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Young Artist Bursary

Empowering and working alongside young people has always been at the heart of what we do at Phakama. Supporting young people's creativity is what drives us and makes this organisation special.

We want to encourage and support young people to bring their creative ideas to life by offering seed funding of up to £1000 a year to a creative young person or group aged 16-25.


We hope that this seed funding will give them the opportunity to test out ideas, and develop their creativity whilst complementing Phakama’s vision.


This bursary should help young people realise their potential to create and lead daring projects! 

Each young person is also paired with one of our Associate Artists who acts as a mentor, through the project process. 

The Young Artist Bursary helped me to create and gain the exact experience I was looking for.


- Lizzie, joint 2018 Young Artist Bursary Awardee

It's an opportunity every young artist longs for. 


- Ellis, 2017 Young Artist Bursary Awardee 

We are now accepting project proposals for our 2021 Young Artist Bursary -  for more info download the brief here.

2020 Artist Bursary Project: 
Lily Richards - Community Craft Collective

Inspired by Arvind Gupta's toys from trash, Lily began looking for ways to make juggling clubs and balls from waste materials such as broken bicycle inner tubes, single use plastic and used foil.

Lily's work uses materials that are free and globally accessible with the aim of improving mental health in refugee communities through design, craft and juggling.

Juggling helps the two sides of the brain communicate and can reduce anxiety and depression. Research proves that whatever your age, practicing a complex new skill like juggling can be very beneficial.

A young woman is standing in the snow creating giant bubbles. A young girl runs towards the bubble.

Image by Lily Richards

The original project plan would have seen Lily take her materials and skills to refugee camps in Greece, running craft workshops to create circus skills toys out of waste materials, simultaneously improving mental health through creativity and cleaning up the environment the refugees live in, forging creative relations through a shared community practice.


Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic this was not possible, so Lily has been working to turn her practice into an easy to use online handbook which can be accessed in multiple languages - you can download a copy here.

Past Young Artist Bursary Projects:

Eloïse Poulton & Elinor Lipman
An elderly lady with pink hair and glitter on her face looks at the camera and makes the 'ok' sign with her hand.



Bad Aunts is an intergenerational comedy, discussing the underrepresentation and often reductive depiction of older women in mainstream entertainment, that had a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019.

Phakama supported the recording of a podcast and the delivery of a community focus group, both discussed "female ageing in the arts" with women aged 40-70. The findings from these were used as material for script development. 

Two young women look at the camera while they high five in the air between them. Behind them is a brick wall.


14 young people, aged 17-25 were recruited to be part of Loop'n'link's first production "What If *" addressing the subject of migration in East London. Over two intensive weeks in August, Belisa and Elizabeth worked with performers, musicians, designers and spoken word artists and technicians, to create a multi disciplinary performance from scratch.

Every aspect of the production was lead by a young person including the documentary, promotion, tech and documentation.

Lizzie Adejimi & Belisa Branças
Ellis Lewis-Dragstra
a black and white cartoon image of a mans head wearing a cap backwards. Blue and red strips cover and circle the image.

Ellis Lewis-Dragstra was awarded our first Young Artist Bursary.  The By Artist Gallery is a roaming pop up gallery, inviting emerging artists of any practice and any subject matter to display their work.  


The gallery was launched at Rich Mix during their Youth Take Over Festival. 13 talented young artists exhibited their work, 69% had never exhibited their work outside of school or University before.