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Artist Feature

By Framd | 09 October 2019

A fledgling collective helping young artists fly

In the second of our deep dives into art collectives, we wanted to get the lowdown on community-focussed groups, so we sat down with Access and Interpretation Officer, EvaD Ould-Okojie at Gallery Oldham in Greater Manchester and asked what prompted them to focus on young artists in the community.

Go collective

“We wanted to help young people who were at a crossroads in their lives, usually the space where they have finished college, with unsure future plans, yet with a keen interest in art and the creative fields.” says EvaD.

She adds: “From discussions with young people in our area, and college tutors, it was clear there was a specific need, for people who are out of formal education, to get together, meet on a regular basis, have direct access to arts professionals, opportunities to develop their art and improve leadership skills.”

Despite modest numbers and only six months since inception, the GO collective has already run paid workshops, started its own Gold Arts Awards scheme, and has further plans in the pipeline. But at its heart, there seems to be a deeper, more underlying moral purpose behind its existence.


EvaD Ould-Okojie
EvaD Ould-Okojie
Go Collective
Go Collective



Before starting the collective, research was undertaken into the needs and wants of the community and its set up was heavily influenced by groups such as youth engagement programme, Harris Transformers and Curious Minds, a north-west charity that supports young people through the mediums of art and culture. It’s perhaps these influences and the voice of their now members that helped instigate its raison d’etre - to ‘change peoples’ lives’.

More than one route to success

One GO member, Leah Wilson, a young artist not currently studying art but with her own podcast on YouTube, told us that art is very important to her mental health, and that being creative helps her solve problems and allows her to express herself. She joined the collective because she was determined to find a different route to being part of a creative community, other than going to university. She says of the collective: “Most importantly, I’d like it to be an example to others, that there are different ways into the industry. I hope it will bring reassurance and self-confidence to people who may be doubting the path they are on.”

Making a difference

Another member of GO, Amber Queally, hopes that the collective will help her achieve her dream of being a curator and help her further the projects she is interested in. During her BA course in Interactive Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University, she ran a series of events exploring the connections between the artworld, curators and autistic individuals. Having a diagnosis of autism, along with her three siblings, Amber says: “I would like to expand further and work with other special ability schools around the area, these are often overlooked, however, you can find some of the most talented individuals in these schools, they just need to be found and promoted in order to shine!”

Speaking of her own personal experience, she says: “As you can imagine my house is pretty chaotic, but it’s fun and interesting. When I go to an exhibition, I am constantly looking for art that all three of my siblings can enjoy and interact with. The best ones are those that stimulate the sensory needs of my youngest brother who is almost five. If a piece attracts him, I believe it to be a complete success.”

EvaD’s belief that there is a ‘real need’ for young people to be involved in art galleries and museums appears to be correct, not only for the young members themselves, but also for the skills, ambitions and differences they can potentially make for others. She says:

“We need young people to be the driving force of change and to support cultural institutions to adapt and move with the times. We’re really looking forward to seeing what other ideas, workshops and changes the collective come up with in the future.”


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