New Project for HYF ‘On It’ Gets off the Ground

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Photo: Arts Captains – Saskia, Hannah, Anna, Steph, Dan and Myfi

Henley Youth Festival has this year launched a new scheme to put the decisions about HYF activities for secondary school students firmly in the hands of young people. HYF On It offers groups of young people aged 13 – 18, supported by a teacher or other adult mentor, to put forward an idea for an original project. This might be a gig, an art workshop, a visiting musician, dance group or scientist, a charity event – anything that benefits young people in Henley.

The Arts Captains at Gillotts, assisted by art teacher Lucy Keeble, were the first to put forward an idea to the scheme. Their project is to visually promote the arts within Gillotts and brighten up part of the exterior of the school. They have proposed creating an outdoor sail which promotes art, drama, dance and music. This will be an original design created by one or more students.

Current design ideas include incorporating influences from other artists and silhouetted figures representing the arts at Gillotts together with relevant staff and student names. The Arts Captains will run a competition to find the final design, promoting it to all students and collecting the entries ready for judging. All ideas will be examined by a judging panel at the school including teacher Lucy Keeble and Head Teacher Catherine Darnton. Students will also be involved in commissioning and putting up the sail once delivered.

HYF On It advisors, successful Henley-based business professionals Hedda Bird, Managing Director, 3C Associates and Graham Woodgate, Chief Scientist, Europe for RealD, gave the team feedback on their initial ideas including the practicality of the materials to be used and the teamworking required to get the job done on time and budget. The group now plan to produce their design on a practical, durable PVC ‘sail’ secured outside the building near the entrance of the school where both visitors and pupils will be able to admire it.

The team feel that because their project is personal to the school that it will inspire younger students to get involved in arts based activities. One team member commented. “We hope it will give students a sense of ownership and pride in their school as they will have their names on it and may even have painted a section of it too.”

Tina Jacobs, HYF On It Co-ordinator said, “This is the first ever HYF On It project and we are looking forward to seeing how the students get on with executing their plans. It’s great to see the scheme get off the ground this year. Next year we want to see lots more ideas from young people of secondary school age for projects they think their peers would benefit from – whether in or out of school.”