News: Culture Cares Conference 2021. Derby Theatre

Culture Cares Conference 2021- Tuesday 16th
November 10am-5pm

The Culture Cares conference returns to Derby Theatre after a successful launch in 2018, to continue to unite the cultural and care sectors.

Keynote speakers include: Darren Henley- Chief Executive of Arts Council England Ashley John-Baptiste – Acclaimed Broadcaster and presenter Sophie Willan- Bafta award winning, Writer, Actor and Producer, (Alma’s Not Normal BBC 2)

In 2018/19 there were approximately 102,000 looked after children in the UK. The total number of looked after children in the UK has increased every year since 2010. (NSPCC). Derby Theatre’s Culture Cares conference will celebrate how arts and culture are making a positive impact and creating pathways in the lives of care-experienced young people. This is Derby Theatre’s second conference bringing the cultural and care sectors together for insightful and lively conversations, presentations and workshops. For this year’s conference they have worked with some of the partners of the Esmée Fairbairn’s Young People Leaving Care funding stream to help inform and shape this conference; a radical investment programme with the aim of challenging and changing injustice and structural inequality for care leavers.

Sam Porter is one of 10 care experienced young people involved in the project, and who will be co[1]hosting the conference alongside Lucy James. Sam said: “Being part of Culture Cares allows me to participate and remember the importance of care leavers and express the great achievements that each care leaver has accomplished. I am looking forward to being a part of the conference, just see the amazing achievements that care experienced people have achieved and just having the opportunity to share this with professionals and all the guests attending.” According to Lucy, the Culture Cares conference will allow her the opportunity to highlight the positive impacts that arts and culture have had on her as a care-experienced young person. Lucy said: “I’m so thrilled to be part of the 2021 Culture Cares conference- having opportunities to reflect and invest in the available outlets of cultural education for those in/leaving the care system is absolutely paramount in developing the sector overall, and especially in improving and sustaining the cultural experiences offered to our care experienced young people on a national scale. As a care experienced young person working in the arts, education and research industries, my potential has been nurtured through the harmonious nature of arts and culture, and I am hopeful that we can further the conversation on accessibility and inclusion to give every care experienced young person the same opportunity to thrive.”

Commissioned by Arts Council England, Culture Cares features a brand-new performance called ‘Riverside’, co-created with care-experienced young people. Young people in the care system have something to say. They want us to know that they are more than just a case file written by someone else.

Set on Derby’s riverside, (only not as you know it), this magical story takes us on a dive underwater as we follow 3 characters on a journey of courage, self-discovery and resilience. Accompanied by 2 bickering Sea Turtles the trio prove that they can face down their demons and become authors of their own narratives. Director, Toni Mcelhatton (Curious Monkey) and writer Laura Lindow (Northern Stage and Theatre Hullabaloo) have worked with a group of care[1]experienced young people in Derby to explore their ideas and co-create this exciting show. Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: ‘When I attended the first Culture Cares conference three years ago, I was struck by the way it celebrated the talent and creativity of children and young people who are currently living, or have lived, in foster and care homes right across the country. I firmly believe that if we’re to have a truly vibrant and creative and cultural sector that everyone, whatever their background and wherever they live, should have access to the best in culture and the chance to develop their creative talents: giving them the chance to shine. This year’s conference will again show how children and young people who have experienced local authority care are empowering themselves and being helped to do just that by those working in the creative and cultural sector. I’m incredibly proud of the ways the Arts Council supports that amazing and valuable work.”

Acclaimed BBC broadcaster and presenter, Ashley John-Baptiste, (who grew up in the care system from the age of four and was nominated for the Young Talent of the Year award at this year’s RTS Television Journalism Awards) will also be speaking at the conference. He said: “As a child growing up in care, music became a sacred outlet for me – it was my place of expression, safety and making sense of my trauma. Creativity allowed me to navigate the care system, and I think it’s remarkable that this Culture Cares conference delves into that important intersection of care and culture. Whoever attends this event, will be richer because of it.” Culture Cares Conference has been developed in partnership with, Plus One and DCEP in partnership with the Esmée Fairbairn Young People Leaving Care funding stream partners, including Curious Monkey, Blue Cabin and Articulate.

To find out more, and to book tickets please visit

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