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Our Friends

Sparc is proud to have such a big list of friends, partners and supporters who all help us make Sparc happen. Take a look at our friends below, and follow the links to their websites.

Sparc became a revenue funded organisation with the Arts Council of Wales in 2001 as part of their Community Arts portfolio.

We received our first lottery grant in 1998; enabling us to establish Valleys Kids youth arts project originally called ArtWorks. We have an excellent relationship with our core funder and are hugely grateful for their support, we have worked with a series of revenue officers over the years and our practice has always been highly respected. We take an active interest in sector run events, conferences and networks, working alongside other community and youth arts organisations to ensure we are delivering the best possible work in Wales with and for our young people and their families.

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For the past nine years Sparc has received funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to support our core work this has been absolutely invaluable, enabling us to reach the young people who need us most.

We have focused on three key outcomes, building confidence and resilience in school, at home and socially. Developing pathways to education and training and enabling our participants to gain critical thinking skills through the arts increasing motivation and aspirations and connecting young people more closely with the world of work.

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Valleys Kids and the Wales Millennium Centre have been developing a creative and strategic partnership over the last few years Sparc works closely with the Creative Learning Team for the benefit of all our young people.

We have received funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation to develop our artistic practice collaboratively with our young people. Activities include taster workshops in our community and family hubs; Artist Hub residencies; Life Hacks where young people in our communities can meet and work with industry professionals; a youth-led own radio station, Radio Platfform in the Valleys; and developing stronger relationships between us as partners, all of which will attract new participants to our work.

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Valleys Kids is an associate of Tate Exchange ‘ a space for everyone to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on life, through art.

It is an annual programme that brings together international artists, over 60 partners who work within and beyond the arts, working directly with the public associates programme together on Level 5 at the Blavatnik Building, Tate Modern. The programming theme for the first year was ‘Exchange’.

Responding to this members of the Penygraig Youth Theatre led by Claire Hathway worked collaboratively with Live Artist Kelly Green and young people from Astor College in Kent to create their own artistic work as part of ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ exploring and exchanging ideas around class, marginalisation and homelessness. This fed into the overall theme ‘The Fairground of Art, Politics and Ideas’ collaboration between Valleys Kids including Sparc and our Artist in Residence Anne Culverhouse Evans, People United, University of Kent, Whitstable Biennale and Canterbury Christchurch University (CCCU). It was an incredible and life changing experience for the young people performing and interacting with the public at Tate Modern during the Easter Holidays 2017.

This year our theme for Tate Exchange is ‘Production’ the same partners (with the exception of Whitstable Biennale) are look at overall theme of ‘ The Production of Other. ’ This time the Rhydyfelin Youth Theatre through film, theatre and live debate we will construct a temporary youth space in Tate Modern to explore the public’s relationship to youth as ‘other’ what happens when our youth club recently closed? What is the affect on young people when they are denied access to public spaces? How does this impact on them and the wider community? They will be at Tate Modern during the Spring Half term between Wednesday 30th of May and Saturday 2nd of June 2018.

Our Artistic Director is also part of the ‘think tank’ group for associates including representing associates at the Programming group for Tate Exchange.

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Youth Arts Network Cymru (YANC) is a network, which bring together youth arts workers, emerging artists and students to share and collaborate.

We hold a yearly Casgliad this year it is at the Wales Millennium Centre on the 28th/29th of April with workshops and master classes across key areas of youth arts including diversity, engagement, mental health, and inclusion. Our Artistic Director is a founding member of the network and is currently the Secretary of YANC.

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Sparc has been involved with National Theatre Wales from the very beginning we are a member of Team, our members have been invited to contribute to script development with professional productions like ‘Love Steals us from Loneliness’ and ‘A Good Night Out in the Valleys’.

We went on a mini tour with ‘Village Social’ where our young people performed alongside professionals in The Valleys, Swansea and Pembrokeshire. We receive free or low cost tickets to attend opening night performances, which is invaluable for our young people enabling them to access high quality theatre, which would be beyond our reach otherwise.

