COOL MUSIC project will enhance socially excluded young people's skills

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:52:00 BST

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers have developed a new music and video production programme to enhance social and practical skills among socially excluded young people in Edinburgh.

The programme is being delivered by GCU and Heavy Sound, a community interest company which runs music and creative arts programmes in community, custodial and educational settings. 

The team will work with young people aged between ten and 21 in special units and communities in areas of high deprivation.

Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty and discrimination are key priorities in the 2014-2020 European Social Fund (ESF) Programme. This research project is funded through the ESF and the Scottish Government.

Entitled COOL (Community Orientated and Opportunity Learning) MUSIC, the programme will involve working with groups of young people over the course of a year, focusing on electronic music production, creative writing, sound recording, film-making and music video production.

Many young people in Scotland face challenges which prevent them from being included and engaged in stimulating educational environments. Participation and engagement in creative activities is particularly low amongst looked after children, those with behavioural problems and those living in the top 20% most deprived communities. This demographic group is least likely to go into a positive destination after leaving school and is more likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour.

Dr Artur Steiner, Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship in the University’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, said: “COOL MUSIC’s objective is to engage troubled young people and to create opportunities for equal development and innovative inclusion. COOL MUSIC is designed to support wellbeing through personal development, alternative approaches to education/literacy, learning new skills for life and employment. By doing so it aims to help young people realise their potential and positively transform their life.”

The team will assess the effectiveness of the programme by conducting face-to-face interviews with the young people involved, as well as teaching staff, community organisation representatives and relevant participants. If the project is successful, the team intends to develop a larger programme for mainstream education as well as communities and secure units/special schools in other geographical locations and prisons.