Ashley Smith-Hammond

2018 will be Scotland’s Year of Young People. how can your organisation get involved?


The Scottish Government and Visit Scotland have branded 2018 the ‘Year of Young People’ (YOYP2018) in the latest in the successful ‘Year Of…’ series. The aim is to turn the spotlight on young people across the country and give them a chance to shine, as well as inspiring audiences and visitors with new exhibitions and events.

While the year itself is still some time away, planning now can secure your opportunity to make the most of the funding and visibility YOYP2018 will offer.

Themed years have been in operation since 2011. We are currently in the midst of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology (HHA2017), which has already shown success in highlighting Scotland’s rich history and encouraging visitors to cultural sites and events. Events going on at the moment include TradFest in Edinburgh and an International Festival of Weaving in Paisley.

What kinds of events will 2018 bring and how can your organisation get involved?

Your organisation’s year of opportunity

2018 will bring a huge amount of opportunity for young people across Scotland, but as with all ‘Year Of…’ events, there is also a great deal of opportunity for the country’s cultural organisations. Various funding opportunities and grants are up for grabs as part of YOYP2018. But you will need to get in soon.

Event Scotland is inviting applications to their Open Event fund. It’s specifically designed to provide support for events and festivals that will “capture the imagination, resonate strongly with the objectives for the year and provide strong opportunities for celebration, engagement and high levels of participation”. The closing date for applications is June 2017.

Planning is key if you want to be in the best position to secure funding. Start researching now to give yourself and your team plenty of time for creative proposals and ideas. It’s a great idea to involve young people in these early stages in the spirit of YOYP2018.

Children in Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament and Young Scot are also offering financial support to organisations who involve young people in the actual design of their exhibition or event. Applicants will need work hard and in partnership to ensure that young people are at the heart of the exhibition or activity from start to finish; full details are on the YOYP2018 website.

Themes for YOYP2018

At the core of the YOYP2018 is not just an awareness of and focus on young people, but real participation and collaboration with them.

The Scottish Government is working towards achieving this with the help of The Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Scotland, and Young Scot. These three groups have all ensured young people have had their say about what they want to highlight in 2018 through a two-year consultation process.

The results of this consultation were the main themes for the year ahead:

  • Culture – To celebrate and share the contribution made by young people to Scottish culture and the arts.
  • Education – Encourage young people to have more of a say in their education and learning.
  • Enterprise and regeneration – Celebrate young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live.
  • Equality and discrimination – Recognise the positive impact of young people in Scotland and encourage the youth to take the lead in challenging all forms of prejudice and discrimination.
  • Health and wellbeing – Make sure young people have the chance to lead healthy, active lives and understand the importance of mental health and resilience.
  • Participation – Give young people the chance to influence decisions that affect their lives.

To get involved in the conversation and keep up to date with what’s going on follow the hashtag #YOYP2018.

Main image credit: University Life 133 by Francisco Osorio (CC BY-NC 2.0)