It all started with a vision.

Young Empowerment Fund (YEF) participant, Sarah, discusses her project and being a funding recipient.

“Colori Della Gente” (CGD), which is Italian for “The Colours Of The People”, was inspired by previous work that I did entitled: “SKIN” where I created a series of images that focused on the diversity of the black race, and touched on the condition of albinism.

The feedback that I received from that work is what initially prompted me to start a new body of work also centered around the theme of identity. However I decided that I wanted this new project to follow a different approach to my previous work and be more collaborative and therefore include the creative voices of different artists/creatives.

YCLF now known as the Youth Empowerment Fund were the first to offer me this opportunity by being the first to say yes to the project. They gave me the confidence to expand my vision, leading me to apply to further funders which now also include Arts Council England, and Young Creatives Nottingham.
What was amazing about the YCLF was the mentorship that came along with the funds. My mentor Hannaa really helped me not only with accountability but also with further developing the project.

Over time this vision has developed into a social project that aims to provide sociological and economical support to young people from ethnic minorities and/or from low socioeconomic backgrounds. By motivating them in their pursuit of HE; entering the world of work and making them feel more represented within the media.

Due to the restrictions presented by the pandemic I was faced with many challenges when it came to my approach to project delivery, however my mentor really helped me develop a flexible approach for my project that enabled me to turn every challenge into an opportunity for development, an example being the FaceTime photoshoots. Now turned into a blog series, they aim to build an online community where we (young people) can freely share our stories to uplift and motivate ourselves. Some of the digital assets of the project are featuring on the front and back cover for Mob Journal issue #23 and are now also being shown in a web editorial for Rebel Magazine both are international magazines enabling us to realise our aim of increasing representation of underrepresented groups within the media.

So far the journey into the arts has been a rollercoaster ride, with many ups and downs, however the lessons learned through every curve has helped me develop into the person I am today. At the beginning of this journey all I had was a vision and a small voice, hoping to be heard. Now seeing that vision come into fruition, I believe that my voice has been amplified and I hope that it will also amplify the voices and stories of the people who get involved with the project.

I hope that my story will encourage other young people to try to make opportunities for themselves, actively knocking on the doors that they want opened because at the end of the day, the regret of not doing so will outweigh the fear of rejection. As we tend to internalise rejection which can lead us insecure in our pursuit of realising our goals. Yet through this experience I’ve realised that rejection is really redirection and a part of the journey.

The only person that can truly stop you, is you. Your ability to believe in yourself, have faith without focusing on age, race, gender or background will enable you to achieve whatever you set your mind on.