Tate Modern will host a major conference attended by more than 500 young people from across England on Wednesday 26 November 2008. At this, the first conference of its kind in the UK, 11- 19 year olds will present a Manifesto for a Creative Britain comprising eleven manifesto points, the culmination of an eighteen-month consultation with young people up and down the country. Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, will attend and respond to their findings.

Tate, in collaboration with Creative Partnerships, has been finding out what young people feel they need in order to learn, think and act creatively. How could schools be different? What could their teachers and other people working in the creative industries do to help? How could they develop the best environment in which to make creative decisions and form ideas? How do organisations respond to their needs?

More than 200 pupils from 12 schools from across the country (Forest of Dean, Tendering, Kent, Birmingham, Merseyside, Cornwall, Barnsley, Leicester, Bristol, London and Northampton) took part using online discussion, face to face conversations, group debate and video interviews to canvas the views of their peers. As a result, at the conference ten school groups will make a presentation, each outlining one manifesto point. Following further debate, the participants will propose and vote for an 11th point.

More than 3,000 young people have taken part in total nationally including those participating in discussions on the dedicated Tate website, designed and supported by BT, and 2,300 respondents to a MORI poll. 

The Manifesto for a Creative Britain project was launched in May 2007 with a sleepover in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Many pupils attended ambassador training days at the gallery when they explored ways of consulting and representing their peers. A two-day summer school provided a platform for developing the manifesto points.

Commenting on the consultation, Nicholas Serota, Director Tate said:

This important eighteen-month consultation is the first of its kind in this country. We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support for the project and the impressive way in which the young people have delivered their findings and advice. It is vital that they have a say in the creative future of this country and Tate is very privileged to have been able to use their ideas in planning the new development at Tate Modern.

Paul Collard, National Director, Creative Partnerships said:

As a country, the creativity of our young people is the greatest asset we have. If we want to engage more young people in cultural and creative activities, we have to listen to them. This conference is the culmination of an 18 month process that has given young people a voice. Those of us working to offer young people cultural and creative opportunities need to take on board their ideas and empower them to develop their full creative potential.

The conference will take place in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, Bankside SE1 between 13.00 and 15.00.