Ikon Youth Programme reveals 2021 project

Slow Boat launching for the Summer.

For ten years Ikon Youth Programme has steered Slow Boat around the canals of the West Midlands and beyond. A converted narrow boat, it is a unique floating space for IYP, local communities and artists to make and experience art in a stimulating and creative environment.

With the support of Freelands Foundation, over the next three years IYP will continue to navigate the waterways, collaborating with creative thinkers and makers to reimagine Slow Boat as a local art school. Set against the backdrop of funding cuts to arts education, we will expand the alternative curriculum offered by IYP, raising fundamental questions concerning the definition and relevance of art.

“Support from Freelands Foundation affirms our belief as young people that an alternative arts education is integral to our learning. We hope to generate new ways of thinking that will result in positive conversations with art schools, transforming social narratives and building on radical histories that reflect our everyday experiences. We are all looking forward to the future discourse around this project, including the changing space of Slow Boat; a space of provocation, a space of transformation, a space of us.”

In the first year, members of IYP will be introduced to various histories, materials and processes, including painting, sculpting, printmaking, ceramics and glassblowing. Just as local art schools of the 19th & 20th Century provided formative educational experiences for artists, designers, educators and activists, we envisage Slow Boat playing this role for many more young people.