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Folk Festival arts project

Every summer, Cherry Hinton Park hosts the Cambridge Folk Festival. During the week leading up to the festival and throughout the festival itself, access to the park becomes limited, and the space available decreases as stalls and stages are put up. To compensate young people in the area for the inconvenience of their park being temporarily unavailable, the Folk Festival Arts Project offers the chance for them to create artwork for the festival, and the young people are provided with a ticket to the festival itself. This compensation is specifically for young people living in the Cherry Hinton area, and was advertised via posters around the area, as well as youth workers speaking to young people.

This year, 10 young people aged 11-15 participated in the 5-day project. Along with youth workers from the City and County Council and local artist Libby Morley, the group created "Sally Anne’s" (the boards often seen at sea-sides with a painted character and hole to put your head through); the group also made bunting (the design was based on a washing-line filled with over-sized clothing); these pieces were to be displayed at the Folk Festival. Libby drew designs onto large boards, young people then decided on a colour scheme, mixed paints and painted the boards. Creating the bunting involved young people treating the fabric to make it water-proof, then painting various designs on to the items of clothing before hanging them on the large washing-line.

A visit from local press and radio added even more excitement to the project this year! The young people appeared in the Cambridge Evening News and could be heard speaking about the project on Radio Cambridgeshire! Eliza Carthy, a folk musician playing at the festival, also joined us on the project for a day.

All young people were enthusiastic and keen to participate in the project. Dedication was shown by a core group of 8 young people, who returned to the project every day it was running. Everyone involved really enjoyed seeing the artwork develop as the young people continued to work on it throughout the week. The completed boards and bunting looked amazing and very professional. These were displayed at the Folk Festival, for all to enjoy.

Every young person who participated in the project said that they would definitely like to take part again next year; indeed, 8 had returned this year after attending in previous years: "I love the folky, it’s something different to do, and you get a ticket to the festival."

The only change that could possibly have improved the project would have been to advertise it more widely – possibly within Netherhall School, especially over the week leading up to the project. This could attract young people who have not heard about the project before.

 

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