head of Outreach, Special Collections, UCL Library Services said:

“We are so excited to launch The New Curators Project this year.  It is the first step to what we hope will be a recurring project that invites local young minds to engage with what the cultural heritage sector is and what it could be if it centred around their voices and ideas.  It will also mean that Newham Heritage Month and UCL Special Collections are able to work together to build a positive, mutually beneficial relationship that platforms and elevates participants’ contributions.”

Tim Jones, Culture Mile Manager said:

“In an increasingly uncertain world, it is essential that we address the skills gap currently faced by many young people.  Culture Mile is committed to finding new and innovative ways to develop fusion skills, which are essential to succeed in the 21st Century workplace. We’re very pleased to be able to collaborate again with East Bank, who share our vision of using the power of creativity, innovation and learning to help address the problem of social mobility for young Londoners.”

All projects are supported with funding through the Foundations Programme, which is co-funded via a four-year partnership with City of London. The programme’s aim is to develop longer term shared learnings between the two new cultural districts of East Bank and Culture Mile and support our local collaborative cultural programming around creative education, lifelong learning and employment opportunities.

For more information on the projects, see

Further information about the projects:

The People’s Pavilion

The People’s Pavilion by Beyond The Box Consultants is offering young East Londoners a chance to work with professionals from design, construction and creative arts industries to design and build their own Pavilion — then curate a 10-day festival in it at Here East in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. No experience needed — you will gain access to a full programme of free skills workshops lead by industry professionals and creatives from across London.

The New Curators Project

The New Curators Project will offer 18-24 year olds from Newham, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Tower Hamlets experience and training to help them take a first step in the cultural heritage sector.  Participants will create an exhibition and programming for Newham Heritage Month.

Skills.Youth.Network.Create (S.Y.N.C)

If you’re aged 19-25, apply now to become a SYNC Creative Leader and get training in workshop facilitation, working with the younger generations of Tower Hamlets. This is a paid opportunity (London Living Wage up to 10 hours) with Art Clubbers and Spotlight. By infusing and syncing your discipline and a soft skill, you’ll help come up with creative ideas to engage and prepare young people to develop creative practice knowledge and crucial skills for them to learn.

The Pattern

The Pattern by Play Nice is an incubator scheme and curriculum designed to give future community leaders, cultural producers and aspiring creatives from underrepresented groups the tools and infrastructure they need to develop community projects. The first group to take part in The Pattern was chosen from an open submission in January 2021, with 20 participants grouped into 4 ‘incubators’.  They will be led through a four-week programme by an expert mentor. With £5,000 at their disposal, each group will be taught how to research, ideate and produce a live project in partnership with one of the Culture Mile organisations. This will be a unique opportunity for young creatives to have their ideas brought to life as part of the public programme of some of London’s leading cultural organisations, including The Barbican and The Museum of London.

Fusion Futures – linking arts teaching and industry
Our Fusion Futures programme offers a teacher CPD session and three Fusion skills workshops for students in Years 10-13.  Groups of 15 students will work together with a creative professional and an industry employer to explore how Fusion skills (including communication, collaboration and creativity) help organisations to tackle real-world challenges.  For the students, two one-hour workshops will be followed by a half-day ‘challenge workshop’ tackling an entrepreneurial mission set by the industry employer.  Participants will encounter the work of their industry employer, and also explore the connection between arts education and a future workplace.  NOTE: The CPD can be taken as a standalone session and is scheduled for March 2021. The Fusion workshops (TBA) will take place in the Summer term of 2021.

Press contact

Amy Zamarripa Solis

Communications Manager

Foundation for Future London

07854 658873

Notes to Editors

Foundation for Future London

Foundation for Future London is an independent charity created to connect communities, the new East Bank and its globally renowned arts, innovation and cultural partners to ensure East Bank is London’s must-visit destination and becomes a resilient, thriving, world-class neighbourhood of local and global significance. We’re fundraising to expand grant-making opportunities for East Bank communities and partners and facilitating creative placemaking, to support local places, learning, training and employment through arts, education, culture and innovation. Our vision is for a vibrant and inclusive creative East Bank, creating authentic engagement with local people of East London in the boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund

Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund is an ambitious five-year programme that aims to invest £10 million in to local communities of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest. This flagship project will provide new jobs, learning, training and educational programmes through the means of arts, culture, innovation, public realm and creative placemaking. The programme aims to transform and catalyse the lives and careers of people in East London by putting funding, resources and support straight into local people’s hands. The fund is supported by Westfield Stratford City and administered by Foundation for Future London.

Westfield Stratford City

Westfield Stratford City is London’s most popular shopping destination by footfall, located in London’s fastest growing area, and now has over 51 million annual customer visits. The centre has been a catalyst for the regeneration of the Stratford area, bringing around a million shoppers every week, as well as jobs, tourism and investment to the local community. As a group, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has invested over £1.75 billion in Westfield Stratford City with further investment of £670 million on 1,200 new homes in the surrounding area. The Group investment continues to include significant public realm improvements and green space provision, from new pedestrian routes to sustainable open space. This has created environments people want to visit, live and work in – in turn bringing further economic and social benefits.

About Culture Mile

Culture Mile is the City of London’s new cultural district, stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate. Led by the City of London Corporation, with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, the five partners are together creating a vibrant, creative area in the north-west corner of the Square Mile. Alongside animating the whole district with imaginative collaborations and events, delivering major enhancements to the streets and improving wayfinding, Culture will be working with organisations from across the City to build a world-class hub of creativity, innovation and learning that delivers economic growth and social mobility for London.

Culture Mile Learning brings together organisations across the City and beyond to work together on an unprecedented scale to build a world-class learning destination. Culture Mile Learning specialises in the fusion of the creative, thinking, communication and organisational skills needed by today’s employers, and includes a diverse range of venues including Keats House, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Epping Forest.

Fusion Prize is a national award established to help foster the fusion skills young Londoners need to thrive in the modern workplace, established by Foundation for Future London and Culture Mile.

Fusion skills are made up of:

  1. Communication skills: Being clear and concise when talking, writing or collaborating, and being a good listener and presenter.
  2. Thinking skills: Showing initiative, thinking critically and being able to analyse, evaluate and problem solve.
  3. Organisational skills: Planning well and making the best use of your time when working independently or with others. Being adaptable, flexible and resilient.
  4. Creative skills: Being imaginative and having original ideas as well as well as making connections across complex concepts.
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