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Breaking the gap between local Artists & Young People

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Youth Work

Starting a meaningful project is always very exciting, especially when the objectives of the project are aimed at improving the possibilities and the environment of young people with few resources. For the organisations that support those young people, creating the opportunity for them to participate in a European project is to make a difference in their lives, to open up a world of possibilities and to create and introduce them with new tools. In addition, starting this European project is also a new educational and cultural adventure for the organisations involved.

Working in a cross-sectorial team with professionals, bringing different experiences and perspectives, surprising and valuable points of view, make you think, move forward, improve.

There is nothing more satisfying!


Hey! We’re the artists. We get lost in the technical and bureaucratic words, but something struck us really hard when the organisations told us they want to give us a bridge to connect ourselves with other artists and with art lovers.

Pandemic times have been horrible. We had time for creation, but no time (or places) for exhibitions and events. We were isolated, not just because of the physical confinement, but for the absence of measures to help art and culture in a realistic way. We were all the time on social networks, watching people give their art for free and that was all you could do. Use your strength to help others with the bad feelings they were having.

And then the light came. And some organisations wanted to change things. They wanted to help us make a strong network of artists throughout Europe. Ofcourse, the only thing we could do is say: YES!


An interactive WebApp for young people to explore and develop cultural interests where young artists exhibit their work and can make themselves known, as well as inform their audience about their events with an updated youth cultural agenda.

Art lovers are able to find places of cultural interest, discover young artists and support their art just by browsing through the WebApp.

WHY (the reason)

Our project, YOUcreaTH, is funded by Erasmus+. This European project started when the involved partners recognized the urgent need identified by young people and young artists through art as a form of expressive communication. The art world is complex and challenging, and opportunities to enter and thrive in the art arena are often nonexistent or misunderstood. The arrival of the pandemic and the confinement measures further exacerbated this problem. Sharing and exchanging art became almost impossible, hindering the reach of young artists in music, exhibition halls, and stages. How can they connect with other young people interested in graphic, performing, musical, urban, and other forms of art? Young people and art. Art and young people. Art as a form of expression, as an escape. Art to interpret and understand the world around us, and to improve it.

With this project, young people get closer with the support of modern technology and get acquainted with various forms of cultural and artistic activities in their local community and at European level.

Working together

The consortium was built through a collaborative effort among various actors, with a focus on local cooperation, sustainability, and a strategic approach. The goal was to work together effectively towards a common goal.

For individuals and organisations working with young people and artists involved in this project, it was very important to talk to them, to know their concerns, to listen to them, to create answers for them but above all work with them. And what have we all done together? Well, keep reading this Project Book, we’ll tell you all about it!.

The first step in building the consortium was to identify the various actors that could contribute to the initiative. This involved reaching out to local artists, government agencies, non-profit organisations and community groups to gauge their interest in participating. The goal was to create a diverse group of stakeholders with a wide range of expertise and perspectives.

Once the interested parties had been identified, the consortium began working on building a shared vision and mission. This involved conducting extensive research to identify the key challenges facing the community and developing a strategic approach to address them. The
group also worked to identify shared values and goals, which helped to build trust and establish a foundation for collaboration.

With the vision and mission in place, the consortium began to develop a set of shared objectives and goals. This involved working closely with each actor to identify their areas of expertise and determine how they could best contribute to the initiative. The group also developed a comprehensive plan for implementing the initiative, which included timelines, budgets, and specific action items.

One of the key elements of the consortium was its focus on sustainability. This involved not only ensuring that the initiative was environmentally sustainable, but also socially and economically sustainable. The group worked to ensure that the initiative would have a positive impact on the local community and would be able to continue operating over the long term.

Another important element of the consortium was its focus on local cooperation. The group recognized that local artists had unique insights and perspectives on the challenges facing the community, and worked to build strong relationships among all stakeholders. This involved regular communication and collaboration, as well as a shared commitment to working towards a common goal.

Overall, the success of the consortium was due to the strategic approach taken by the various actors involved. By working together collaboratively, with a focus on sustainability and local cooperation, the group was able to develop a comprehensive initiative that had a positive impact on the local community. Through ongoing communication and collaboration, the consortium continues to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, ensuring that it remains an effective and sustainable force for positive change.

