Young photographers to chronicle Norfolk and Norwich Festival

An exhibition chronicling the long history of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival is being created by young unemployed people in Norwich.

The Festival City project, which is aimed at young people aged between 17 and 25 from the YMCA, has been exploring the cultural heritage of the longest-running city-based arts festival.

The young people will hold a digital exhibition at The Forum in Norwich between July 2 and 4.

Harry Matthews, 21, who is known as Ginger Harry, lives in the YMCA accommodation at Throckmorton Yard, off Magdalen Street. He is a peer leader for the project.

He said they have already been to the Norfolk Record Office to research the festival venues through the years.

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He does not have a job and did not enjoy his traditional school education. 'I feel so privileged to work with the photographer. He is so friendly and professional,' he said.

'Our stuff is going to be exhibited at The Forum which is really cool. I have learnt how to edit using I Photo and Photoshop. I hadn't been taught any of these things before.

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'I suffer from anxiety, so I was really anxious about doing this project at first, but I am with a group of like-minded people.'

He said that although photography was a hobby for him, he hoped he might be able to tie it into a job in the future and perhaps wanted to be a youth worker in the future. He said the project was a great way of gaining practical experience and a qualification.

The exhibition will be about the people and places who have taken part in the festival in the past few hundred years. As well as working with professional photographers, the young people will work alongside broadcast journalists, historians, international performers and sound designers.

They will also have the chance to take a level one or two arts award.

Tim Sweeting, chief executive of YMCA Norfolk, said: 'YMCA Norfolk is very proud to be working with Culture Works and the festival on this important project.

'The young people involved are thrilled with the opportunity and are producing some fantastic work. We are very much looking forward to seeing the results of their training and commitment at the end of the project and are very excited about showcasing their creative talents to the greater community in Norfolk.'

Elli Chapman, from Culture Works East, said: 'Festival City is an exciting project that gives participants a unique insight into the Norfolk and Norwich Festival whilst gaining first-hand experience of what it is like to work in the creative industries. They are working alongside inspirational industry experts and tutors to help them develop all the skills required to bring their ideas to life. Festival City gives them a chance to get their voices heard in the community, to participate in decision making, showcase their talents, develop lifelong skills, improve personal and social skills and explore potential career pathways. Already, participants are discussing how they might use their experience in the future, including becoming a volunteer at community station Future Radio, using it to gain a place on training courses or becoming a photographer.'

It is a youth-led project, with the young people involved in making all the key decisions. The Festival City production group will be responsible for marketing, invigilating and reviewing the public exhibition.

They will also take part in research visits to galleries and exhibitions.

Are you taking part in an interesting project? Contact reporter Annabelle Dickson on 10603 772426, or e-mail

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