Open Eye Gallery is currently planning and fundraising for the future development of Creative Collaborators, an engagement programme that provides opportunities for young people to develop their professional skills, working with photography in a gallery setting.

Creative Collaborators was piloted in 2010 in partnership with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. It was a bold departure for Open Eye Gallery and it had a big impact on our organisational ethos and approach to programming. Our experience with the core group of 25 participants, aged 16-30, led us to reappraise the way we work with young people.

The Creative Collaborators gained hands-on work experience, personal skills and professional development. They also organised learning and participation activities for the programme’s partner schools Holly Lodge, Liverpool, and The Observatory, Wirral.

There have been many highlights for us: getting to know the participants as individuals and watching them grow in confidence and ability as the programme developed; bringing the gallery to life through their exhibition projects Eye to Eye and Let Loose; seeing the archive open up as a creative resource for their group projects; watching a subgroup of Creative Collaborators develop into professional roles as mentors, facilitators and workshop leaders in their own right.