Meet the Young Producers

NPG Young Producers is a collective of 15 young people aged 18-21, who will work across the Gallery from October 2023 to March 2024 to deliver two after-hours lates for other young people aged 16-25. Think live music, performances, film screenings, artist talks, workshops, quiet spaces and more. The Gallery will stay open late, exclusively for young people as they takeover and host their events!

For youth events at the Gallery to be inclusive, accessible, creative and relevant to creative young Londoners, we believe the decision-making should lie with them. By young people, for young people.

The programme offers creative and professional development for young people interested in using the Collection and spaces as a platform to test ideas, learn new skills, and develop a network of peers. Each member of the collective receives a bursary, travel expenses, mentoring, support from colleagues across the Gallery and more.

Date for your diary – Monday 27 November 19.00-21.30 – the Young Producers will produce their first youth late. Details to be revealed soon, so keep your eyes peeled on the Youth pages for more info....

Read on to hear directly from the group – and we hope to welcome you to our event soon!

Selfie of a young woman wearing a black t-shirt
Bukunmi

Bukunmi (she/her)

I’m Bukunmi and I am currently in my first year studying Civil Engineering. Alongside this, I am also a consultant for the Mission 44 Youth Advisory Board, in which I provide insights into how young people can get involved in STEM and the creative industries.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

Being a Young Producer allows me to develop as a creative and learn from people with different lived experiences. Due to my love for art and STEM, I am always looking for interdisciplinary ways to disrupt different industries and bridge the gap between the private and public sectors. Therefore being a Young producer will allow me to design events that explore different themes.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

A successful cultural event is something that pays homage to its roots but also allows new interpretations in a funky and charismatic way. It is important to understand the context in which things are created and the perspectives of the people that made them.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

Our generation is very curious and are constantly exploring new ideas and creating movements. By being a part of the NPG, we can use our events to aid the current generation in evoking discussion and creating positive disruption in the art world.

Selfie of a young woman wearing a black headscarf and pale top
Mara

Mara (she/her)

My name is Mara, I am currently on a gap year pursuing creative opportunities and hope to study International Relations and Politics next year. I volunteer as a Young Scout Leader and often help run heritage workshops at schools. In my free time I like to code, paint, read and enjoy gardening. Currently, I’m experimenting with mixed media art, making short videos, clips and films for social media and film festivals.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I wanted to work with like-minded creatives in a new environment and explore the historic institution that is the NPG. Having the opportunity to network with industry professionals and having the honour to host late night events celebrating the work of incredible artists would be amazing and hugely impactful.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

A successful cultural event engages with the audience, creating a memorable experience that fosters an appreciation of good art, music, food, poetry, and good company. London is a city rich with diversity and history a good event will celebrate the cities unique youth culture and people.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

A historical institution such as the NPG has an amazing opportunity to celebrate and explore the diverse youth culture in London. We can help represent the often-neglected global majority and identities within the British arts and heritage sector and encourage younger voices to witness this reclamation and recognition of this diverse culture. Furthermore, by running events we can engage, celebrate, and find young voices and help foster this novice culture, perhaps away from social media and within a creative physical space.

Selfie of a young man, who has pink hair and wears a jacket covered in badges, sitting with a dog
Elio

Elio (he/him)

I am going into my final year of BA Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion, so I spend a lot of my time visiting the theatre and gushing over the costumes. I’m originally from Bristol, where I fell in love with activism and queer history - which inspires a lot of the work I create & consume.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a young producer as I spend a lot of my time at the National Portrait Gallery and I’m fascinated with how other young people access and interact with the works so many older people just walk straight past. I also want to build connections with those young people who may not think that London galleries & museums have a place for them, as I was in this opinion when I first started visiting galleries solo.

What do you think makes a successful arts event?

I think what makes a successful cultural event is the sharing of ideas and experiences which may not have been verbalised or expressed otherwise. After a couple really difficult years, just having a physical space where young people can be together is incredibly important as these discussions start to organically happen again.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

Youth culture in London is so often conflated with club and nightlife culture, but museums & galleries can provide an alternative for this- if the galleries actually embrace their young visitors. The reopening of the National Portrait Gallery is the perfect opportunity to embrace the vibrant and growing community of young museum & gallery visitors, helping to provide a space where we can finally bring our ideas to the table.

Photo of a young woman in front of sculptural objects, wearing a grey coat and holding a white mug
Barakat

Barakat (she/her)

I’m Barakat and I’m a social campaigner and architecture student hoping to curate a better world.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

Being a Young producer means Access. Galleries and museums are some of the most beautiful places - with so much history and so many rich stories within their walls. I’m part of this programme to open doors and foster a revolution of cultural exchange.

What do you think makes a successful arts event?

I want our spaces to overflow with stories and shared experience and love and community. A place for the diaspora to connect with the motherland. I hope to cultivate these environments for raw and honest conversation, uplifting and inspiring the collective.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

The National Portrait Gallery is uniquely placed in our city's artistic interface. It has the power to champion new ideas and pioneer new systems of thought within the rigid structure of historical art.

Mirror selfie of a young woman wearing a blue bomber jacket
Kesensa

Kesensa (she/her)

I am currently exploring what I want to do in life while on my gap year before I undertake my undergraduate degree in International Relations. I am a writer first and foremost - that is my true love and passion. My love for people and community seeps into all the work that I do.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a Young Producer because of my desire to bring people together but for something purposeful and with meaning. I want to learn the skills necessary to bring together the ideas and projects I have in my head.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

A successful cultural event is one that centres the people that it is for and doesn’t further marginalize them into the background as bystanders. It must also be inclusive and accessible that way everyone of all ages and backgrounds are reached - more often than not people from low socio-economic backgrounds miss out on a lot of things regarding so-called “culture” due to lack of accessibility.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

I think with the mix of genuineness, excitement and drive that NPG has - that will allow us to make a difference with youth culture and most importantly connect with the youth on a grounding level.

Photo of a young woman wearing a short-sleeved yellow top, seated in front of a wall covered in drawings
Catalina

Catalina (she/her)

Hii! My name is Cat. I’m a final year Geography student at UCL. I work as a mentor for first year university students, and as a background actor in films.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a Young Producer because I wanted the opportunity to give back to the art scene in London that I have fallen in love with since moving here. I also could not pass up a chance of getting involved in a scheme that centres young people’s voices within an industry that often fails to do so.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

A successful arts event sparks conversation and continues to inspire even when it’s over. For me, art is created primarily to move people so a successful arts event should strive to do the same.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

The NPG can support young people in London to embrace their creativity and encourage more uplifting conversations surrounding personal identity and potential futures. The youth culture in London is so strong, and the NPG has the chance to allow more individuals to realise this, to help them wholeheartedly accept themselves and flourish because of it.

Selfie of a young woman with long hair, wearing a black vest top
Grace

Grace (she/her)

I’m Grace, a French and Linguistics student at Oxford University.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

Applying to become a Young Producer seemed like a no-brainer. Whilst at Uni, I’ve fallen in love with helping to coordinate art events, as part of the committee for Oxford’s Art History society, The Edgar Wind Society.

Grasping at what it means to reframe the black figure within the creative world has done nothing but excite me. I want to help put in the work to remove the superfluous lenses of fetishisation, colonialism, and generalisation that are often aggressively propelled towards the perception of the black artist. Frantz Fanon says it best in his book, Black Skin, White Masks, in which he urges his black brother and sister ‘to shake off most energetically the lamentable livery set up by centuries of incomprehension.’ Being misunderstood, I believe, is as harmful as being silenced.

What do you think makes a successful arts event?

This is why, in programming cultural events, vigour and dynamism is always important - my most memorable nights are always complemented by blaring music, dancing and screeching laughter. I’m thrilled to be involved in programming some exciting events.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

I want the National Portrait Gallery to begin its evolution into the fiery nucleus of youth culture, in being an agitator for creation and self-belief, and a reminder that the whole world is ours for the taking.

