…building their confidence, boosting their employability skills, connecting them with like-minded people and working with artist tutors from the creative industries. Let’s hear more about it!

Cohort One: 90s and Now 

The New Creatives discuss everything 90s

Rich Mix New Creatives is our programme for 16-24 year-olds who are not currently in full-time employment or education. For spring and summer 2022 our cohort was given a theme of 90s and Now, focusing on the fashion, music and trends of such a memorable decade.

This was an opportunity to explore an intergenerational side of the project, as we encouraged the young people to speak to parents and family members. Our Associate Artist Mr Gee brought in the present day ‘Now’ aspect, by asking “What were your parents doing in the ‘90s that you can relate to?”.

The group shared fantastic stories, such as their Mum playing the steelpan drums at Notting Hill Carnival while they were pregnant with them, another young person spoke to their father about the experience of emigrating to Bow. One participant remembered being at their Dad’s barbershop and all the banter that was shared. A young person reflected on their Mum’s music taste and love of Erykah Badu, and another talked about having an Aunty who was an old school female DJ, and being inspired to pursue a similar passion.

After listening to their family’s experiences of the 1990s, and considering the parallels with their present day experiences, the group assembled to write and perform poetry and spoken word.

Interviewing local business owners for the 90s and Now documentary

With growing confidence, our young people went on to create a documentary exploring the links between the fashion, music and culture of the 1990s and now – with additional contributions from professional creatives and our own staff team. Watch the 90s and Now documentary here.

Cohort Two: Da Link Up

In autumn and winter we found that the majority of our second cohort were keen performers, so we shaped the programme to create opportunities for the young people to produce and perform in their own showcase.

This group used a mental health focus, asking the question “Who do you need to be to be the creative you want to be?”. Using a three part structure, the young people were encouraged to consider:

  • Creative Mind: Checking in with themselves and others, especially around wellbeing, and asking “How is your mind working?”
  • Creative Lounge: Dedicated space in the evening with Mr Gee, where people could just be creative, without the focus on organising an event
  • Creative Pathways: Four sessions in November where we invited people in the creative industries to come in to speak to the cohort about their pathways

Onstage for Da Link Up, photo by Bettina Adela

The cohort ended their sessions on a high with Da Link Up, a festive night of spoken word, music, art, animation and celebration. Choosing the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins, our New Creatives explored human instinct and emotion through art. As part of the showcase the New Creatives also hosted Cardboard Collective, a music programme for young people with experience of homelessness, poverty or inequity.

Skadeuces perform at Da link Up, photo by Bettina Adela

Where are they now?

Abby and New Creatives Project Director Chia Phoenix at the youth awards in the Supreme Court

In January 2023 Abby was presented with the Special Recognition Award from the High Sheriff of Greater London. She has worked as peer support for both cohorts this year developing her own journey working with young people in the future. Abby is also a member of the visitor services team here.

Demi has been a part of New Creatives since March 2022, and now produces and DJs our Cocktails and Bingo nights here. Demi pitched the idea and concept to our CEO, Judith Kilvington, and since last year Demi has been upskilling in events management and production, alongside working as one of our visitor services assistants.

Shakeil found that New Creatives gave him the confidence to take his dance school to the next level. He gave a Tedx Talk with Mr Gee in Brighton and performed a solo piece. His dance school has now grown, with more classes and tutors and he is getting bookings to teach in schools for PE classes.

Both Kaine and Shakeil performed in Trafalgar Square for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

After her New Creative experience, Eliza changed her university course and chose to study Fine Art. She will be coming back to do a one day a week work placement with our Creative Engagement team as part of her course and will create her own exhibition here in our building.

Lanika just submitted her application to study a foundation degree in Psychology at university after feeling super inspired by the Creative Mind sessions.

Dominique (from our 2021 cohort) and Joseph (who took part in 90s and Now) both went onto do a paid work placement with our residents Punchdrunk Enrichment. Dominique became a youth ambassador for Spotlight Youth Theatre and supported a large piece of research around creative youth support which was attended by a large number of youth organisations across London. She interviewed members of our Creative Engagement team and led sessions during the research sessions.

Finally, we’re very proud that eight participants will be coming back to be co-leads in our taster sessions this spring – scroll down to find out more about them.


In their words…

“When I first started I felt vulnerable, anxious and eventually it faded away…I have more belief in myself now because I’ve done it.” – Joseph

“One thing I realised is I do work better when there is a routine and given that I have not been working or in college every week, I would just be at home doing nothing but there was also a lot I felt that I should be doing. Coming to Rich Mix, I knew every Tuesday there was a structure even if it’s just one day in the week, was really helpful to me.” – Lanika

“I’ve gone from just liking music, to being a DJ, doing events here and then from that experience, I got to work abroad in Bulgaria doing events and I’m getting more and more opportunities out of things and Rich Mix New Creatives is a good place for all that.” – Demi

“The course has helped me learn new things about myself and find myself but I’m still a work in progress.” – Abby

Are you 16-24 and interested in learning creative skills? Start your journey by becoming a Rich Mix New Creative. We’re running a series of free workshops on Tuesday evenings this spring to get an idea of what it’s like to be a New Creative – find the links below.

If you can’t attend the sessions or want to refer a young person, register your interest via our online form, and a member of our team will be in touch.