The "Power Play" Youth Engagement Project
The ‘Power Play’ Youth Engagement Project at David Livingstone Birthplace supports young people aged 12-25 to connect with the museum and its collections. The project provides opportunities for young people to focus on creative activities, skills development and employability, and health and well-being.
The museum aims to be an inclusive, supportive space for young people to engage with heritage and explore ideas that matter most to them. We look to celebrate the voices of young people across South Lanarkshire and within Scotland’s African Diaspora communities.
For further information about the project, please contact DLBM Youth Engagement Officer, Natalie Lorimer, via e-mail: email@example.com. Funding for "Power Play" has been awarded by the Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund, with additional support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Partnership: Impact Arts
Throughout 2023, David Livingstone Birthplace Museum has partnered with Scottish arts organisation Impact Arts to deliver unique creative programmes for young people aged 14-25 based in South Lanarkshire.
January - March 2023: Impactful Starts
Commencing in January 2023, Impact Arts partnered with the David Livingstone Birthplace for three months under the Impactful Starts creative arts programme for youth employability. The group of six young people aged 16-25 living across South Lanarkshire were supported by the DLBM Youth Engagement Officer, youth workers, and creative practitioners to explore the museum and its collection to source inspiration for artistic outputs.
Participants first visited DLBM for a museum tour, where they were introduced to the wider Livingstone story and key objects on display. The young people then returned to DLBM to further explore the museum collection through an object-handling session facilitated by our Learning staff. This was followed by an opportunity to trial the DLBM ‘Cultural Careers’ educational workshop, helping participants to develop their knowledge of career and skills development opportunities in the cultural sector, with a particular focus on museums. This learning complimented the employability focus of Impactful Starts, with each participant working towards an SQA Employability qualification.
Impactful Starts culminated with a final showcase exhibition of artistic outputs created by the participants within the museum pavilion events space. Inspired by the theme of ‘David Livingstone,’ artworks within the showcase included sketches, etchings, lino prints, beaded jewellery, textile designs, and song lyrics. The event was attended by participants, their friends and family, and staff from both DLBM and Impact Arts.
July - August 2023: CashBack Summer Programme
Across Summer 2023, Impact Arts returned to David Livingstone Birthplace to collaborate on the CashBack Summer Programme. The programme offered five weeks of free creative workshops to young people aged 14-19 in South Lanarkshire who face barriers to inclusion.
Employability and Skills Development
The ‘Power Play’ project at David Livingstone Birthplace aims to broaden skills development and employability opportunities across the museum for young people aged 16-25. We partner with local businesses, third-sector organisations, schools and higher education institutions, and national employment schemes to support creating new opportunities for this age group.
The museum has sought skills development opportunities that provide practical work experience, offering young people the option to develop transferable skills that enhance their employability prospects within the museum sector and the wider workforce. We aim to support a range of personal and professional ambitions — from future teachers and business owners to the next generation of museum curators and collections staff.
We also offer opportunities for young people to join our volunteer cohort. Across the museum, young people have made valuable contributions to the voluntary visitor experience, gardening, retail, and collections care roles.
Through ‘Power Play,’ the museum has registered as an employer partner with the Young Person’s Guarantee in Scotland — a national commitment scheme uniting employers, partners, and young people aged 16-24 to offer opportunities for further or higher education, volunteering, apprenticeships, training, or enterprise.
The David Livingstone Birthplace would like to thank our partners for their assistance across skills development and employability: Developing the Young Workforce Lanarkshire & East Dunbartonshire, Calderside Academy, Skills Exchange SCIO, Museums Galleries Scotland, Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLAN).
Hear from our young people
“The SVQ was very beneficial to me. It has allowed me to develop my IT skills using tools like Microsoft Word and Excel Spreadsheets. Through the qualification, I have also been able to grow my contacts and network with other people within the museum sector.”
24-year-old participant, SVQ3 Museums and Galleries Practice qualification
“The David Livingstone Birthplace fits into my education nicely as here I get to learn how the Museum operates in different aspects, e.g., Marketing, HR, Learning and Engagement and much more. This is a warm and friendly environment to work in as everyone here is like one big family where anyone and everyone fits in.”
S6 pupil from Calderside Academy, Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Skills.
Youth Open Day
On Friday 22 July 2022, David Livingstone Birthplace Museum (DLBM) hosted its first Youth Open Day to celebrate the young people we work with and to introduce ‘Power Play,’ our new youth engagement project. With a block printing workshop, a set from DJs at Paisley’s Jambo! Radio, and some brilliant table tennis skills on display, the afternoon was a fantastic showcase of creativity and community spirit.
The Youth Open Day event was programmed in response to the DLBM Youth Consultation, an online survey and four in-person consultation pop-up events within Blantyre. The consultation invited young people aged 16-25 to share their thoughts and opinions on their current relationship with DLBM and how this key age group could be better enticed to engage with both our programme of activities and museum collection. The consultation gathered responses from 117 young people across South Lanarkshire, with 50% of respondents requesting more celebration events and youth-focused fun days at the Birthplace throughout the year.
Objects from the museum collection were used as creative inspiration for the block printing workshop facilitated by the DLBM Learning staff. The Youth Engagement Officer worked collaboratively with museum Collections staff to select detailed patterns and colours from objects from our large African collection. These included patterns found on South African ceremonial paddles and colour schemes from beaded calabash and jewellery. High-quality photographs were then used to help workshop participants create their designs on lino blocks for printing.
The museum was also delighted to welcome young people from partner organisations HyperCyber Youth Project and Inspiring Families Development Network Scotland.
Across the ‘Power Play’ project, young people have been able to participate in various activities where the museum collection and wider Livingstone story have been used as inspiration for creative practice.
This has included:
- School Holiday Programmes
‘Power Play’ has allowed David Livingstone Birthplace to create regular school holiday programmes that offer young people opportunities to get outdoors, explore their creative side, and meet other young people in a supportive and engaging environment. The museum has programmed something for everyone - from photography workshops to junk art sculpture creation. We have also hosted clay painting workshops, built LEGO robots, and held bushcraft sessions on the grounds.
- ‘Grow Wild’ Workshops (in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
Through the ‘Grow Wild’ workshop series, David Livingstone Birthplace worked with local artist Sophie Minervini to facilitate a programme of family workshops related to outdoor learning and the promotion of wildlife and natural resources within our museum grounds.
Three events were held: a seed head and drawing workshop, a seed bomb workshop, and a natural watercolours workshop. These activities encouraged participants to explore the museum grounds to find natural sources of inspiration through plant life. On 30th October 2023, artworks from the project were exhibited at a Garden Party event held within the museum grounds.
The ‘Grow Wild’ Workshops were funded by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The ‘Grow Wild’ grant supports young people to create their own project that celebrates plants and fungi found within the UK.
- Block Printing Workshops
This workshop uses objects from the museum collection as creative inspiration for printed artworks. Using patterns and colours found on South African ceremonial paddles, beaded calabash, and jewellery from our large African collection, young people can cut lines and shapes into lino blocks to create their own designs. This is then stamped onto paper with acrylic inks. This workshop was created for the David Livingstone Birthplace Museum Youth Open Day event held in July 2023. We continue to offer it as an outreach activity for schools and youth clubs.
Please also see our other Projects information.