Amplify Studios: a creative outlet in lockdown

We had only just launched our Friday night creative arts sessions, funded by the Mayor of London, when lockdown brought things to an abrupt halt. But this didn’t stop us supporting our young people, as we adapted certain aspects of the creative arts and mentoring programme to be delivered online, including running an online mobile film-making course delivered by the award winning Cassius Rayner and a creative lyric writing workshop run by hip hop artist Silas Zephania.

Once it was safe to do so, we resumed small in-person sessions in late July, starting with music production workshops in partnership with Finding Rhythms. Through these sessions we worked closely with 11 young people, 4 of who were new to RPT.

Creative competitions

We’ve run two competitions open to young people from all across the UK, inviting them to submit their work in a creative writing competition, where the winners’ works will feature in a book published in the autumn, and a photography competition supported by Chesterton’s Estate Agency, with prizes including cash, vouchers and the chance for their work to appear in Chesterton’s branches across London. Click here to see the winners and finalists of our photography competition.

Breathe is Invisible

Breathe is Invisible is a public art project that addresses issues of social inequality and injustice and supports the dialogue that is a necessary part of our community life.

To Be Invisible is the second installation of this project and is a public 3D soundscape inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the demand for change. The installation, led by artists Martyn Ware and Zac Eastwood Bloom, is located at 236 Westbourne Grove and is open daily from 10am to 7pm.

Based on the 1974 composition by Curtis Mayfield, To Be Invisible uses mutated elements of the original song, spoken in a transatlantic accent surrounded by the noise of sirens and the drum of a heartbeat. Young people from RPT’s Amplify Studios co-created the project by providing audio and sound contributions.

See for more information.

Adapting to change

As difficult as its been for our team to adapt to this new form of remote delivery, it’s been as difficult for the young people, who have shown less interest and motivation than when we worked with them face-to-face on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. We’re constantly reviewing and adapting our outreach strategies to address the changing mood and challenges, and are confident we will return with a more effective, blended approach in the autumn.

We’ve resumed our Amplify: Friday Lates sessions and we look forward to adding more creative arts sessions in the autumn. Although all of our programmes will be with reduced numbers to comply with on-going social distancing measures, the face-to-face contact will make an incredible difference to our ability to connect with and support local young people.

Feeling the benefit

Adam* is a regular attendee of our Amplify creative arts sessions and has built strong relationships with our Youth Workers and mentors. He has historically struggled with self-confidence, but we have seen his mood and confidence improve as a result of attending these sessions.

He took part in our summer Finding Rhythms music production sessions and opened up to our team about his lockdown difficulties, which were exacerbated by living in over-crowded accommodation with his family, with no space to himself. His passions are photography and music, but he has no privacy in which to experiment and create his own music, and his living situation has affected his sleeping and wellbeing.

Adam said that coming into Amplify has allowed him to express his feelings of frustration and helped him to build his confidence while getting support and encouragement.

*name changed to protect privacy

24th August 2020