The act of writing upon walls is an equally ubiquitous and elemental act, one linked to the primal human desire to decorate, adorn and physically shape the material environment (Rafael Schacter, The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti)

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CIRCUIT (www.circuit.tate.org.uk), an arts programme for young people led by the TATE galleries, encourages youth to respond, participate and provoke public interaction. Rather than designate and separate youth arts away from public life, the ethos of CIRCUIT is to promote cultural diversity led by young people’s agency and physical impact upon the world around them. CIRCUIT’S spokesperson, Mark Miller, attributes the success of the programme to supporting young people’s cultural production, their authentic languages and codes of culture. Miller believes that young people’s art should not be hidden away in studios or enclosed spaces, but rather be unleashed upon society. The goal is to interrupt predictable routines of daily life, with a spirit of independence. In this regard art galleries can become sites of social action, which challenge us to not only think differently but to act differently as well.

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Photo: The Turbine Festival, CIRCUIT, Tate Modern, July 25, 2015

The philosophy of CIRCUIT has infused the development of two arts and health projects called Art Cures and Urban Art Encounters (www.groundswell.ie). In both cases choreography has been developed by young people to respond to their social environment. Physical movement draws upon the art of everyday places and animates perception. Rather than segregating youth arts into enclosed spaces, young people should enact the spirit of life within everyday situations in an immediate way. Making their marks through the manipulation of space, through interactions with the built environment, and through engagement with others, young people can reconfigure the dimensions of lived experience. The ability to spontaneously respond to the world at hand is a life skill and an artistic endeavour. Acts of exposure, taking risks, and investigating the taken for granted means that young people’s actions inspire others to also discard their inhibitions. In this regard youth arts can erupt into daily life and challenge complacency with excitement and an energetic force directed towards letting go.

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