Children and Young People

CAN has a unique expertise in creating specialist youth arts programmes with Children and Young People from diverse heritages.

With an extensive history in youth arts, CAN is recognised as a pioneer in intercultural practice, supporting innovative collaborations between artists, young migrants, and other young people from the diverse communities of Greater Manchester.

CAN values the opportunity to work in partnership with experts in the voluntary sector, public sector, arts organisations, and theatres, to deliver outstanding Children and Young People projects with high-quality resources and world-class facilities.

Working with children and young people as artists and project partners is central to our philosophy. CAN value children and young people for their imagination, creativity, and original thinking, and we co-create our programmes through ongoing dialogue with children and young people. Our evidence tells us that taking part in CAN’s programmes support children and young people’s well-being, encourages deep intercultural understanding and combats isolation, helping children and young people to build lasting friendships.

We prioritise bringing together children and young people from new and more established communities in Greater Manchester. Our Kámoši Performing Arts Project in Leigh (Wigan Borough) develops exciting creative opportunities in music, drama, and dance for the children of Leigh’s Roma families, children who are new to the UK as well as the town’s diverse host communities. CAN Young Artists, based in Manchester, is a diverse group of young people, who’ve developed a strong artistic voice by making unique, contemporary theatre performances. CAN has worked in partnership with Z-arts and HOME, and our work has been nominated for awards including 2019’s Manchester Culture Awards for A Generation Rising.

While taking part in a CAN programme, children and young people can work towards an Arts Award, part of the National Qualification Credit Framework.

For many children and young people, coming to CAN is their first opportunity to work with professional artists; a chance to learn, explore and flex their creative muscles in a safe and supportive environment. CAN is the first step in their creative lives and a pathway to further and higher education. Some young people go on to build lasting relationships with us as artists, volunteers, staff, and board members and many have gone on to have successful careers in the arts.

Introducing our children and young people to exciting and inspiring international artists is the strength of our work. We believe it is vital for children and young people to experience a wide range of artistic genres and cultural forms. In the past, we have worked with the leading playwright Lizzie Nunnery who created the play The Snow Dragons for National Theatre Connections which CAN Young Artists were part of in 2017.

“It is evident that all the young people are learning at every stage: those with faltering English improve speaking and listening skills; those who are less confident are given the space to speak up and shine within an ensemble.”

Arts Council England’s Artistic Assessment, February 2020

“Today we learnt lots but it’s different than learning in school.”

Member of Kámoši Juniors, February 2020

“The story is sad but I think it will make a difference. The grown-ups need to hear it.”

Member of Kámoši Juniors, February 2020

“I really, really liked coming to the sessions; the staff were really supportive about the project/show, and about personal things like how we was feeling. I’m probably more confident now because of CYA, and I speak out more, like I say my opinion, even if I think it might be wrong cos youse taught me that every answer is right in a way……”

CAN Young Artist, January 2020

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