Groundbreaking new Initiative UP YER AIRTS launches, pushing the boundaries of what is possible for young people in D&G!

The youth project of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival has evolved and has been recreated with a fresh take and vision to empower young people to curate vibrant cultural events and refine their craft as arts and creative professionals. This newly created model will see young people harnessing the punk ethos of taking direct action to make and create what they want to see happen in the region.

Liam Russell is a creative producer from Dumfries and Galloway and has been the creative visionary lead behind the development of UP YER AIRTS.

Joining the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival team amidst the global pandemic, he has used his creativity and innovation to steer and build the project from the ground up, with a programme of engaging, accessible opportunities planned for 2024. Liam has built UP YER AIRTS to be a vehicle for experiential learning opportunities designed to give young people a platform to explore their creative practice, and plan for a future career in the creative industries.

UP YER AIRTS encompasses the values of Graftin’ Giggin’ and Growin’.

Graftin’ showcases that they are all about working hard but on something that young people are passionate about. They aim to collaborate on honing the skills of young people on their chosen creative path, whether as an artist, producer, event tech or simply if you are passionate about the arts and their impact on the local community.

Giggin’ will be the showcase of what they’ve created together with young people of the region, and they will curate event opportunities at the most happening hotspots in the region and beyond.

Growin’ where they will support and facilitate young people to take everything they’ve learned and become the creative professionals that they have always wanted to be and to help them forge the career they always dreamed off.

Alongside Liam is Aisling Anderson, who has helped bring the vision to life creating the brand identity and taking the lead on all things visual. Aisling joined the team in 2023 and before moving back to Dumfries worked as a Freelance Producer for multiple theatre organisations in Edinburgh including Edinburgh Footlights, with Queen Margaret University and her own theatre company.

Liam is also the Founder of Stomping Ground Creative, a company dedicated to providing music production and education in Dumfries and Galloway and has allowed him to create the incredible new Geez a Choon project, where 6 young musicians will be taken through the process of writing, producing, recording and releasing new music whilst helping them to find opportunities to perform. The team will also hook young people up with industry professional tools to equip them for a career in  the industry.

The team are keen to hear from young people who have a creative idea and want to get involved with any of the events or opportunities they have available to make sure that UP YER AIRTS is what it needs to be for young people. You can get in touch with your ideas and get real events industry experience, put on your own events and tell them what other creative opportunities would support you to build your creative skills for the future that you want to see in the world.

The initiative will harness the punk ethos of no-one is going to do it for young people so let’s do it ourselves. The vision was created after consultation with groups of young people across the region and it is about harnessing the culture of doing it yourself which is a big shift compared to anything that has been created in the region in the past; no longer is it about adults dictating to young people what they will enjoy, it’s young people curating a future for themselves in the industry.

UP YER AIRTS will promote a sense of ownership and allow young people to own their identity and have a sense of belonging in the region, to show that they are proud of what they have to offer the world and gain the confidence to achieve whatever they set out to do themselves and take ownership of their creativity.

The project has already gone from strength to strength and with the visionary leadership of Liam Russell and young people injecting fresh ideas into where it goes in the future, there is no doubt that this newly created model for young people to lead the way in the industry will create something very special and that young people of D&G can be proud off.

And we can’t forget our Chief Happiness Officer Mr Pig! Now accepting fan mail!