Selfie of a young person with short hair under a red parasol
Shaula

Shaula (she/they)

I'm a queer creative and work as a museum assistant for the London Transport Museum. I dabble in pen illustration, which I may pursue further, and I write poetry and short stories.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a young producer because it's a great opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes for museum events and exhibitions. The exhibitions I've seen have often impacted my thinking and changed me for the better, and I want to know how to do the same for others and to understand the planning behind my experiences.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

To me, a successful cultural event is sensory and appeals to empathy, and is open to as many people as possible while still remaining true to itself and its cultural significance. It does not need to be rooted in universal experience, it should be impactful and inspire empathy without simply relying on memory or experiences to be pulled from, it should inspire a combination of understanding and also awareness that you do not understand, that everyone understands, and nobody does. I believe the most successful cultural events almost overwhelm the viewer through visuals, audio, environment, et cetera - I think to be successful they should be an event, an experience, and a physically rooted space, open to all but without comprising on its meaning or specifics.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

I believe the NPG can provide an accessible space of art, portraits as a genre of art are already, in my opinion, one of the most accessible as they act to capture personality and emotion, which everyone can relate to and understand. For youth culture in London, NPG can be a space to explore art without the pressure of 'needing' a background in it, and, with events like Friday night lates, to meet like-minded people without feeling the pressure to jump through as many hoops.

Photo of a young man standing next to a horse in its stable
Jack

Jack (he/him/his)

I’m Jack and I study Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. My practice is very much an act of introspection, attempting to take inspiration from everything everywhere, particularly recalling past experiences and the people I have encountered during them.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a Young Producer for several compelling reasons, one of which was an opportunity to contribute to the broader cultural landscape within the nation’s youth population. I'm inspired by the idea of curating and producing events that engage people from a range of diverse backgrounds and past experiences. I believe in the transformative power of art to inspire conversations, bridge gaps, and foster a sense of belonging. Moreover, the NPG’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and representing a wide range of voices aligns perfectly with my values. I'm excited about the prospect of working with a team that champions diversity and strives to make art and youth culture accessible to all.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

To me, a successful cultural event is one that has diversity and inclusivity at the forefront of its purpose and eradicates any sort of toxic pretence or affectation. All cultural events should aim to represent a diverse range of perspectives, traditions, backgrounds, and voices, which in turn creates a powerful sense of unity and belonging, making it accessible and enjoyable for a broader audience.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

I hope through the Young Producers programme that the NPG will recognise and represent the vigour and glamour of youth, the tribal energy of youth subcultures, and the substantial impact the youth of London have on the arts scene. Subcultures provide new, alternative realities for the youths who join them and feel empowered by them; the dedication of youth to these alternative realities, and the lengths they will go to maintain their commitment to their renewed identity within a subculture, comprises and emotional bond that I aim for the NPG to represent in their cultural events planning and production, showcasing the procession of youth as a vast, visionary, and ageless picture, where the need for individualism and belonging, resentment of authority, desire for excitement remains at the heart of their values.

Polaroid photo of a young woman wearing a purple top
Genesis

Genesis (she/her)

I’m Genesis! I’m a Photojournalism & Documentary Photography/Filmmaking Student at UAL, and currently Creative Publicity Intern. I'm really passionate about music and arts, growing up around a very lively environment; from attending gigs and showcases shaped a lot of my interests, and documenting these spaces. I love being able to merge all of those things in some way.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied for the young producers programme thinking about all the exhibitions, screenings and gigs that I've been to and left inspired. I’ve always loved how events bring people together to discuss, spark some new interests, network or just see some cool art, and wanted to be able to do the same. This is a great opportunity to do that with like minded people, getting proper insight into the process.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

I think an understanding of audience, community and history make a great cultural event, as well pushing your ideas and being innovative with what an event can be enhancing the event setting/mood. Really showing how you connect with people, and who you are in the process.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

I think with more programmes like this with the NPG, it helps create more relevant workshops, talks etc for young people to be involved.

Photo of a young woman with a wide grin next to a bust sculpture of Einstein
Aliya

Aliya (she/her)

I’m Aliya and I am starting my undergraduate degree in Art History at Cambridge. I love talking about art with anyone and everyone who will listen. My hobbies include knitting, cooking, and going out with my friends.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a Young Producer because I want art and galleries to be accessible to young people.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

I love going to these events myself and am excited to engage with the exhibitions. I hope people leave these events more curious and informed than when they came. My aim in being a Young Producer is to give young people the chance to witness and question what it means to be a cultural institution in the 21st century.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

NPG holds people as both subject and creator, and thus gives young people the chance to engage creatively with their own identities. Living in a world oversaturated with selfies and social media, it is important to reflect on the faces that made history and what makes them important today.

