National Museums Scotland

Christine McLean, 12.12.2014
Co-curating with young adults
The Scotland Creates: A Sense of Place partnership project between National Museums Scotland and four other museums aimed to engage teenagers and young adults with local and national collections, by enabling them to co-curate exhibitions and events at their local museums.

For some of the partners, this was their first experience of engaging with this target audience, while others already had established youth groups meeting regularly at their museum.

We targeted 16 to 25-year-olds, but the project attracted people from age 11 upwards. We managed this by focusing on distinct strands of activity for each age group.

We partnered with creative organisations, such as Scottish Ballet, which worked with the Greenock Wanderers under-16s rugby club and East Ayrshire Youth Theatre, for two very different dance pieces.

Our core group, aged between 14 and 24, drove the project forward at a local level and by coming together to plan the final programme at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

One thing participants told us was that they don’t like being called “young people” because they are not all the same. We listened to what they had to say and wrote a toolkit to help others engage with this age group.

Scotland Creates had a positive impact on all participants, museum staff and young people.

Christine McLean is the community engagement manager at National Museums Scotland