What we have done so far
Ignite! was ushered into independence in October 2006 having developed a programme at NESTA to identify and support exceptionally creative young people between the ages of 10 and 21.
The evaluation of our earlier work gave us a platform of understanding of what creativity in young people looked like, and why it is important to their fulfilling their learning potential and achieving success and well-being. We also had a clearer understanding of what kinds of support contributed to revealing, developing and exercising the creative thinking capacities of young people.
The original cohort of Creative Sparks continued to be part of the Ignite! family; achieving great success in their chosen fields – most of them illustrating perfectly the combination of passion, interest and talent that Sir Ken Robinson describes in his book The Element. Now many of the Sparks mentor a new cohort of creative young people with their sights set on far horizons.
Our interest and commitment to young people has also been demonstrated in our programmes in collaboration with the Stephen Lawrence Centre in SE London – where we have been able to develop an alternative learning summer school called My Space, My City, My World. As with all our activities My Space is a collaboration, here between the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Aspire (Aimhigher) at London South Bank University.
Part of our understanding of exceptional creativity is that it is not confined to the academically gifted and talented. Indeed our focus has frequently turned to young people whose divergent thinking may not have been recognized for what it is, or if recognized not developed in a most supportive environment. We offered some research on the subject to the Protégé programme (now Protegetv.co.uk) which works with young people with challenging or complex needs and circumstances. Protégé is now a leading programme for developing the self esteem and confidence of young people.
In 2007, in association with Creative Partnerships we developed the pilot for the Ignition* programme, specifically to encourage young people to regard STEM subjects, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, as innately creative. The programme has grown to embrace six strands of activity and has proved to be a very successful model of multi-agency, inter-disciplinary learning for the skills and aptitudes that people will need in a rapidly changing world.