Group of young people looking out to Edinburgh city and sea.

Where we are... programme

Supported by

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Contact us

For more information, email: ukpartnerships@britishmuseum.org

'Where we are...' is a UK-wide national programme for young people aged 16–24 that co-designs and co-delivers meaningful local projects in arts and culture.

Supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and covering costs for all involved, the programme aims to engage young people who are under-served in the museum sector.

How it works

Running from 2021–2025, Where we are... will be delivered through a collaborative partnership between the British Museum, a local museum (or cultural organisation), a third sector organisation (charity, community group, social enterprise etc.) and young people.

The programme will annually invite museums and third sector organisations from all over the UK to pair together and apply to become a Key Partner.

Each year, these Key Partners will shape the development and delivery of local arts and cultural projects and will be critical to the recruitment of young people into the programme. These co-designed projects will be unique to their locality, responding to a community need identified by the young people.

The programme aims to:

  • Remove some of the barriers to engagement that young people face within the cultural sector.
  • Create a sense of agency in young people that can be reflected into their communities.

What is a Key Partner?

A Key Partner consists of both a museum or cultural organisation and a third sector organisation working together to shape the development and delivery of the Where we are... programme.

The programme proposes new ways of working with national Key Partners, where decision-making is shared between the British Museum and the partner organisations. We would like to partner with organisations that recognise the many benefits that young people can offer, and ideally those who have worked collaboratively in a co-design process with young people.

What's involved?

Organisations from anywhere in the UK can apply to become our Key Partners. With the support of the British Museum, each Key Partner will locally manage the recruitment of 15 young people and the co-production of a youth-led arts or cultural project.

We welcome submissions from museums of all types including natural history, science, technology, history and arts. Likewise, we welcome submissions from any registered third sector organisation that works with young people – there's no need to be an arts or cultural organisation to apply.

If applying as a museum or cultural organisation, you must include which local third sector organisation you propose to work with and vice versa. It will be best if you've approached them first before sending us your application.

Applications to become a Key Partner for 2024 are now closed. Please visit our webpage in January 2025 to apply for the last year of the programme, 2025–26.

Recruiting young people

The programme aims to engage a total of 30 young people each year to lead on the development and delivery of local arts or cultural projects. Where we are... provides young people with a range of experiences including project management, communication, creative problem-solving and networking. It also connects young people to a network of creative youth across the UK.

We're looking for young people who:

  • Are aged 16–24 of any background or experience. ​

  • Live anywhere in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland). ​  

  • Are willing and able to commit to approximately six months (an approximate participation time of 40 hours) for the co-production of local arts or cultural projects. There'll be flexibility in this time commitment depending on the young people and partner organisations.

  • Are under-served in the museum sector. This includes, but is not limited to, young people who identify themselves as: LGBTQIA+; from working class backgrounds; neurodivergent; disabled; having a migrant or refugee experience; from African Diaspora; from South, East and South East Asian diaspora; and/or ethnically diverse.

Those with no prior knowledge, interest, or experience in museums, galleries or the arts will be warmly welcomed.

How to apply

The fourth cohort of young people will be recruited through our Key Partners from JuneAugust 2024. Young people's time and expenses will be fully covered, with a £30 stipend per session plus up to £10 for expenses. Please visit our webpage in May 2024 for more information on how to apply.

Our 2023 Key Partners

Barnsley Museums and Jolly Good Communities

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery and Prime Theatre 

The collections of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery are held in trust for the people of Swindon. The Museum and Art Gallery is a vibrant and creative cultural destination for everyone, with a team of passionate experts at its heart. It provides inspiration and enjoyment and offers a sense of place and pride for local residents and beyond, sharing Swindon's stories through its diverse collections and showcasing modern and contemporary British art. Its exhibitions, events, learning and community programmes create opportunities for people to participate in, learn from, shape, and enjoy these collections. 

