Youth Lab Volunteer opportunity

Introduction to the project

YouthLab is CFCCA’s programme for young people who are interested in contemporary art and considering a career in the arts and culture sector. Through a series of free practical workshops, artist talks and cultural trips, those who take part are offered the opportunity to work alongside CFCCA and local, national and international practitioners to develop their skills and experience.

Managed by Niki Colclough and Alistair Small, this year the theme was around the urban environment and the social function of art. So when the opportunity came to my email, I was pleased to accept the role of volunteering in a week of August in exchange of delivering a workshop,(developing my practice) paid transport and lunch. It sounded better than many previous volunteer opportunities and I was happy to participate. 

We had a group meeting to give us the timetable of the week and more information, each day one volunteer will deliver a workshop 5 in total, we discussed ideas and needs. 

In my case, I was volunteering for 3 days, 9-14. 

The first day we had the visit of James Ackerly a Manchester-based artist specialises in sculptural furniture made with waste materials and we went and collected rubbish then build as a group a chair/table/sculpture. It was great, the group was small and they were nice and friendly. I managed to talk with each one around different subjects to gain their confidence and make them comfortable.

The next workshop was run by Shona, an MMU Photography student, each one got a film camera and we went around the city looking for architectural abstraction and patterns.

They were all following the arts award programme and have to complete a sketchbook at the end of the session, where I was supporting them.

More information about the arts awards:

The second day we visited NOMA & Standard Practice at the Old Bank Residency, we had a tour around the building and two members of the studio were explaining us the projects.

More information here:

After lunch I have to deliver my session, I made a short presentation about my practice and then brought a small set for papermaking with seeds. I have an hour for all. I was comfortable speaking about my practice with them and they seemed curious about the process and my work. I was satisfied with the realisation of this activity.

The last day at the youth lab we had planned to do a skills share session so each student has to share something with the group Mahnoor did a drawing activity folding the paper creating a random creature, Zeeshan did a presentation about rock music, and another student shows us a sewing technique and some fashion images. For lunch, we went to One Dish Room at the Old bank residency again and ended the day with some portfolio review. It was planned an outside party but the weather did not let us do it so is intended to meet again in 6 weeks to catch up. 

I loved the experience of working with teenagers in this environment, they were really interested in art and culture and open to speak about various issues, it was great to be able to spend some time with them and show us some of my work and experience.


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