European Project: ART4US

The mission of ART4US is to use the power of the arts to transform the lives of young people (mixed-ability youth) and promote mental well-being and inclusion.

Young people face many barriers that can hinder their access to the arts and culture, such as a lack of family support, a low-income background, preconceptions of what the arts are and who they are for, as well as an individual’s concept of identity. Youth workers are often semi-formal gatekeepers that notice difficulties of young people (isolation, exclusion, lack of self-esteem, drug use, bullying and violence-related behaviours, depression) that have an effect in drop-out form school and university education, lack of achieving personal potential and barriers to active participation in the civil society.

It is a European priority to promote mental well-being and inclusion of young people. This implies that youth policies should work towards reducing inequalities within groups of young people and towards positive mental health and well-being of young people. ART4US mission is to use the power of the arts to transform lives of young people (mixed-ability youth) and promote mental well-being and inclusion. The project pairs the capacity building needs of youth workers regarding mental health, inclusion and the arts and young people, bringing together youth with a wide range of skills and abilities to create art, drama, digital filmmaking and dance. ART4US will take a multi-artform creative connecting the project to seven countries across the EU: Greece (K.ANE), the UK (SAFE and Point Europa), Ireland (Smashing Times), Netherlands (Inthecity), France (DkBell) and Spain (INTRAS). The project co-ordinator is SAFE Regeneration UK.

ART4US aims for the provision of mental health-informed and inclusive youth work practices with the interdisciplinary collaboration organisations and professionals and to promote mental health and inclusion of young people through the use of creative/artistic approaches.

ART4US objectives are to:

i) foster the capacity building of youth workers through the exchange of knowledge and development of innovative practice-based methodologies in order to promote positive mental health and inclusion

ii) reach-out and empower young people with mixed-abilities (incl. disabilities/special needs)

iii) promote positive mental health and inclusion for young people using participatory art approaches and creative media

iv) support youth in acquiring digital and art skills and key competences that foster their personal and professional development and transition in the labour market

v) empower young people in overcoming disparities, building their confidence and consequently be active members

vi) raise awareness regarding the mental health and well-being of young people, with young people, in local, national and European levels

vii) fight against stigma, racism, bullying and intolerance of difference and promote intercultural dialogue

viii) facilitate cooperation and networking and promote better communication with the wider community in local, regional, national and EU levels

ix) develop youth work methods with an opportunity to influence local, national, EU youth practice and policies and address current training needs

The project targets directly a) youth workers/art facilitators and b) young people (mixed-abilities, NEETS, young people with fewer opportunities). Moreover, the project indirectly targets stakeholders, policy-makers in the field of youth, interdisciplinary organisations and professionals working with young people and the general public that will be addressed through the dissemination events.

Intellectual Outputs for the project are: IO1- ART4US State of the Art Report, IO2 – Curriculum and Art-workshop models, IO3 – ART4US e-learning training package. Multiplier events planned are: External workshops, National Events, Final Transnational ART4US.

Festival

Transnational Training activities are: a Short-term joint staff training event, a training for Trainers addressed to youth workers and a Blended Mobility for young people.

The main results will be the provision of innovative training tools for the promotion of mental wellbeing and inclusion among young people through measured effectiveness of ART4US practice, empowered capacity of youth workers through innovative curricula and art-media approaches and the influence on policy makers related to mental health informed youth practices using art media approaches.