We all know that there’s a crisis in mental health funding, that cases of anxiety are soaring and that suicide is the biggest killer of young men in the UK. We know that the tabloid press are quick to label Millennials and Gen Z as overly sensitive ‘snowflakes’ to blame social media for society’s ills and condemn online organising as ‘slacktivism’. But if you speak to young people, the situation is more hopeful than it might seem.
In order to tell the stories of this generation truthfully – to explore the trials and celebrate the progress – we collaborated with four incredible artists and groups of teenagers to develop new ideas around the themes of mental health and emotional wellbeing.
We’ve always been proud to support artists at Boundless, with commissions and tailored artistic development or by mentoring and encouraging early ideas. With Boundless Accelerator we’re aiming to have longer relationships with the best artists through ongoing support. We’ve been spending the last year working with Produced Moon, Nouveau Riche, Ryan Gilmartin and Natalya Martin and have encouraged them to work with teenagers and young adults at this early stage.
Co-creation is at the heart of what we’re passionate about and Accelerator which this year is also exploring mental health and emotional wellbeing has given all the artists lots of time to grow new ideas alongside young adults. On the 12th December we’re going to share where we’re at, share work in development and share potential new ideas. Beyond this sharing we’re going to continue working with the artists to grow their shows and projects further and in the future we hope to see all four go on to find a wider audience.
We believe that creativity is one of the most powerful skills a young person (and indeed anyone) can acquire to unlock everything from interview technique to having empathy and coping with anxiety and stress at work. Our economy and wider society benefit when people are able to think and express themselves creatively. Creativity is now the top skills employers look for when recruiting into a variety of traditionally non creative roles.
People listen to Greta Thunberg because of her creativity, not just her science.
I’m writing this on the eve of a General Election in the UK and will travel from my polling station to the Science Gallery tomorrow to meet the artists and set up for the Accelerator sharing. For me and all of us at Boundless, meeting with teenagers often means talking about the future, listening to hopes and fears and trying to act decisively in whatever way we can to improve the cultural lives of young people. I hope that whatever the outcome of this election, we will see a renewed commitment to the power of creative thinking, see culture healing divisions and more space to come together to listen.
You can read more about Accelerator here and get to know our Accelerator artists through the links below.
The Boundless Accelerator artists are: