Between September 2007 and March 2008, The Camberwell Centre ran a Synergy Youth Inclusion Programme (YIP), training local young people in the skills and technologies associated with the creative and cultural industries so as to divert young people away from antisocial and criminal lifestyles. This project was organised in partnership with a number of local organisations, such as the Southwark Youth Offending Team, Archbishop Michael Ramsey Technical College and Camberwell Neighbourhood Renewal. The project focused on a modular provision of work-based learning and training, in both creative technologies and skills such as digital music production, a course of dance tuition, African drumming, spoken word and drama. The training culminated in a show-case even at which the students presented performances / presentations inspired by a chosen social, cultural or spiritual theme. Over 80 young people participated and the evaluation of the project confirmed that it has been very much appreciated by the young participants but, due to a lack of funds the project could not be continued.
In the future, it is hoped that surplus income generated from the Synergy Events, room hire and the catering outlets at the Centre will be used to cross-subsidise a resumption and expansion of the Synergy Youth Project.
The Brighton Synergy Youth Project will be developed over time to be structured on the following modular basis:
Synergy Music – a live and digital music recording studio, with a number of editing computers networked to the main computer and mixing desk. The studio will be used for a mixture of professional and community based projects, enabling students, as they progress, enabling students to gain hands-on experience of professional productions as well as working on their own material. In the medium term, it is to be hoped that students will graduate to become teachers, sharing their skills with new and younger students, thereby gaining valuable experience as teachers as well as producers. Successful students will record and release their own material, with successful producers teaming up with spoken word artists from the Youth Project and Synergy Open Mic night. Synergy Music students will also acquire the skills necessary to set up and maintain the in-house sound systems and provide sound engineering at Synergy and Synergy Youth Events.
Synergy Video – a video production studio with green screen facilities plus a number of networked editing computers. Students will learn industry standard video editing software packages such as Premier or Final Cut Pro as well as VJing (the video equivalent of DJing) software packages such as Reselume or Neuromixer, enabling them to produce VJ sets at Synergy and Synergy Youth events.
Synergy Art and Graphic Design – a visual art and graphic design module, using the same computers that will double up as the video and sound editing interfaces. Students will do the graphic design for centre promotional materials, the Centre web-site and emailouts as well as prepare décor materials to be hung at Synergy and Synergy Youth Events.
Synergy Fine Art and Crafts – a fine art and crafts module, utilizing recycled materials as a means for students to express and draw from their life experiences in a tangible and hands on way, with the option to exhibit their work and share their experiences with a wider audience.
Synergy Drama – a drama project employing participatory techniques such as ‘Forum Theatre’ to enable young people to develop their communication and acting skills. Performances developed by the drama group will be performed at Synergy and Synergy Youth Events and toured around local schools.
Synergy Spoken Word – working with aspiring rappers and poets to develop their composition and performance skills, focusing at all times on positive lyrics as an alternative to the negativity often found in urban music. Spoken Word students will join forces with Synergy Music students who will create backing tracks for their lyrics, with finished material being performed at Synergy and Synergy Youth Events.
Synergy Dance – covering a wide variety of forms and influences, the Dance module will inevitably focus on street / urban dance but informed and inspired by other dance cultures, particularly those of the UK’s diverse communities. Finished performances will be presented at Synergy and Synergy Youth events and toured around local schools.
Synergy Youth Event Management
Recognising that a successful event is based not only on talented artists but also on good management, production and promotion, Synergy will also be delivering a module to train aspiring young promoters and producers all aspects of event management including programming, promotion, security management, liaison with authorities, finance, stage and production management, technician management and documentation.
Synergy Youth Events
The Synergy Youth Project in Camberwell organised two youth-arts showcase events, run by young people for young people, the first was held in early December 2007 and the second took place in late January 2008, preceded by a wide range of training and work based learning activities which equipped participating young people to organise every aspect of the event. The showcase events took place at the Synergy Centre in Camberwell and were focused on a particular cultural or social issue:
November 26th 2007 – “How do we end gang rivalry? ”
January 26th 2008– “Beyond Slavery” – A community led debate exploring the relevance of slavery to contemporary urban communities.
The different demographics in Brighton will require different emphasis for the Synergy Youth Events, focussing less on anti-social behaviour, knife and gun crime and more on providing experience and work-based learning in the skills and technologies associated with working in the creative and cultural industries.