Re:Generation 2031

Celebration Event

by Alice Heggie Skills Development Manager for Creative Estuary

On the 3rd March we hosted an event at High House Production Park to celebrate the successes of Creative Estuary’s skills development programme, Re:Generation 2031, and share what we have learned over the last couple of years.

We are all familiar with the headline-grabbing contribution the creative industries make to the GDP, £116bn per year. However, the landscape of creative education is painting a concerning picture for our talent pipeline: there have been year-on-year drops in students taking arts subjects at level 2 and 3 and funding cuts are planned to go ahead for university arts courses in England.

The event opened with a screening of our project documentary, which can be viewed now on our project pages.

To start the afternoons talks, Re:Generation 2031 evaluator and University of Kent senior lecturer Dr Abby Hilson, a specialist in small and micro business financing, presented some of the findings from our evaluation (a summary to be published soon). She made a clear case for more support for the creative sector to take on early career talent highlighting the potential for growth in organisations and the increase in confidence and technical and soft skills among the young people who took part.

Next, Dani Osoba, one of the 110 young people who engaged with Re:Generation 2031, presented her experiences. She shared a quote from Paula Varjack that speaks to the core of what Re:Generation 2031 set out to do:

Live in a place that feeds you
Know what you need from that place
If something is missing, be part of creating it
But also
Be open to settling elsewhere
You do not have to be in London

Paula Varjack
The Manifesto for Artists in a Crumbling Economy

Dani then took us through her journey, from participant on the Make Waves* training programme in Medway, to her 12 month work placement with freelance Sound Artist Emily Peasgood, to her establishing herself as a freelance artist in her own right with the support of mentoring from the Estuary Ventures programme. To close, Dani shared with us the three things that she has learned over the last 18 months:

  • Be bold and give it a shot
  • Reflect and be mindful
  • Go out and do stuff!

Finally, our panel reflected on the training programmes delivered through Re:Generation 2031 and discussed what the pillars of a good training and development programme for a career in the creative industries might be. Brian Warrens chaired the discussion, with Bryony Farrant-Davis (Ideas Test), Mark Walmsley (Arts and Culture Network) , Jen Scott (Turner Contemporary) and Laurence Taylor (Creative Estuary, Co-Commissions). To conclude the afternoon the group presented these four pillars:

  • Paid opportunities: bursaries, fees or salaries ensure that people don’t have to self-exclude for financial reasons and enables you to hold the participants accountable for the outcomes of their work.
  • Mutual learning: be prepared to learn just as much from the young people as they will from you.
  • Flexibility: don’t go into a programme with a fixed idea of what will happen or what the outcome might be. Be reflexive and responsive to the participants needs, and be open to unexpected outcomes.
  • Trust: provide opportunities to work on real commissions and projects, with established artists and creatives, and not only support but also trust them to deliver.

And from me, Alice Heggie Skills Development Manager for Creative Estuary, I would say remember to centre younger voices in your decision making, vision and processes. You can hold the map while they lead the way.

*Make Waves are currently recruiting for their second cohort of young producers. Find out more over on their website:

(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley
(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley
(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley
(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley
(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley
(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley
(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley
(C) Lasting Impressions by Hayley