Partners in this project analyzed the needs and conducted research. They concluded that art and culture are necessary and worth strengthening, especially considering the setbacks faced by this sector during the COVID situation, as well as the sector of youth work. They envisioned a strong win-win strategy where both sectors could reinforce each other.


Lights and shadows

The phase of getting to know each other as a consortium was really interesting as challenging and rich. Sharing ideas, different realities, different dynamics/possibilities on an artistic level, reaching out to local youth. We all felt the same needs although we had different realities. Starting the process, we all became closer to each other with a lot of discussions, sharing realities and ideas towards the creation of common project results where everybody is feeling comfortable and really satisfied. We learned by doing and checking with various groups of young people a lot about digital skills, different possibilities in apps, webapps, functionalities. This time-consuming but crucial common participative approach allowed us to create this efficient and effective tool with functionalities for all the needs of our consortium’s local realities.

Through many workshops and sharing ideas during the process, new ideas emerging for our own local realities was a direct second effect. The idea of sharing different skills/art/workshops gave us a wider view and new things popped up. We all focused on making the workshops’ content very diverse, in order to reach out to different networks and target groups, to have a good start of the use of the WebApp.

The testphase of the WebApp was based upon some of the principles of ‘Human Design Thinking’ approach! We tested with young artists and art lovers and their feedback gradually constructed the WebApp. A visually attractive, easy to understand and with the functionalities which reach out to the youngsters and artists needs.

During the period of planning and execution of the workshops, several challenges were identified by the artists, for which it was necessary to create solutions. The first of these challenges was reconciling the artists schedules with those of the youth. Some artists have, in addition to the artístic work they develop, other professional activities with fixed working hours, leaving only the night time and weekends free to carry out workshops, while others, as they dedicated exclusively to their artistic activity, could only carry out workshops during the week, since on weekends they would be busy with concerts, exhibitions, etc.. On the other hand, some young people manifested unavailability to participate in this type of activity after a day of work or school classes. This point was overcomed by including some workshops in events that would already have the participation of young people and artists, but also creating partnerships with schools, in order to include the workshops in the school class schedule.

Once this point was solved, the artists focused on the need to create an appealing and dynamic format to approach the themes with young people, adapting the content to their age, since some of them, although they usually have young people as an audience, had never worked with them in this format of non-formal training.

Another successful decision, in this case in younger age workshops, was to adapt the program in order to allow the participation of parents and children, working together and transforming the activity into a family program. In general, we are very satisfied that solutions were created for all the challenges that emerged, serving all the partners involved in the project.

Building a WebApp for young people, organisations, artists and art lovers was a challenging test. Different realities; possibilities; practicalities and creative ideas clashed. App was first designed and tested as a mobile phone application – it took much effort and much time – much ambition. The team made a decision to switch it after testing and complete a more broad and more functioning WebApp – a decision that enabled the creation of something new, exciting and practical.

New powers

Some projects undertaken are based upon a very general ‘It feels needed.’ and ‘Ach, why not, it doesn’t harm anyone.’. This project however found its concrete origin during and straight after the Covid period. The ongoing (social) isolation led to an increasing disinterest for cultural expression forms. Not from artists themselves, but from the wider public. Not surprising, once cultural expression forms reach out to a public, and not at all exclusively online.

At the same time, youth work suffered equally. Many previous challenges (e.g. limited funds) were successfully faced, but the impossibility of ‘groups encounters’ was an unforeseen and previously unthinkable challenge.

Both sectors, the cultural artistic and the youth field, crippled. The question raised: how can we turn this downside spiral of a lose-lose situation into a clear win-win position? This challenging but rich project gave us clear answers.

Partners in youth work

More than 80 workshops organised between young people and artists, created a powerful boost in our different realities. A renewed interest of artists to share their own expression forms, combined with engaging directly with young people. More than ‘showcasing’ the expression form, the workshops lead to a wave of transferring their knowledge and visions. The call for preservation of the richness of existing cultural expression forms was answered.

But much more than that, the youth field found themselves another powerful stakeholder and partner: the cultural sector. And at the same time, the cultural sector regained the active interest of youth work.

Reality case:
Every year in Spain – Valladolid, a new edition of a digital book for a long-term storytelling project called “Tedascuen” has been published. After getting to know YOUcreaTH project, a crew of graffiti illustrators proposed to give some of these tales a “new-life” by being represented at the benches of Splora headquarters. It was the beginning of a cooperation with a cultural group that will be kept for the next edition of our storytelling project. At the benches, you can find QR code with the tale represented and also with the contact of the artist that made the art.

