WHO WE WORK WITH
We define a ‘young person’ as anyone up to the age of 30.
Whilst we welcome the participation of all young people within our work, we principally design our work with the needs of 3 core groups of
young people in mind, which can intersect and overlap
The local young people of Balsall Heath and surrounding areas
Balsall Heath is an inner-city area of Birmingham home to a mostly working class and low-income population with heritages of migration from an incredibly diverse range of places around the world.
Whilst the area is well celebrated for its cultural diversity and community spirit, structural inequalities around race, class, migration status, religion, etc mean that levels of access and opportunity for the people living here have historically been limited. Our work aims to address and challenge these inequalities through quality cultural and creative provision.
Young asylum seekers,
migrants and refugees
This group of young people has experienced the sharpest end of world events in their formative years, often separated from family in the UK whilst fleeing from danger at home. Drawn out legal processes and uncertain futures make building a new life and new connections in a new community incredibly difficult and slow. We are committed to making every young asylum seeker, refugee and migrant feel truly welcomed into The GAP community, to facilitating their creativity, learning and well-being, and to holistically supporting them as valued human beings of great value and potential.
Trying to get by as an artist – and especially a young one - can be difficult, often coloured by precarity, blighted by low or even no pay, with few and competitive opportunities. Barriers are raised even higher when combined with other forms of structural inequality based on race, class, gender, education, disability, etc.
Our work provides purposeful opportunities and constructive support to young artists from the very early stages of their careers, so that they may understand the realities of working the field and build for success.
Whilst young people are the primary beneficiaries of our work, we also engage regularly with the local communities of Balsall Heath as a whole, the wider city of Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond.
The GAP is fortunate to work and have worked in quality partnerships with a wide variety of organisations:
Local partners include/have included:
University of Birmingham (Dept. of History); Birmingham City University (Dept. of Applied Theatre); Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham; Ort Gallery; ASIRT (Asylum Seekers Information and Resource Team); BHCATS (Balsall Heath Children’s Action Team Support); Big Brum Theatre in Education Company; Make It Sustainable; Punch Records; The Red Cross; BIRCH Network; The Grove Centre PRU.
National partners include/have included:
The Children’s Society; Craftspace; RSC; University College London.
The GAP is happy to be currently working in partnership with:
The DISPLACED COLLECTIVE – The GAP is delighted to host the Displaced Collective on a weekly basis, a safe space for displaced young people in Birmingham to access holistic support, build community and cultivate joy.
JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN COLLEGE – We are working with our local sixth form college to build the creative engagement of their students and to create volunteering opportunities around their interests and skills.
THE SHAKESPEARE BIRTHPLACE TRUST – We’re collaborating with this world-renowned Shakespeare museum dedicated to develop rich learning opportunities for the creative development of local young people.
We especially value our longstanding international partnerships in China and Hungary. For over ten years we have enjoyed a range of cultural exchange projects, have trained together, toured our work, hosted conferences and shared our commitment to developing our methodology and practice together, especially in relation to drama, education and youth engagement.
InSite Drama – Budapest, Hungary
Facilitating young people to face the most pressing problems of our times through drama.
Drama Rainbow – Beijing, China
Xian Jue – Beijing, China
International Support Work
We are, in addition, especially proud to be mentoring a brand-new grassroots charity – The 41 Foundation – which has been set up by two young refugees in The GAP community. Their fundraising strategy is based around The Afghan Supper Club, which hosts cultural evenings with Afghan food and entertainment in our community café.
The aim of the Foundation is to build an arts and cultural centre for young people and families in Afghanistan, modelled on The GAP.
We plan to collaborate on international arts projects with our prospective sister company in the future.