Head, hand, heart: youth-led creative evaluation

19 August 2019

Members of our Young Challenge Group were invited to facilitate the creative evaluation at this year's Royal Opera House Bridge Thriving Child Conference

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On 28th June 2019, three members of our Young Challenge Group (the youth advisory and advocacy group for Challenge London) facilitated the creative evaluation at the Royal Opera House Bridge Thriving Child Conference 2019.

The group were invited to respond to a brief from the Royal Opera House Bridge team to design and facilitate:

  • a visual evaluation to capture attendees’ feedback on the event and actions they will take forward in a creative way
  • ideas to facilitate networking and help attendees engage in a talking point at the end of the conference

Across two focused planning sessions, supported by members of the A New Direction team (and fuelled by bao buns), the group designed three unique creative evaluation activities to dive deeper into the conference attendees experience of, and takeaways from, the day.

Sinead, one of the Young Challenge Group members involved in the project, shares her experience of the day...


My name is Sinead, I’m 16 and I’m a member of the Young Challenge Group (YCG), an advocacy group of young people from all over London, who have each joined the YCG to make a positive impact on London. We have done this over the past year and a half by advising on distributing Challenge London investment to different programmes who have presented a desire for change e.g. Creating Justice, led by London Bubble and their research about drama intervention for at risk young people.

Another part of our remit also includes the support of cultural education, which is where the Thriving Child conference comes in. The Thriving Child conference brought arts and culture leaders and experts together at the Royal Opera House, and we were invited along to assist with evaluation.

First, we heard from Kitty Stewart, an Associate Professor of Social Policy at LSE, who spoke about the causes and consequences of child poverty, and the relationship between income and wider outcomes and policy for children. Kitty’s talk was visibly a shakeup within the hall, as all the statistics presented on child poverty were so concise and a lot higher than anyone could have expected. I thoroughly enjoyed this first part as it was a shock to see just how many children living in poverty were inaccessible for arts and culture intervention e.g. cultural trips and workshops, art days and more.

The next speaker was Darren Chetty, a former primary school teacher and currently a Teaching Fellow at the UCL Institute of Education. Darren’s talk was on multiculturalism and representation within children’s book. This lecture spoke to me the most as growing up BAME, I didn’t see myself in most of the children books we read in primary school or at all in the ones we studied.

Our third speaker was Sonia Livingstone, a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She researches media audiences, with a focus on children and young people’s risk and opportunities, media literacy, and rights in the digital environment. Her talk was on this and presented the audience with a new perspective. This perspective was on how children digest media content and how they use it to shape themselves and their character. This is interesting to see when they interact with other children and recreate what they've seen on television, film and in the media.

After these three talks, we left the hall to go and set up the activities and get ready for our own presentation. Although we didn’t get to see them because we were waiting backstage, other speakers and performers include Baroness Beeban Kidron, Adam Annand, Dominic Wyse, Pat Thomson, Akala, the Palace Young Company and the Gifted Young Generation.

We had designed 3 different activities for the evaluation, based around the 3 areas we think change happens:

  • Head– how you think
  • Heart– how you feel
  • Hand  – what you do (any actions you might be taking forward or something you might do differently)

At our Head section, we had a pegboard where you could clip a new thought you wanted to share onto a ‘Washing Line of Fresh Ideas’.

At our Heart activity, we had seeded plant paper and encouraged people to plant their thoughts; to sow, so they could later reap (metaphorically) their thoughts and wishes for the future.

At Hand, we had clay where you could make a quick sculpture that showed an action you wanted to take forward or something you’d do differently because of the conference.

These evaluation techniques proved successful and the majority of people said they enjoyed participating in this evaluation process.

Thank you for reading and have a nice day!


Find out more about the Thriving Child Conference 2019 on the Royal Opera House Bridge website here.

Find out more about the Young Challenge Group