A ground-breaking three-year project to develop a bespoke, paid training and mentorship programme for care-experienced young adults, with funding from Oak Foundation.

This unique programme has been developed to equip care-experienced young adults from London boroughs with the skills to devise and deliver workshops at the Museum for family groups. Tracing Our Tales provides paid employment and valuable life skills, including public speaking, critical and creative thinking, and people management, as well as skills in art and creative expression.

Launched in October 2017, the programme started with young adults from Hackney and Lambeth but now takes young people on referral from all London boroughs. 

Led by Albert Potrony, year one focused on coaching the trainees in teaching and art skills, as well as general life skills including timekeeping, collaboration, sharing, communication and teamwork. Trainees from year one expressed how the programme provided a safe space in which they felt able, through art, to share their life experiences, and gave them confidence to put their new-found skills into practice.

From January – July 2019, Tracing Our Tales trainee Rohima Poosch joined Albert as an assistant artist to develop and deliver sessions for the new groups of trainees. Building on learnings from year one, the second year of the programme focused on three areas - teaching, art and life skills - with the aim of training the participants to become assistants for future artist-led workshops at the Museum, and to develop critical life skills for future employment. In addition, year two trainees learnt how to use their own personal stories of life in care to explore the story of the Foundling Hospital in a powerful and resonating way. They spent time at the London Met Archive with the billet books as well as meeting a former pupil – both of which they said were transformative. They also met with poet Lemn Sissay and lead a printing workshop for Foundling Museum’s Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. 

Year two trainees said they found meeting other young people from the same background reassuring and working in a museum that celebrated their story, very affirming. 

The culmination of year one and two of the programme has seen trainees assisting with the development and delivery of several family workshops.

Evaluation of Tracing Our Tales is being led by Professor Claire Cameron at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education. Read more about year one of the programme here.

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