Spirit Of The Rainbow Heron

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

It felt like this work had a ripple effect that travelled through …. a thread that can be woven into future programming to harness the potential held in the legacy of this work”

Angelica Vanasse, project leader

Art and Participation for Young People’s Wellbeing with Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) and the Summer of Love 2022

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Creativity, Connection and Wellbeing for Young People at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP)

The final grant from the Small Grants Fund (£7,500) was given to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to promote engagement of young people, as part of their 2022 Summer of Love festival.  The aim was to explore with young people human relationships, understanding and love, using artistic and creative means, and to support and improve young people’s sense of wellbeing, connection with nature, and their confidence to express their identity. YSP also wanted to find new ways of working with young people and with different communities, to improve their participation and sense of belonging.

From February to June 2022 there were planning sessions and outreach sessions in the community, funded by the grant, involving staff from Yorkshire Sculpture Park and professional artists.  They worked with 3 community groups – Barnardos Positive Identities Group for young LGBTQIA+ people based in Calderdale, DEX for young deaf and hard of hearing people based in Leeds, and the Refugee Advisory Group supporting refugee families from Afghanistan, based in Leeds. The artists started discussions and creative activities with these groups in the community, which helped shape the programme and range of activities which took place at Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the festival from June to September 2022, and their involvement in them.

Young people made badges, designed T shirts, some led workshops at the festival, had private tours, had assistance with transport and refreshments, a tour with a BSL speaker, digital art workshops on the theme of disability, stitched story drop-in sessions, gender inclusive haircuts, and question and answer sessions with some of the artists. Artists and trainers included a BAME wheelchair user artist, a trans consultant and artists from the LGBTQIA+ community.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park staff and volunteers, Barnados staff and the artists, all felt the youth engagement project had enhanced their awareness of diversity, improved their working practices, and allowed them the space and flexibility to listen to young people’s ideas and incorporate them in the final programme of events, as well as making the festival more accessible.  It is hoped this will encourage young people’s future involvement with YSP and with art and creativity.

Feedback from YSP:

“This project has been a catalyst for change”

“The grant has allowed us to make a change in how we work in the future”


Some words of praise from two of the Rainbow Heron trustees:

‘Our appreciation of the work, the willingness to engage with young people and change plans to incorporate young people’s ideas. ‘

‘It’s incredible what’s been achieved, learned and shared. Especially how this project has and will influence future engagement work with young people.’

YSP can be contacted about this project by emailing Emma Spencer at emma.spencer@ysp.org.uk.

Information about YSP and the Summer of Love programme can be found on YSP’s website or on Instagram