The project & our approach

Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs (AYCH) is a 44-months project of European collaboration involving 14 partners from the Atlantic Area located in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal. The aim is to develop an innovative model to strengthen the employability of young people between 16 and 30 years old in the cultural and creative industries. AYCH gives long-term support to participants in order to: raise their awareness of entrepreneurship, help them to develop their projects, support some of them up to the creation of an activity and direct others towards training, internships or jobs.

©Sarah Packer, Plymouth College of Art.
The lead partner attending a workshop with young people.

Our sincere aim in the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs project is to do more than fill the gap in what is missing in mandatory education. AYCH allows us to break free from a restrictive education model and give opportunities to young people that haven’t previously had the circumstances to explore their true interests or discover those that are unknown to them. Young people often find themselves tethered into a way of learning which belongs to a previous age. AYCH aims to change that. 

The global challenges that we face will have the greatest impact on our young people and the generations that follow: the climate emergency, growing inequalities, access to clean water, population growth, habitat and species loss, etc. We should listen to, encourage, enable and equip young people to find short and long-term solutions to the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world in which we live and the global challenges that we cannot ignore. And at the same time enable young people to live independent, fulfilling lives.

AYCH does this by working with young people to design more expansive learning opportunities where interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches are not extraordinary, where Key Enabling Technologies are used alongside pen and paper, where geopolitical boundaries are unimportant and where solution finding is shared.

This approach is essential as the remit of mandatory education narrows and because opportunity is often rationed according to affluence. AYCH gives opportunities to all participating young people, regardless of their background or previous experiences. Opportunities to discover or explore their true interests and sometimes to re-invent themselves. We do this by:

  • Learning from previous projects but not being limited by them
  • Practising what we preach by being innovative, prototyping, maximising our joint resources, and collaborating
  • Learning by doing and exposing young people to Key Enabling Technologies
  • Creating a critical mass of entrepreneurially minded individuals
  • Promoting life in a world where transnational interaction and mutual respect is the norm
  • Creating lasting networks and celebrating our capacity to innovate together

The willingness to disseminate
our best practices over 4-years
and especially on this final event.

The partnership

The INTERREG AYCH transnational project involves multiple partners from France, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom. This cultural and organisational diversity is a strength in the way to deliver our key actions. Each Hub has its own expertise and adapts actions to its targeted audience and cultural specificities. 

For more information, visit our website

  • Ashton Community Trust
  • Atlantic Cities Association
  • Ayuntamiento de Gijón
  • Brest métropole
  • Câmara Muncipal de Santo Tirso 
  • Devon County Council
  • Grand Angoulême 
  • L’École de design Nantes Atlantique 
  • Pacificstream
  • Plymouth City Council 
  • Plymouth College of Art
  • Vida Láctea 
  • Space* Youth Service 

Partners at the Steering Committee Meeting
before the Gijón Transnational Creative Jam,
April 2019.

Our actions

The AYCH project is about personal and life changing positive experiences for both young people and partners. We wanted to give a voice to all the partners who have implemented the AYCH project by recording their testimony in a podcast series. Starting from the European Week in October 2020, we are going to release one episode a week on Spotify.

The AYCH project aims to give the opportunity for young people who haven’t had the circumstances to explore their true interests and unlock their capacity to innovate within traditional education models. In order to offer young participants the possibility of having a collaborative, transdisciplinary, transnational and experiential learning process, the AYCH project has put in place 6 cornerstone approaches:

These are intensive 3-day long annual events that bring together all the AYCH project partners as well as young people from across the Atlantic area and beyond. The events follow the AYCH creative approach: 1) Discover, 2) Learn & Explore and 3) Solve & Create, through a series of hands-on activities and workshops where the young participants experience and practise creative, enterprise and Key Enabling Technologies skills. An essential activity in the Transnational Creative Jams is the Hackathon, the final challenge where young participants, in transnational teams, bring their ideas to life through quick and dirty prototyping and pitch them in front of their peers, specialists and a jury.

The local version of the Transnational Creative Jam. Usually, a 2 to 3-day intensive hands-on, creative event organised by an AYCH partner or hub. It brings together local participants to experience the AYCH creative approach: 1) Discover, 2) Learn & Explore and 3) Solve & Create. The organiser partner adapts the methodology to the specific needs and resources of their hub. Some specialists and young people from other hubs can participate in mentoring activities.

Is a programme that allows the participant to transform their ideas into reality and start or develop their creative business. The participants go through an intensive series of workshops and experiences, followed by on-going follow-up support. AYCH Hubs customise the Idea Incubation Programme for their own organisation and the young people with whom they work.

Evolved from the Idea Incubation Programme as a response to the restrictions imposed during the Coronavirus pandemic. The evolution of the Idea Incubation Programme highlights the adaptability of AYCH partners as well as matching with the fundamental values of the project: being able to adapt in a changing world. Online versions of workshops, meetups and mentoring are highly successful and transferable.

These are 5 days of immersive experiences where the participants develop their idea from the incubation in another hub with other young participants, possibly in another language and in another culture. Whether the experience is transnational or not, the participant accesses different equipment, expertise, and experiences local traditional skills. For example, Santo-Tirso is a popular residency because of their textile history, Angoulême attracts young people as a world-leading centre for animation and the Plymouth College of Art for their Art/ Glass/ Craft/ Fashion/ Fab Lab facilities and expertise. Residencies match the young person and their desire to develop an idea or activity with a hub initially for one week, but longer-term relationships develop from them.

Evolved from the Residencies and International Residences as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic. These are the equivalent of 5 days of an immersive experience where participants work with experts and young people from another hub on a joint project or to master a new skill sometimes mirroring the same equipment at each participating hub. Despite the difficulties this new approach has been incredibly successful for a Space (UK)  and Brest métropole (France) international music residency and a Space (UK) and Plymouth College of Art (UK) technical residency.

Were initially meant to be paid or unpaid work experiences or placements in private or public institutions where the young person would work for two weeks as a mutually beneficial experience for the host and the intern. The Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty and restrictions made internships more difficult to implement. We have found that a less prescriptive model in terms of placement duration is a better “fit” for young people and businesses and therefore replaced our 200 x 10 days placements with a target of 400 weeks of placement equivalent.  investigated remote or online internships, and in a few cases, these were successful.

The AYCH Club brings together a group of ambassadors who are young people that have first-hand experience in a variety of different AYCH activities and events over an extended period. Ambassadors are now embedded in and help to co-design AYCH. They form a strong network and will be central to AYCH’s legacy.

©Sarah Packer, Plymouth College of Art.
A mentor pitching at Plymouth Local Creative Jam.
Young people participating in a workshop at the Gijón Creative Jam, 2019

Official results 

You can have a look at the Infographic representation of the official AYCH results.

We will present those outputs on March, Friday 26th.

You can download the AYCH official results here

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development.
Fund through the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme.

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development
Fund through the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme.