Started as part of Waltham Forest's year as London Borough of Culture 2019, the Future Creatives programme has opened up the opportunity for young people aged 16-25 from the borough to be part of the cultural landscape of the future.
The programme aims to break down barriers into the cultural industries by providing young people with mentors, work experience, coaching and more. There have been two intakes of young people so far, with the third now open for applications.
We spoke to Kamahl, a recent Future Creatives alumni, on what his experience of the programme was like...
The Future Creatives programme is designed for those who want to get into the cultural industries. What kind of cultural work are you keen to be involved in?
As a young man from the borough I have always been keen on getting involved with any local performing arts projects that naturally, or intentionally, have a large focus on young people owning and expressing their cultural heritage through their work. For example, at one stage there was a local company run by the council called the Outset Centre. Every summer they’d have a ‘get into performing arts' summer university programme. When I attended, my fellow students were predominately from black and other ethnic backgrounds, and we were mentored in music (rap, singing, piano, production) all by local people, who would encourage us to put our own heritage/dialect/spin into the pieces in whatever way we liked.
Are there any people in this line of work who inspire you?
The first person who comes to mind in regards to cultural work, would have to be the legendary and late Claudia Jones. She founded and ran her own organisation which aimed to get both young and older black people from London to love their culture, and she also founded the Notting Hill Carnival. I highlight Claudia as one because she wasn’t just the founder of the Notting Hill Carnival, she was also a prolific activist and amazing woman who migrated from Trinidad and put Caribbean culture and cultural issues at the forefront of conversation. Another person I would say whose work has inspired me is Anna Scher.
For you, what’s been the most fulfilling part of the Future Creatives programme? Why?
For me the most fulfilling part of the programme has been working with the Royal Court on so many different levels. From the day I had my placement interview and assessment, I felt like I belonged in that space and area of work. I had already felt that in ways when I applied, but to get that feeling reinforced when I met the lovely Romana and Hamish was great. From meeting the Royal Court team, to the rehearsal process of my self written piece, to the one to one mentoring aspect with my mentor Sharie Omoragbon; all these moments would have to be at the top. I felt listened to, understood, challenge and supported.
How has the Future Creatives programme helped you in terms of your future plans?
The programme has given me a natural and strong push into the world of writing for theatre, and therefore exposed me to a whole new market as a creative. It has also helped me work on my multi-tasking skills and my second placement at the Fashion Arts Hub in Leyton further exposed me to working in a fast paced environment.
What advice would you give to those applying for the Future Creatives programme?
The advice I would give to those applying to be a Future Creatives would be enter the programme with an open mind; don’t be so closed minded on the placements that are offered due to fear or lack of knowledge. Ask questions! I would also say enjoy the entire process and develop yourself whilst on the programme. It'll go quick. One of the best ways to do this is to be punctual and ready to grow at every session before your placement as it's for your own good.
Would you, or someone you know, benefit from the Future Creatives programme? Make sure you apply now - applications close on 6 December 2019.