Emma Curd is an artist, action-researcher, facilitator and museum professional.
In September 2019, I was selected as a festival coordinator at The Atkinson in Southport to facilitate a group of local Young Producers to create their own festival connected to heritage. In this role it is my responsibility to support the group to find, identify, uncover, gather, interpret and re-present heritage through workshops.
When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the group's Sefton's Festival of Hope plans and working processes changed dynamically. Now, a distance delivery plan has taken shape to create a festival in three strands, comprising; a virtual launch consisting of film screenings and performances in August, followed by a series of Covid-19-proof projects, and later in the year, a socially-distanced celebratory ‘light-trail’ in Southport.
My placement is part of a greater, 5-year project called Hope Streets, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and their Kick the Dust programme to reinterpret heritage with young people between the ages of 14 and 25. The aim of Hope Streets is to revolutionise the way museums work with young people and is led by a consortium of three organisations: Curious Minds, Youth Focus North West and Museum Development North West; and five museums in the North West: The Atkinson (Sefton), Bolton Museums (Bolton), Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery (Cumbria), Lancashire Museums and West Cheshire Museums (Cheshire West and Chester).
It’s called Hope Streets, because these five museums have made a bold commitment to transforming the way they work with young people. By the end of 5 years, museums will have permanently changed how they engage with this group; with young people at the centre of what they do. The Festival aspect of the project is additionally delivered through Blaze Arts, an organisation set up to support young cultural producers and changemakers.
See a working toolkit from the workshops here.