Young people to take over the Isle of Wight’s cultural organisations

UK National Commission for UNESCO     –    February 3, 2022

16 min read

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Young people are beginning to take over the Island’s cultural institutions. The first signs of this are to be seen at First Marks, the new exhibition at Independent Arts’ Creative Hub in central Newport.

The exhibition – part of the Island-wide Creative Biosphere project, which brings together five schools, five artists and five cultural organisations – is jointly created and curated by students from the Isle of Wight Education Federation’s (IWEF’s) Carisbrooke College and Island VI Form, and artist Trudie Wilson.

One of the main objectives of the Creative Biosphere project is to increase young people’s engagement with the Island’s cultural sector and cultural organisations, and Independent Arts regards First Marks an important first step.

First Marks, which runs until 7 February, showcases the work of the students in the first term of the year-long project, exploring the Isle of Wight’s UNESCO Biosphere status, inspired by the artistic practice of Creative Biosphere artist-in-residence, Trudie Wilson. The diverse exhibition features mono prints, painting created by pebble-rolling, paper moths and wirework birds, created by the students, alongside some of Trudie’s own drawings.

Trudie says: “This first exhibition shares our initial marks and ideas as we explore the Creative Biosphere together. All the works are inspired by Isle of Wight environments, from current life and biodiversity, to 125 million years of prehistoric heritage. Using various media to explore these concepts, we present our early experiments and visual ideas.”

“We are incredibly proud to be working alongside Independent Arts for this year-long Biosphere project,” comments Hattie Buckett, Second in Faculty, Creative Arts at IWEF. “Our students have already been fortunate enough to access incredible support from our artist in residence, Trudie Wilson, exploring workshops relating to skills such as mark making and wire sculpture.

“The Isle of Wight Education Federation were very excited to be offered space within the Creative Hub to exhibit a selection of work that has been produced in relation to the Biosphere project. We were so impressed with the maturity of all students involved in the curation of this exhibition as they managed to show superb creativity and great decision making. We look forward to all the exciting opportunities that this project will be able to offer to all members of our Federation.”

Explaining what the Isle of Wight Biosphere, is, Richard Grogan, IWAONB Lead Officer, has said. “It’s the place where we want to live, work and play, but we want to turn the environmental frown upside down, encouraging people to live and work on the Isle of Wight in a more sustainable way.”

There will be other Cultural Biosphere activities and events during the coming year, but the project will culminate with a ‘takeover weekend’, when the students from the participating schools will take over the running of the cultural organisations they are partnered with – Independent Arts, Brading Roman Villa, New Carnival Company, Quay Arts and Ventnor Exchange – for whole weekend.

The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and The Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Beauty (IWAONB), and by the two High Street Heritage Action Zones (Newport and Ryde) and Ventnor Exchange’s #IWILL project.

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