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Energise Young Minds campaign reaches £1 million target to help museums engage young people

Thanks to Art Fund members and donors, we’ve reached our £1 million target to fund museum projects that inspire young people – marking the start of our journey to keep young people connected to art and culture.

Funds raised through our Energise Young Minds campaign will support fantastic museum projects for young people across the UK, from learning programmes and digital resources to collaborations with schools and students.

We couldn’t have reached this milestone without generous contributions from our members, donors and wider public. Thank you for your support.

This is just the beginning of our commitment to building young audiences for museums. We believe that all young people deserve to enjoy museums as places of inspiration, learning, creativity and fun; but in today's climate, budget cuts and challenges in formal education remain a barrier to connecting young people with art and culture.

We are determined to help museums engage with young audiences in the long term, and to help them nurture the next generation of artists, educators and cultural leaders. Raising the funds to support this work remains a top priority for museums nationwide.


Here are just a few of the brilliant museum projects with a focus on young people that, together, we’ve been able to support recently:

With funding from Art Fund, Darts in Doncaster were able to build on the new experience in digital that they gained during lockdown – and provide a rich and engaging offer for schools linked to the exhibition programme in the gallery at The Point.

One young visitor asked, ‘Can we do art all day?’, while a teacher commented: ‘It’s given [the children] opportunities to look at real life art which we don’t often get in school.’

Darts, Doncaster. Photo: James Mulkeen

The Novium Museum in Chichester developed a pioneering series of virtual field trips – bringing history to life with a combination of collection objects, actors and interactive activities – which have since been shortlisted for a national Museums and Heritage Award in the best Learning Programme Category. They were also able to produce digital interpretation of their Roman Gallery.

A pupil from a local school commented: ‘Thanks for the splendid, wonderful virtual field trip which improved my learning of Roman time. Throughout the trip I felt inspired.’

Virtual field trips: 'Novio' with a member of the Novium Museum team. Image: The Novium Museum

And a grant from Art Fund allowed Dundee Contemporary Arts to build and furnish a ‘Create Space’ – a free-to-access activity room, open to all, providing drop-in creative making activities inspired by DCA's exhibitions and artist-led workshops, such as Family Art Labs and Messy Play sessions. Open during summer 2021, the space was designed to be socially distanced yet friendly, and welcomed 711 families.

‘Beautiful, relaxed space, so easy and safe with kids,’ said one visitor. ‘It’s given the girls lots of freedom to create.’

DCA have also produced a series of online ‘Monday Makes’ – step-by-step tutorials for families and schools – which are available for free on their website.

Create Space. Photo courtesy of Dundee Contemporary Arts

These are just a handful of examples of how we are making a difference with your support. As these projects demonstrate, museums offer endless possibilities for young people to explore the world around them, experience the arts and discover difference and diversity.

With our members, donors and supporters, we are committed to helping museums make a difference for young people now, and for future generations. We look forward to sharing many more stories like these with you.

artfund.org/energise

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