Look Again Co-Director, Sally Reaper
Image by: Look Again

Look Again: Harnessing creativity and curiosity among the young in the arts

By Jenny Frost - 15 September 2021

Opinion: As society grapples with a post pandemic world, Gray’s School of Art’s, Look Again co-director, Sally Reaper explains how harnessing creativity and nurturing curiosity among the young, will foster innovation and build a brighter future for everyone.

"Gray’s School of Art’s creative unit, Look Again, aims to make the arts more accessible for all.  As well as animating vacant space across the city with temporary pop ups in art, design, and creative projects, it runs the Look Again Project Space, providing high quality exhibitions, talks and workshops for the public and the creative sector.  

As part of our mission to make the arts more accessible, Look Again, has its very own ‘Mini Reviewer’.  11-year-old, Kitty Donovan, from Aberdeen.

Meeting Kitty in 2019 was the start of a beautiful journey.   Kitty’s role as mini reviewer came about by chance when she and her dad visited the Look Again Project Space in St Andrew Street and she started talking to me. Her enthusiasm and passion for visual arts was clear. She had a willingness to learn and could really tell a story.

20th-Sept-Kitty-Donovan-Look-Again-Young-Reviewer Look Again Mini Reviewer, Kitty Donovan

Since then, Kitty has reviewed several exhibitions. Most recently the landmark, contemporary art exhibition - British Art Show 9, ‘BAS9’ which is visiting Aberdeen. Her reviews make art more accessible and encourage the public to cross the threshold into a contemporary art space.  She looks at exhibitions from a different angle, painting a unique picture from a young person’s perspective.  Kitty has a faithful following for her online reviews and the Look Again team firmly believe Kitty is an important team member and have high hopes for her creative future.

The arts are the way we tell our stories as a society.  They help us explore what is important to us, how we view the world, and how we make sense of complicated issues. What people know about us in the future will be understood, in part, by the stories we tell through the arts just now.   Making the arts accessible to all and nurturing talent such as Kitty’s is vital.

Society needs creative people to encourage curiosity.  Culture is not a luxury, it is a necessity, vital to our way of life. Creativity is the most powerful competitive advantage a business can have. We need to ensure creativity is centre to our youth’s education. Society needs to fizz with new ideas and fresh thinking and therefore it is important to harness creativity and nurture curiosity in our young. That’s why creative units, such as Gray’s School of Art’s, Look Again is so important. It bridges the gap between education and real life.

I’d like to encourage more young reviewers across the city and beyond to get involved in reviewing the arts to widen public perception about culture in the North East. The arts should be for all, and we need to ask ourselves how we harness curiosity and nurture talent; Kitty is a great example of this.

Look Again is keen to encourage more young people to step forward to get involved with the project and is considering rolling out a Young Ambassadors campaign."

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