Circuit – what we learned so far

At the Circuit national sharing event in December, staff and young people from the galleries involved around the country came together to share and discuss the distance travelled so far. Some highlights:


Large Scale Events

  • Hold monthly evaluation sessions led by young people, in the build up to large-scale events
  • Marketing and Programming must be integrated to be most effective
  • Evaluation must be embedded into activity (not an add on)
  • Consider the atmosphere – do you want it to feel like a House Party?
  • Run Focus Groups to find out what your audience really wants and ensure young people, including core group, are part of this
  • Be open to extreme opinions
    How can the gallery continue to feel like home after a large-scale event?
  • How best to build on the success of a festival?
  • Role of artists in facilitating conversation and production between gallery and young people


Circulate evaluation ideas

Circulate evaluation ideas


Peer-led and Partnerships

  • Use the peer-led model within partnerships so young people are co-producers
  • Watch out for unexpected outcomes beyond the programme – benefits on young people spill out into other areas of their lives
  • Working in a small group with shared goal helps builds trust and momentum
  • Offsite working can be important to build trust – in a space that is familiar
  • Young people participating through partnerships should be involved in marketing
  • What’s the dynamic/offer/benefit for young people to take part in peer led?
  • Are there parameters to what a gallery can support when working with very vulnerable young people?


Invitations and Relationships

  • The gallery is changing in response to young Circuit artists – to do this we need to be accommodating and willing to learn from them
  • The invitation from the gallery is one that builds up over time and through a range of offers
  • Its important to build relationships with individuals so you can understand and support individual journeys including personal development
  • How does the gallery change practice to work with and learn from targeted/vunerable services (which may not be a group?)
  • Training for staff is part of the journey – time to recognise youth partners as experts
  • Consider creating collaborative art work between peer-led and partnership groups, even if they don’t physically meet


Ongoing relationships

  • Use art and creativity as the stating point for a relationship
  • Disrupt the gallery space and consider immersive and themed spaces to enable a group to pull together
  • Do we need to reconsider our language – core group, partnerships, peer-led? Is it about options, invitations, organic relationships?
  • Having an intern within the gallery opens helps open access
  • Consider young people commissioned as artists vs external commissions
  • Programming happen must through consultation not just with a few young people but as diverse a group as possible and not based on what we think people want
  • Building an in depth relationship with audience through a series of events, offers, invitations.
  • A collective identity is important eg T-shirts,, everyone having the same lunch



  • Consider and plan for staff development and their relationship with partners
  • Build relationships with organisations not just individual staff
  • A shared vision cannot be underestimated – in teams, across teams, of the gallery
  • An invitation has a ripple affect


Decisions, Voice and Change

  • How can we storing learning so it becomes organisational memory?
  • Where does the real decision making happen?
  • How do artists disrupt or enable this?
  • How best to amplify voice of young people to influence the most senior levels?
  • Pace and rhythm of projects is important
  • Use data to analyse what’s working and what’s not
  • Patterns emerge over a period of time not always after one event so keep the evaluation and analysis going
  • Don’t be afraid to alter the model
  • Importance of articulating contributions and experience on CV’s for young people