We are delighted to announce a three-year project working with care-experienced young people, possible thanks to the support of the Oak Foundation
The Foundling Hospital story resonates especially strongly with people who have experienced growing up in children’s homes, hostels or in foster care. Much of The Foundling Museum’s work is focused on enabling young people such as these to work alongside artists and explore life’s possibilities. Through our Foundling Fellowship scheme we have worked with artists like children’s author Jacqueline Wilson and poet Lemn Sissay who challenge the stigma of growing up in care, and artist Grayson Perry and natural history sound recordist Chris Watson who have developed creative projects with care-experienced young people. The responses of young people involved in these projects demonstrate the importance of feeling a part of history and culture. In the words of one participant:
‘It makes me feel like I belong. The art in there – it’s not my art but it was protected and preserved for me, to support people like me.’
In 2017 the Museum is developing a bespoke training and mentorship programme for care-experienced young adults, enabling them to devise and deliver creative workshops at the Museum for children currently in homes, hostels and foster care. The programme will provide young adults with transferable skills of personal and professional value, including public speaking, research, critical and creative thinking and people management, and in the process develop inspiring role models for young people currently in care.
Throughout, the project we will work closely with an advisory board of specialists and advocates, social workers, local authorities, academics and heads of Virtual Schools. Each participant will have mentors to support their artistic and personal development. Once training is complete, participants will have the opportunity of paid employment at the Museum, running workshops as part of our learning programme. By exploring the Hospital’s history alongside their own experience of growing up in care, these young workshop leaders will demonstrate the importance of making links between the past and society today.
We hope this project will act as a model for how museums and galleries can work with and empower the communities they represent.