Selfie of a young woman with glasses and a lime green top, smiling at the camera
Elisha

Elisha (she/her)

I’m a final year English Literature and Linguistics student at QMUL, coming back from my year abroad in Seoul, South Korea.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a Young Producer because I wanted to participate in making the arts industry more accessible to young people from all backgrounds. It’s important to show a future in the arts can not only be enriching, but viable and beneficial, irrespective of ethnicity or class.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

I think a successful cultural event is defined by the impact it has on its attendees. If they can leave with an impression, question or critical thought on the subject of the event, then it has been executed successfully. Even more successful if the event creates ripples, with attendees going on to share with their inner circles what these thoughts were, and so on.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

The NPG provides a supportive environment for like-minded young people in the arts with a programme that not only nurtures their creativity but also transferrable skills to supplement their career. In this way, they are pioneering an initiative that is available to all young creatives in one of the biggest cultural hubs of the world.

Illustration of a young woman wearing glasses, with rays of yellow emanating around her
Gabrielle

Gabrielle (she/her)

I’m Gabrielle. I studied English Lit. at Uni, and now work in Higher Ed. Marketing and Communications. I like ceramics, textiles, and taking pictures of the many, many dogs of London :)

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I wanted to be a Young Producer because I’ve always been drawn to the NPG’s Collection. To me, these portraits contain stories passed down through generations, so to be connected to this history and its future is something I was really excited by.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

I think a successful cultural event focuses on inclusivity, and makes sure that people of all backgrounds feel welcome and empowered in a space. It unearths histories and stories that were once pushed aside, and serves as a platform for discussion and new thinking.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

I think the NPG can play a huge role for youth culture in London – I like the idea of the gallery as a meeting point for different people, all united by a desire for art! With a mix of historical and contemporary works, I like to envision the NPG as a community 'archive' especially for those of us who can’t imagine being the subjects of a painting.

Selfie of a young woman in front of a wall planner, smiling at the camera
Rachel

Rachel (she/her)

I recently graduated with a degree in Art History and am based between Leeds and London. I am particularly interested in British art of the 20th and 21st-century art and am looking forward to exploring the exhibitions and collections at the National Portrait Gallery. I am enthusiastic about access and education within the arts and have volunteered with local galleries to assist with learning workshops.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a Young Producer at the National Portrait Gallery because I am passionate about pursuing a career in arts programming. I am excited to participate in this unique opportunity to gain practical experience in producing engaging and informative events for young people at the National Portrait Gallery. I am excited to collaborate with other young and creative individuals to develop the Youth Private Views and acquire new skills in the industry.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

I think it is important for a cultural event to have a clear and compelling theme or message that resonates with young audiences, whether through a thought-provoking exhibition, an engaging performance, or an inspiring keynote speaker. Additionally, having a passionate and dedicated team of organisers who are committed to the event's success can ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience for attendees.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

I think the National Portrait Gallery plays a crucial role in promoting youth culture in London by showcasing the works of emerging artists. Additionally, through the gallery's programme of workshops, talks, and events, young people can engage with art in a meaningful way, which can help cultivate a new generation of art enthusiasts, further contributing to the continued growth and development of London's vibrant cultural scene.

Photo of a young woman wearing a white vest top
Cleo

Cleo (she/her)

I’m Cleo, and I'm in my third of year of studying History of Art at The University of Oxford.

Why did you apply to be a Young Producer?

I applied to be a Young Producer because I love planning - and going to! - arts events. The National Portrait Gallery has an incredible Collection to work with, so I'm looking forward to being able to incorporate this into the events we plan.

What do you think makes a successful cultural event?

I think that a successful cultural event centres itself around the artwork or Collection, and brings it to life through music, performances, and community.

What role do you think the NPG can play for youth culture in London?

The National Portrait Gallery has a big role to play for youth culture in London by providing a free space for young people to meet, as well as learn about art and culture first hand.