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Kids back a bigger stage for the arts

Young people want a more creative curriculum reflecting the broad nature of the arts in Scotland, according to a new report by the Scottish Arts Council. They also think that primary schools should play a bigger role in educating young people about the arts.

The research report, Expressing Themselves: National Youth Consultation on the Arts, states that young people felt the main barriers to arts and culture were a lack of activities in their area, a lack of information and opportunities at school, and cost.

The consultation was carried out by Young Scot, the national youth information agency, and the findings will be used in the arts council's second submission to the Cultural Commission.

When asked whether too little emphasis was put on the arts in school, comments from young people included:

* "Lots of money going into computers etc but not arts".

* "Needs to be emphasised that art and arts are not the same".

* "English etc is an art but we're not told it's arts."

The research showed that young people participated in a wide range of arts activities and enjoyed attending performances. Almost nine out of 10 respondents to the consultation go to the cinema while more than half attend live concerts. A third play a musical instrument and one in four people is involved in dance and enjoys painting and drawing.

Some 53 per cent wanted more information from schools and colleges about arts activities.

When asked why they stopped their involvement in arts activities, common themes included loss of interest, lack of time and a concentration on lower age groups.

"The main aspiration mentioned was the creation of 'centres of excellence'

in local areas where young people could try a variety of arts activities, and talented individuals would receive support to develop their talent and would be trained to help other young people," the report states.

It adds: "Some young people are very committed to pursuing a career in the arts. It also shows that talented young people make great sacrifices to pursue their goals but receive little encouragement at school. Many also appear to believe that there is a lack of funding and support in Scotland and, as such, they will have to move away from Scotland to pursue their ambitions."

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