DMU and Arts Council England launch groundbreaking research in Leicester


Researchers are to follow children born in Leicester over the first 25 years of their lives, seeing just what happens when they are given regular opportunities to get involved in creative activities.

The ground-breaking project, Talent25, is being launched today at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Talent25 aims to provide, for the first time, academic evidence of the impact that sustained arts experiences – listening to and learning music, cinema, theatre, children’s festivals, visiting libraries and museums and reading books– has from birth to adulthood.


The first phase of Talent 25, from 2019-21 will focus on work with 0-4 year olds and their families to achieve a true picture of the type of engagement which is likely to have an impact on future, sustained cultural engagement.

The first 100 babies and their families will be recruited from areas across the city of Leicester and a core principle of the programme is that children, their parents and families should themselves be involved in putting together the kinds of activities and opportunities that will be available to children.

Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley and DMU Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard will launch the project at a showcase of some of Leicester’s best young creative talent.
Professor Shellard said: “I firmly believe that the creative urge is in all of us from birth; but this has to be cultivated and we as adults, parents, carers, educators and policymakers each have a duty to play our role to ensure that young people have equality of opportunity to be involved in artistic and cultural activities such as art, music and dance.

“I believe Talent25 will be a game-changer. It will tell us much about opportunity and access, about the value we place on the arts and the difference which living a creative life can make. Crucially, it will in time give us the information, data and insight needed to allow all of our children and young people to enjoy the benefits of a full cultural life.”

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Darren Henley, Chief Executive Arts Council England said: “Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. Every child has the capacity to be creative and opportunities to realise this potential should be equally available. We hope that Talent25 will help us to better understand what might make a difference to young people’s talent development and cultural engagement.

“Our long-term ambition is that the lessons we learn as the programme evolves will support the cultural sector to develop its work with early years and that whilst we launch with excellent partners in Leicester, that the impact will be felt nationally.”

Arts Minister Michael Ellis said: “Access to the arts can change how we see ourselves and the world, and engaging people from childhood is of huge importance.

“We are committed to opening up access to culture and creativity for all, regardless of background. I am pleased that, through Talent25, we will now have access to research that shows the true value and impact of the arts and culture on our lives.”

Researchers will aim to find out which activities get the most engagement from early years children and their families in Leicester, and design a programme that can be scaled up and brought to cities across the UK.

The overarching aim is to initiate a long term- 25 year- programme which will result in young peoples’ sustained cultural engagement and offer varied opportunities to develop their individual talent.

Posted on Friday 25th January 2019

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