Prime Theatre

Prime Theatre is an arts and education charity based in Swindon. Prime creates productions and projects for, with and by children and young people – regular Prime output can be found in schools, theatres, community spaces, on air and online. Prime also runs a multi-disciplinary Creative Arts Programme to engage and empower under-served young people aged 1425 in arts and heritage activities. Participants enjoy a variety of bespoke activities, 1:1 mentoring, professional development and opportunities to create and lead their own arts/heritage projects. Prime is a Good Practice Centre for Arts Award; a series of national qualifications earned by many participants.

Wakefield Museums & Castles and The Youth Association

Wakefield Museums & Castles and The Youth Association

Wakefield Museums & Castles is the museum service for the Wakefield district, in West Yorkshire.  It runs three museums, in Castleford, Pontefract and Wakefield; two Scheduled Monuments at Pontefract Castle and Sandal Castle; and a museum collections store. Together,  they look after 110,000 objects, documenting the social history of the Wakefield district, from prehistory to the present day. They welcome over 130,000 visitors a year, engaging them with their collections and historic sites through exhibitions, displays, activities, learning programmes, art commissions, digital content, and events. 

The Youth Association

The Youth Association (TYA) has been delivering innovative support for young people since 1904. It works across some of the most disadvantaged communities in West and South Yorkshire, supporting young people aged 11-24, as well as adults who aspire to be youth workers. TYA's work prioritises young people facing multiple needs and disadvantages. In many of its communities, social mobility is limited by poor educational outcomes, economic deprivation, and low social and cultural capital. Over the years, TYA has consolidated its reputation in delivering some of the most effective and innovative youth work programmes in the region. Its detached youth work programmes provide wrap-around support for young people at street level – a setting where parents, schools and other services have little reach. This helps young people who congregate in outdoor settings to use their time as productively as possible. 

Young people creative projects 2022

Dreams 

In partnership with Barnsley Museums  and Jolly Good Communities, eight people from Barnsley worked individually and together on a variety of artistic approaches, mediums, and conversations exploring their experience of Barnsley. By embedding identity, culture and creative play into the sessions, they produced a range of artistic outputs. They plan to curate a collection of the pieces they made in a dedicated area of the Museum, with information about their group and what they did during the project. 

Where I am...

Where I am...

In partnership with Bury Art Museum and The Sunnywood Project, eight young people came together over 12 weeks. They explored their relationship with Bury, each other and themselves, through a series of sessions with a facilitator and a number of guest artists. They curated their responses in an exhibition at Bury Art Museum. The group continued to work together during 2023 on an animation project about the power of art as protest.

Hackney: Where we are...

Hackney: Where we are...

This project was based at the Museum of the Home in Hackney in partnership with Voyage Youth. Nine young people who identify as being either from African or ethnically diverse backgrounds engaged with the legacy of the English merchant and investor in the transatlantic slave trade, Robert Geffrye. They decided to decentralise Robert Geffrye and honour the stories of nurses and other workers instead. The unravelling of time and truth were recurring themes, as they examined how issues of the past – such as systemic racism, displacement and workers rights – connect to our lives today.

Young people creative projects 2021

Edinburgh is Not the Royal Mile

Ten young people in partnership with Edinburgh Young Carers and Museums & Galleries Edinburgh spent three months working on a creative response to their experience of Edinburgh city centre. The group created a virtual reality experience that took the viewer on a journey from a spot on the Royal Mile, a historic street at the heart of the Scottish capital, to a part of Edinburgh special to each young person. As a legacy, the project created 10 postcards that present an image of the young people's favourite places.

See Me As Me

See Me As Me

In partnership with Attenborough Arts Centre and Pedestrian, 12 young people from Leicester who identify as LGBTQ+ explored activism and social justice through making art. Their creative responses spanned poetry, drawing, music, ceramics, photography, filmmaking and performance. These were presented in a multidisciplinary display titled See Me As Me at the Attenborough Arts Centre on 4 December 2021.

Not My House

Not My House

In Leeds, 13 young people who identify as being from the African diaspora were invited to reflect on Harewood House's history of slavery and colonisation and bring new perspectives. In partnership with Harewood House Trust and Geraldine Connor Foundation and supported by Sable Radio, the group produced a film titled Not My House and wrote a collective poem on their reactions to Harewood House.