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Night Out Is an Arts Council of Wales scheme that helps local organisations to bring professional performances into community buildings at subsidised prices.

It is a wonderful scheme enabling us to bring professional theatre to our young people and families who wouldn’t be able to access this otherwise. Through the scheme Sparc are able to programme a variety of productions for all ages and backgrounds, young people from our youth theatres assist with programming, marketing, technical support, hosting and Front of House giving them transferable skills, enabling them to interact with the public and build relationships with the Companies who always comment on the warm welcome they receive and the inclusive and supportive environment they encounter.

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We have been very lucky to work in partnership with the BFI for the last 3 years.

We were fortunate to secure funding for new cinema equipment to take cinema experiences to our Valleys Kids Centre’s. We make our cinema experiences different immersing the audiences and offering themed events. We make the events affordable for families to enjoy a lovely night out together.

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In 2015 following a highly successful Research and Development phase young people from Sparc were instrumental in bidding for an Ideas People Places, grant the Arts Council Wales funded initiative exploring how arts practice can influence physical regeneration.

One of our key partners were Artes Mundi the UK’s largest international arts prize with a focus on the human and social condition, bringing artists from all over the world to Wales. This partnership opened up a whole new world of contemporary arts practice for both staff and our young people. We worked with international artist Lucy and Jorge Orta, Owen Griffiths, Nils Norman and Rabab Ghazoul. We have worked at Penygraig and Trebanog where the young people have been involved in everything from bread making to film making, exploring their own communities and what they would like to see change and develop.

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Was the third partner in our Ideas People and Places project it is the main social housing provider in the area with over 10,000 homes.

They are one of Wales’ largest registered social landlords. Trivallis worked with us throughout the project, and were responsible for overseeing the Capital Works with Artes Mundi working with Owen Griffiths and Nils Norman and Studio Orta’s which are due to be launched on March 22nd at the Community Centre in Trebanog. Trivallis has a longstanding relationship with Valleys Kids and have organised highly successful Give and Gain Days in Penygraig.

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We have partnered National Youth Arts Wales (NYAW) for many years, establishing a clear working relationship.

We have worked closely with National Youth Theatre Wales (NYTW) to refer some of our aspiring young people to apply for their programmes of work. More recently, we worked in collaboration with NYTW to provide an exhilarating experience for our young people and those from our partner organisations to explore new ways of working creatively. Practitioners from Sparc and NYAW also had the chance to practice and facilitate workshops together to stimulate professional development for both organisations. We look forward to what the future may hold between Sparc and NYAW.

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We have a built a longstanding partnership with Mess Up The Mess; a Youth Arts Project based in Carmarthenshire.

We bring our young people together to collaborate, network, take part in residencies and work creatively together. We offer support in hosting performances at our venue and celebrating the work.

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ArtWorks Cymru is a partnership programme based in Wales developing practice in participatory settings, supporting the continuing professional development of artists at different stages of their career working in participatory settings, and advocating for the value of participatory arts.

Through Valleys Kids Sparc is one of the partners involved in making and shaping the programme. Our Artistic Director was part of a group responsible for creating the Quality Principles a practical tool to enable practitioners to evaluate their work effectively.

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Afon Community Dance is an outreach company in R.C.T delivering workshops and projects throughout South Wales. Afon works with all ages and abilities, providing progression routes to allow participants to continue dancing with us, throughout their lives.

Afon also offers Multi-Media Projects, work placements, Dance in Education and large and small-scale performance events. Sparc have been partners with Afon dance since their official launch of the project, and love working in an inclusive and collaborative way. Sparc supports Afon with their annual dance sharing performances and both projects have collaborated on many projects together.

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We have a lovely working relationship with the company that allows us to bring the latest and best in cinema to our Valleys Kids communities.

Webber Design (Newport) were our design partners on our journey to name and brand Artworks as Sparc, and we look forward to a long lasting relationship.