The Tin Forest


Dear Glasgow report: Children and young people

On 31 July 2014, as part of The Tin Forest festival, the people of Glasgow were invited to attend Dear Glasgow. Here they were asked to discuss the burning issues in their city. The discussion groups were set by the participants themselves; Tolerance and Multiculturalism, Gender Inequality, Children and Young People, Work, the Independence Referendum, the Environment and Mental Health.

Here’s what the Children and Young People’s Group discussed…

All the opinions expressed here are those of participants of Dear Glasgow and not necessarily those of the National Theatre of Scotland or its partners.

Action points:

  • Glasgow can dedicate space for people to use
  • Give an hour a week of time to invest in future
  • One week a year, give back to society
  • Companies need to be more risk taking – give an unused cupboard as rehearsal space to a musician
  • Change the psyche – self-deprecation, the ‘can’t do it’ feeling. Give kids a week in certain areas to realise they can do something
  • In some US cities every commercial business has to donate 10% of their space to arts, some 2% of profit to government arts funds. This should happen here.
  • Give money to spare, time to spare, whatever you can give to invest in young people, allowing them to be anything they want to be.
  • Change culture of how we interact with each other – social skills.
  • Perhaps young people should respect and listen to their elders more. Can provide a different perspective, experience. Young people should listen to everyone not just elders.
  •  Lobbying government for cash to be donated to funding from businesses, etc. taxation going towards creative funding.
  • We need free places for young children to be creative. Cheap nights for teenagers.
  • Commonwealth Games – none of the unsold tickets given to anyone in the community
  • Give more access to individual musicians etc. – give them somewhere to display their talents. Write to the organisers to get these opportunities.
  •  Investment is the bottom line- spiritual and financial, time- invest in people
  • Change the psychology- education from a young age. Instil a sense of worth (even down to where you come from)


Contributor’s quotes from the discussion

“Community – support each other ‘if you had bread and I didnae you’d give me some- they days are gone.’”

“Concept of teenagers still has stigma attached”

“Teachers need a breadth of skills- emotional intelligence, not just knowledge in one subject.”

“I wouldn’t agree that there is stigma against teenagers”

“You cannot teach creativity- you have to get it out of someone- everyone is creative.”

“Limited definition of creativity”

“Kids are smart and largely all that needs to be done is that doors are opened”

“Each one of these things comes down to money. Funding is the bottom line”

“Field trips, work experience, exposure to experiences.”

“Some kids don’t have the drive to go and find work experience.”

“Our careers can be influenced by our parents- political views”

“More choice at a young age”

“Too much of an ‘either or’ attitude – either maths or art etc.”

“82 year old in a village prides herself in talking to young people- in this village older people don’t speak to younger people. Adult responsibility to be engaging with young- starting from home life as well as institutions and projects.”

“There is not one child walks to school by themself. There is fear now with parents.”

“Smaller class sizes- 25. More support and less pressure for teachers – can’t inspire kids if they are over worked and have boxes to tick (curriculum for excellence)”

“Exam students have to think the same way as the marker, not their own answer. Self-aware way to approach examination.”

“Great artists became great by doing what wasn’t the norm- how can children do this if teachers are under pressure to make children always give the right answer.”

“Children need encouragement to find their own way to do things – not the ‘right’ way to things.”

“Schools teach that risk should be averted. But it should be embraced.”

“Teach creativity as a core subject”

“Teaching of different cultures can help us realise what needs changed in our society- in china doing the opposite is encouraged.”

“Hate teenage years- don’t know how to express themselves and find the right path. Need space to express how they feel and express what they’re going through.”

“Take stigma away from counselling and encourage it. Encourage children from a young age to talk about problems.”

“Looked after children need to feel they have as much right to aspiration as other children- need a positive role model- contact with other looked after children who have achieved- society need to connect with looked after children and let them dream”

“All children to have access to musical instruments of good quality from an early age”

“There is queuing system based on talent – money meant this 20 year old girl was not allowed to play violin at school because another girl was better – funding, encouragement”

“Comparing themselves to famous people and feel useless- ENCOURAGEMENT”

“Amateur theatre for kids and commercialfor adults-nothing in between. Patronising.”

“Expense of youth theatre – local areas should have government funded groups”

“We need inter-generational interaction.”

“We are in a unique time in being able to connect people and ideas.”

“The trap. Associate creativity just with the arts – creativity should be throughout everything”

“Moving doesn’t always have to move in to dance”

“Self-belief is very important”

“What is dancing? Being told you can’t dance- give children a safe space to make mistakes?”

“Missing- theatre being made by children about them- The Tin Forrest based around storytelling”

“Children aren’t encouraged to voice their opinions”

“Stigma that to do music you have to be successful, 16 year old boy convinced that he knows people who are better than famous bands – they are too scared or encouraged to come out with it- need encouragement”

“’X Factor’ creates very competitive atmosphere”

“There needs to be more competitiveness – school sports days ‘everyone’s the winner’. Competition has been made a dirty word.”

“Difference in gender- very early on males steered away from theatre – break down barriers”

“When electrical things run out of battery, children can automatically revert to natural imagination”

“Passing knowledge on. Time pressures make us forget the best thing to give children is time.”

“Time with children is an investment that has great repercussions.”

“Choir with 8 year olds – 70 year olds with common ground, interacting with different generations was beneficial to this woman when she was young.”

“Storytelling is getting lost”

“Putting time limits on games consoles etc. being able to spend as much time as wanted makes them lose social skills, lose drive, don’t want to learn new things. Moderation is fine.”

“Nothing physical about gaming, instant gratification.”

“No respect for creativity”

“Soul blossoms with interaction with people”

“Is it equality of the arts versus the practical (maths, English)? Whole system designed with emphasis on academic. Creativity isn’t taken seriously in society or educational institutions.”

“Children don’t know how to play anymore- playing together taught tolerance, didn’t have money to do other things so made play out of nothing, rough and wild, jumped, climbed, fell. Encourage play- concerned they only know how to play when adults are around”

“Beg to differ- children do know how to play” – this mother encourages them to play- she stays in an area with parks

“The children’s problem is the grown ups and environment, not their imagination. They know how to play but sometimes there is a more attractive option.”

“Play is about exploring and getting it wrong but we’re so stuck to rules as a society.”

“Younger children learned etiquette from older children, but older and younger generations don’t mix anymore- taught appreciation of sharing space with other people. Appreciation of others and social etiquette.”

“However social etiquette can suppress people, use it in the right time and place.”

“National service week for time to the community, young people, arts. After phoning for mattresses to be taken away before realising they were being used by boys to do parkour, I want to put mattresses back around so they can use the space again! Time investment to the arts.”

“Financial investment from government and anyone who can.”

“Programmes to encourage intergenerational engagement, participation. To bring back society and community. In specific structures – not just contact.”

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