Project UCAY

bg_semitransThe aim of Urban Culture and Youth (UCAY) is to acquire knowledge from European good practices in the field of culture and youth, and then to use this knowledge in developing training programmes for (semi) professional practitioners who work with (high-risk) urban youth through sports and the arts.

The main concern behind project UCAY is about the future of a considerable group of (high-risk) youth in urban areas in the Netherlands. Alongside this concern, however, opportunities have been observed in the cultural context of these young people.

Research has shown that the Netherlands is one of the worst countries in Europe when it comes to young people dropping out of school. These young people are interested in the arts and sports, these are apparently two very important themes in their lives.

In the practice of the professional sector, however, very little is done to pursue these interests. We consider this to be a missed opportunity, as active participation in the arts and sports can be an ideal vehicle for contributing to the empowerment of young people. This is because, by using sports and the arts, you are addressing youth through possibilities and opportunities, instead of limitations.

Project UCAY is aiming to ensure that risks in the lives of urban youth are reduced, to prevent them from dropping out of school, for them to gain access to the labour market and to increase the flow of students from secundary vocational education to universities of higher professional education. We want (high-risk) urban youth to develop competences which will enable them to be a part of a society of lifelong learning, and to promote their participation in contemporary urban society.

To put it in concrete aims and objectives, project UCAY is focusing on:

– Promoting active citizenship for (high-risk) urban youth.
– Learning to give (high-risk) urban youth the feeling that they matter, that they belong to something (peer group, family, local community, world).
– Learning to be significant for (high-risk) urban youth in the sense of persuading them to return to school or start to work.
– Learning to adequately equip (high-risk) urban youth so that they are able to participate in a society in which lifelong learning is key.
– Learning to recognize talent and spot the development of talent in (high-risk) urban youth. This concerns the talents of individuals (everyone has a talent for something), but also the development of talent in an artistic or sporting discipline or in the area of leadership of the peer group itself.
– Learning to coach individual (high-risk) urban youth in taking charge of their own lives.
– Learning to apply artistic and sporting activities as a means to giving meaning and significance to the lives, ambitions and dreams of (high-risk) urban youth.
– Learning to use culture as a unifying force in diverse contexts. Offering a protective arena for learning to work together, no matter how different (high-risk) urban youth may be when it comes to ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status and educational background.
– Learning to apply cultural participation for developing basic competences such as critical thinking, creativity and a sense of entrepeneurship (including managing your own ambitions).


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