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Young people to take over former Debenhams store for creative arts fest

Posted onPosted on 6th Mar

Young people from the Takeover volunteering programme based in Mansfield and Ashfield are gearing up to showcase their creative talents at DepARTment Festival, landing for one day only in Mansfield in March.

The free community event, led by 14-24 year-olds, will be on Saturday, 9th March, at the Four Seasons Shopping Centre.

The former Debenhams store is set to be transformed into a creative arts hub for the day with activities and zones all produced and designed by students at The Brunts Academy, MyPlace, Inspire College, Portland College, Wings School, Outward Academy and West Notts College.

There will be installations, photography and fashion exhibitions, puppet shows, circus acts, a silent disco, and DJ set and stage.

Anyone can join in workshops with artists throughout the day, as well as T-shirt printing and spill-the-paint arts and crafts sessions for younger visitors.

Takeover is a programme powered by the government’s Volunteering Futures Fund, aimed at fostering the creative talents of young people in Mansfield and Ashfield.

Inspire: Culture, Learning & Libraries and Captivate, Ashfield & Mansfield’s Local Cultural Education Partnership received £262,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England, to develop volunteering opportunities across both areas. The grant has been used to deliver ‘Takeover’, a two-year programme that launched in June 2022, to provide young people aged 14-24, and those with disabilities, the opportunity to volunteer and develop their creativity, talent, leadership, and employability skills in the creative art industries.

Since October 2022, Takeover has mentored over 200 young people on the programme, most of whom will be present at the festival with their creative ideas and
productions on display. With the support of mentors from First Art, Nonsuch, New Art Exchange, Unanima and Nottingham Trent University, Takeover volunteers have had the chance to engage in industry site visits, interview business owners and collaborate with artists over 10 weeks of learning, all of which has culminated into this one-off event as the programme comes to an end.

Vanessa Oxspring, manager of the Captivate and Takeover Partnership, said: “Takeover has been a brilliant programme to run over the last two years, we’ve loved
supporting young people in the area engage with creative arts and seeing them discover new passions and pathways into creative industries.

“It’s given them a massive boost of confidence, it highlights just how important creative inspiration, ideas and art projects are to young people’s development. Some of our photography students have even bought their own cameras so that they can continue to pursue photography after Takeover!”

Further information about DepARTment Festival can be found at

More information about the Takeover programme is at