Centring youth voice at the CCEP conference: a blog from Kian

Centring youth voice at the CCEP conference: a blog from Kian
By Kian
22nd July 2022


Today we hear from Kian, who recently joined us for the latest arts education conference in the heart of Coventry. 


Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the CCEP (Coventry Cultural Education Partnership) Conference. For those of you that do not know what CCEP is, it is a network or professionals and organisations that offer learning opportunities to kids; for those of you who are younger and do not get what any of these words mean, they are a group of adults that want to provide kids with new experiences. During the day, there were presentations, speeches – from a few of the coveted ‘Cultural Champions’ – physical workshops and, to end it all off, a Youth Voice Board Q+A.


As a teenager, I constantly feel like the world does not want to listen to what I have to say. Like my opinion doesn’t matter. And, for the first time, I was in a room full of people who were dedicated to making sure that youth voice is appreciated, especially with regards to the cultural opportunities that are presented to us. The adults were listening to what we, as young people, were saying. I disagreed with what the Youth Voice Board said, and all eyes turned to me as I spoke about culture and what needs to be done; not only that, but they were taking notes on what I was saying, making me feel like my words and thoughts were truly valued and ultimately reminding me that there are adults that do want to make things better for the youth.


I stated “I go to the same school as you, and I can say that culture is integrated into school life: of course, we have the arts, but even more that, culture has been in everyday lessons. I have had English lessons where we have acted out Macbeth, instead of just sitting there and reading it. We have used theatre and music to learn science. I have taken part in projects with physical theatre companies, through school. There are opportunities to participate with culture; but, in the same way that the organisers should advertise to kids more (potentially through social media), we have the responsibility to seek out opportunities, and if we choose not to, then we need to stop complaining”


I left the conference that day feeling hopeful: hopeful for a future where kids voices are as equally valued as the adults that make changes, pass laws, and lead us. And who doesn’t love the free goodie bag that came along with it?