Outset Professionals

Outset Teen Tours supported by Mishcon de Reya, 2017–2020

Outset Contemporary Art Fund has launched a three-year partnership with law firm Mishcon de Reya to support the continuation of the trailblazing exhibition tours delivered by 13-19-year-olds at The Photographers’ Gallery and across three partner venues from 2017-2020 including The Wallace Collection, The Horniman Museum & Gardens and Royal Museums Greenwich.

The Outset Teen Tours supported by Mishcon de Reya was an educational programme designed to empower young people and inform audiences with fresh perspectives on museum exhibitions. Young speakers were supported to research and deliver twenty-minute tours of exhibitions, giving them an opportunity to develop their critical thinking and public speaking skills. Exhibition audiences had the opportunity to learn from a young perspective and gain valuable insight into art or artefacts on view.

Each young participant received one-to-one mentoring sessions over a period of 6 weeks that helped them to form their own ideas about the exhibition, prepare and deliver their tour, and received feedback and further suggestions by museum curators. The programme involved young people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to speak in public or attend museum exhibitions while increasing their confidence and public speaking skills.

The Outset Teen Tours were delivered to a public audience on a Saturday afternoon. The tour was free for the public to attend and the speaker received a fee for their talk as well as a complimentary, one-year Young Membership at the museum. In addition, all speakers were invited to participate in a designated public speaking workshop with the lawyers of Mishcon de Reya.

The programme was launched by The Photographers’ Gallery in 2005 and supported by Outset since 2014.

Since 2005, The Photographers’ Gallery has regularly invited young people aged 13-19 to lead public tours of our exhibitions. The programme gives young people the opportunity to build confidence and skills in public speaking and offers audiences the chance to see young people in positions of leadership and hear fresh perspectives. Young people were mentored by an Outset Teen Tours Facilitator over a period of 6 weeks to research, prepare and deliver their tour: they attended the staff private view and curators’ tours, and also engaged with various staff members to find out more about the Gallery as well as the exhibitions. 14 tours in total were led by young people aged 13-19 between April 2018 and March 2019, and a total of 248 audience members benefitted from young speakers’ unique perspectives on the exhibitions and collections.

Support from Outset in partnership with Mishcon de Reya enabled The Photographers’ Gallery to achieve the programme’s four key aims in 2018/2019:

  1. Increase the confidence and public speaking skills of young people
  2. Involve young people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to speak in public
  3. Introduce Mishcon de Reya staff as volunteers to the programme
  4. Deliver a symposium on youth-led programming, attended by 74 guests including educators, organisations, teachers and young people including a group of 15 young people from the Create Jobs programme. The event was also live-streamed on YouTube.

On 19 March 2019, a Symposium on Youth-led Programming took place at The Photographers’ Gallery. The session, with a brilliant turn of over 70 people from the sector – educators, youth workers as well as young people from the Create Jobs programme – was an opportunity to learn about and share ways in which young people are working with art organisations both in front and behind, the scenes.

Outset gives me hope that there might still be a chance to support artists and realise projects which will make the art history of tomorrow

Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery