At the Roundhouse, we believe that listening to young people is only the starting point. Taking what they say seriously means that we can then work with young people, not just for them. This applies right up to the top of the organisation. Put simply, your board of trustees should be representative of the people you serve. If your audience includes young people, then your board should too.
We’ve been recruiting young trustees to the Roundhouse board annually since 2005, putting them at the heart of our decision making, and we’re keen to encourage other arts organisations to follow suit. Not only does it make good business sense, but it provides brilliant opportunities for young people to lead early on in their careers.
We created a Youth Governance Guide in partnership with Arts Council England which outlines the impact that your organisation can achieve by bringing young trustees around the table. It includes practical tips on how to prepare your board, how to build a talent pool, support young trustees and how to overcome potential challenges along the way.
We believe that any cultural organisation that wishes to shake things up, foster progressive attitudes and remain relevant must include young people in its decision making progress. We hope this guide will inspire you to try it.
You can download a copy of the guide here. If you’d like a physical copy of the guide send your address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post one out. Also, if you’d like to talk to us in more detail about youth governance – advice, questions or how you involve young people – please get in touch.
Young people bring a fresh eye and a different form of expression. If you look at the history of popular culture, it’s always young people pushing the form forward. In my community [of musicians], us young people are doing the most exciting stuff. That’s how to attract audiences – we want to see an authentic representation of ourselves.