Skip to main content

You are here

Stepping Up Project

Over the summer I worked with a group on the Stepping up Project. The group of young people were involved with Youth Work Ireland Tipperary in Tipp Town.  

The project was about re imaging education systems. In this case we looked at youth work as an educational space and literally looked towards the physical environment. The group decided to overhaul the stairs in their local youth centre and to create a public art piece (although they didn’t call it this).The three story youth work centre in Tipp town is utilized by many different young people and adults. These people come to the service for a range of different reasons ranging from fun, listening, support, progression and so much more.  We wanted the people who used the stairs in the centre, to feel a sense of fun, motivation and encouragement as they used them and used YWIT. The young people also identified that they wanted it to influence the workers as well as the service users.

Before the project, the staircase looked a bit dull and gloomy and wouldn’t fill a person with enthusiasm when ascending them. 

This project was playful, fast paced, involved group work and team work. It was a refreshing and positive project to work on. The young people were really engaged and enjoyed working on the project. They were a fantastic group to work with and we had a number of great sessions. 

Other workers in the building were interrupted by 'art in the making' which added some performance and drama to environment and pushed us all out of our comfort zones. A gentle reminder that it’s a youth space as well as a work space. 

It is definitely a project that could be replicated by any youth group and youth worker without the expertise of an artist.  It really is about giving young people the space and then trusting what they come up with.

When the young people finished they decided to launch their project to the public during a local community festival. During the launch they hosted an Ice cream party on behalf of Down Syndrome Ireland. This was an important element of the work. It highlighted to me the need to share and celebrate work and that young people want to give something back.

The project worked on so many different levels. It gave the young people something interesting and engaging to do over the summer. It gave them an opportunity to get involved in arts and create an art piece for the service. It illustrates good youth work using arts as a core methodology. The young people built stronger relationships with youth workers. It was very affordable. The stairs has a growing audience, months later the project is still generating conversation and comments.

This project was an element of the Arts Participation Bursary Award that Teresa received from the Arts Council of Ireland.

We have over 100 blogs that are an evergreen source of ideas and inspiration, browse our guide below.

Youth Arts

  1. Participants
Dance - A young person explains what involvement in a youth dance group means to him.
Film - Young film makers discuss the benefits of their participation in a film project.
Circus - A young person explains what participation in Galway Community Circus has meant to her.
Voice: A Young person describes the impact that participating in Aspiro’s Health and well-being project Sing and Shine had for them.
  1. Youth workers
Visual Arts Residency in Bluebell Youth Project – The Highs and Lows
Why deliver Arts programmes with young people? -  Youth Workers give their  perspectives
From being a member of a choir to becoming a leader – A Volunteer discusses the process
  1. Artists
How do you define an artist?- Exploring good practice with young people
Mary Amond O’Brien founder of the Youth Choir Aspiro in Carlow discusses her work
Artist Jen Hesnan - discusses her work, her influences and the residency that she delivered at the Foroige Galway City Youth Cafe .
Artist Beverley Ashton – Discusses her experience of NYCI’s Certificate in Youth Arts

Art Forms

Film - The value of international collaboration and exchange


Circus – Exploring the art form.


Dance - Ciaran Gray founder of Company B discusses the development of this all male young persons’ Dance Company.


Youth Theatre -Artistic Director of DYT, David Kelly discusses the art form and what it has meant to him

Value of Creativity

Problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity – The OECD explores the value of the Arts


Promoting equality and protecting the planet   - Can the Arts contribute anything?

Role of the Arts in the Education of young people – Responding to Eisner’s 10 lessons the Arts Teach


Comic Strip 1: Important techniques to remember when working with young people.

Comic Strip 2: - How to facilitate an arts project with young people.

Comic Strip 3: - Working in the Arts means leading by example!

Funding – A perspective from The Ireland Funds

Funding – A perspective from The Arts Council

Funding  - A perspective form NYCI

Finding your materials – A great new resource

Certificate in Youth Arts – A Tutors Perspective