A role with Stockport LCEP is the latest step in one young person’s creative career…
On behalf of Stockport Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP), we have been incredibly fortunate to have been working with Ethan for the past six months using Curious Minds' Alternative Saturday Jobs model.
As part of Ethan's work with us, he has helped to build our directory of contacts of artists and cultural organisations who work with children and young people in the area. He has also been contributing to leading workshops to deliver circus skills to young people, as well as learning more about the arts and cultural provision that children and young people in the area want to access. This will help us to continue to develop and strengthen our provision and support as an LCEP.
Early in 2024, Ethan will lead the organisation of our first networking event, where we can engage with local partners to continue to develop an aligned vision for the facilitation of arts and culture for all children and young people in the area.
Matt King-Sayce, Chair of Stockport LCEP
My name is Ethan. I am 21 and from Manchester.
I am a circus teacher and performer specialising in teaching object manipulation such as juggling, I specialise in equilibristics which are circus skills with heavily involve balance such as unicycling.
I also work as a freelancer, and I am currently working with Stockport LCEP to build an online map of all the organisations in Stockport who offer cultural opportunities to young people.
I have worked with children and young people most of my life. I grew up assisting at my local beaver scouts’ group as my dad was one of the leaders. At the age of 17 I joined The Circus House a community circus based in Manchester where I trained for a few years and at the age of 18 got a job assisting teaching the circus classes.
I have been involved with Curious Minds since early 2022. I first came across Curious Minds when a friend from The Circus House told me about the Curious Mind’s Young Associates program. One of the main reasons I applied is I was interested in learning the skills necessary to be able to teach the circus skills classes besides the knowledge of the apparatus itself.
From Associate to Alumni
As part of the Young Associates program we focused on a variety of subjects from facilitation and safeguarding to project management and peer mentoring. The programme took place over 6 months and was extremely flexible.
Through the programme I have learnt how to facilitate well, how to create an inclusive space and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. I also met a wonderful group of facilitators and had a fantastic time getting to know the other people in my cohort.
Between January and April 2022, I took part in the Curious Minds Associate Alumni Mentoring program to gain a better understanding of the cultural sector; as prior to this I had only worked as a circus skills teacher.
The mentoring program was fantastic. I was paired with a mentor who had a background of working within theatre. Due to my interest in theatre and performance we decided to visit 2 two theatres in Manchester: The Lowry and Home. We had a tour of the backstage areas of the theatre, and I got to see the lighting rigs and lighting desks where the lighting was controlled during a performance. This was a wonderful opportunity for me as I have a little experience helping backstage at theatres as a set builder and I was able to understand better the work that goes into the other roles of a theatre such as a lighting or sound technician. The program opened my eyes to the many roles needed in a theatre to produce shows for the public to enjoy.
Facilitation and beyond
This summer, I was asked to work as a young facilitator at the North West Cultural Education Summit 2023 in Wigan. This involved facilitating conversations between a range of cultural professionals about the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Culture and Local Government and to explore how local government can collaborate with education providers and the cultural sector to support the National Cultural Education plan.
Currently I am working with the Stockport LCEP to build a map of all the cultural organisations within Stockport, as well as asking young people what cultural offers they would like to see in future. This has led me to meet many different cultural professionals who offer experiences from museum tours to arts and crafts to acting and performance.
The experience and knowledge I gained from the Young Associates scheme and the Alumni Mentoring programme has been instrumental in helping me work with and talk to cultural providers and young people alike. The facilitation skills I learnt have helped me greatly when asking young people what they would like to see in future.
Where will I go from here? I don’t know, but the skills and experience I have gained are invaluable and will certainly help me long into my future. I hope to continue to grow my cultural education knowledge and work my way to teaching circus skills classes.
Mural, Stockport, created by Omar Gasparini, Eva Luna Maissa, Patrica Salatino, Melina Lluvia, and Alejandro Fenochio. Photographer L V Hesketh.