Stronger communities

Linking both sectors, youth field and cultural field, has contributed to an increased community feeling. Creating space for recognition and sharing of artists on one side, and creating opportunities for young people to explore on the other side, was a clear sign for other community stakeholders that this ‘new wave’ was worth surfing on. A genuine concern and understanding that involving young people is more than ‘free time occupation’, but actually a concrete way of building a ‘tomorrow’ together.

Reality case: different workshops artists-young people at local level, supported the organisation of a very first ‘art exhibition of young people’s work’ by a local NGO in Vila da MarmeleiraPortugal. A second edition is planned for next year.

A Spotlight for artists

As the workshops started happening at the different involved local communities, previously invisible artists (even your very neighbour) stepped up and offered to join the project. The innocent approach of genuinely sharing with the younger generation becomes a much more visible and beneficial possibility. Discovering that your neighbour is actually an artist, is a very uplifting experience. And this is the case for all involved. The beginning of becoming more conscious that we all are, in one way or another, an artist.

Reality case: in Rio Maior – Portugal, a few elderly ladies decided to practise handicraft again, and supported each other in remembering what they had learned from their own grandmothers. They are now proudly passing this on to several young people. A lost art which is back alive.

Increased youth work quality

It is often said that working with artists is not always ‘easy’. But that is mostly because it deals with diversity, acceptance, empathy and finding common understanding when it comes to visions and values. This project has been a very valuable exercise for the youth workers involved. An active re-questioning of our own values and visions when preparing together with the variety of artists at the different workshops.

Where some aspects of our youth work tended to lean more and more to ‘free time occupational activities’, YOUcreaTH has put again a clear vision and meaning of youth work on the foreground. Supporting young people in their own empowerment, in order for them to be the future. Young people are not the future, unless we equip them with the right tools and opportunities.

Exploring cultural expressions

Many different cultural expression forms have been explored, and at the same time discovered. A variety ranging from more known expression forms such as painting, theatre and woodcraft, to surprising ones such as the ‘art of DJ’ and pyrography.

Reality Case: In Antwerp-Belgium, a most surprising workshop took place. A previously undiscovered activity: ‘swimming as a mermaid’. And this happened literally, involving costumes, swimming pool, design and much more. The freedom of expression taken outside of the classic box. Another cool example took place in Croatia – combining art and robotics.

Developing the web-app

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The process of developing the web-app started with aligning our expectations and needs. User stories were created and shared with the team. After firstly being scared, the team read it and some comments were given, for development to start. After this, great work was done by the designer, who prepared fantastic screens in Figma, where we also made a short intro movie to start sharing with the artists as a teaser. It all looked nice. While the designer was doing her magic, the development team started studying Flutter, since agreement was to create a mobile app. Also the design of the app was done in this way. The decision was made to create a backend using Node.js framework, My SQL database and Flutter Frontend. The development started and quite a chunk of the backend was developed, when there was a turn in decisions. The consortium realised that not a mobile app, but a web app was proposed. After realising such a big turn, development decided to stay with Node.js for the backend, MySQL for Database, but to switch to Angular as frontend framework. Lots of work has been done and produced, but due to many reasons such as illness, several Covid quarantines and more, the process went too long and beyond all agreed deadlines. This led to the decision to completely change the team and technology to produce the web app. This task was taken to another team that developed the app using WordPress. Including all agreed functionalities. Given that the design was created for mobile phones, it was reasonable to make changes to the original design. In the end, we can all agree that it was quite a stressful part of the project, but having the application done gave us all a relief and we agreed that it was a journey full of learnings for us all. We have learned alot about programming project management, teamwork and team strength, stress management and many other skills.

One thing to point out is the problem of developing with new ideas every now and then. For us, as a team, it is very common to have new proposals and ideas because our creativity never stops. Also, The feedback from artists and young people sparked new ideas and suggestions. But confronting such a type of work with development, that wants to have agreed upon guidelines as much as possible up front, is quite challenging. Each new idea is considered as a change request, sometimes it requires more than it looks from first view and often development has a defending attitude towards such organisation. This is also something that we have now learned for future projects.

How to use

What artists and young people say

Some Testimonies of real Artists that are using the app

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