Ignite! was founded by Rick Hall in October 2006, having initially been developed as 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 in fulfilling their learning potential, 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.
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 recognised for what it is, or if recognised not developed in a most supportive environment.
Our inaugural research, programmes and collaborations set strong foundations for who Ignite! are today.
The original cohort of talented young people in the Creative Sparks programme remain 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. Many of the Creative Sparks continue to support Ignite! and mentor new generations of young people.
In our early years, we worked with what has become Protegetv.co.uk, an organisation who work 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.
My Space My City My World
Our interest and commitment to young people is why we thrive. In collaboration with the Stephen Lawrence Centre in London and Aspire (Aimhigher at London South Bank University, we created an alternative summer school called My Space, My City, My World.
In 2007, in association with Creative Partnerships and the East Midlands Regional Development Agency (EMDA) we designed and developed the Ignition* programme, specifically to encourage young people to regard STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), as innately creative.
The programme grew to embrace six strands of activity and proved to be a successful model of multi-agency, inter-disciplinary learning for the skills and aptitudes that people will need in a rapidly changing world.