YO fest 2021



YO Arts Fest is Bristol’s multi-arts festival for young people, by young people.

YO stands for Youth Opportunities. After a very successful first event with The Diverse Artists Network in 2018, at Docklands, YO Fest hosted it’s (postponed) 2nd edition online.

YO Arts was produced with the support of PAPER Arts. We trained up 6 young creatives in all things “Events”, offering them the paid opportunity to learn everything from promotion to booking and then apply it to producing their own multi-arts festival.

The resulting festival showcased the finest mix of talent from Bristol’s creative scene, for everyone to enjoy from their own home.

This project was kindly funded by The Nisbett Trust 

A typical collective

In August, 2021, A Typical Collective, supported by PAPER Arts CIC and local emerging muralists Tanith Gould and Yoli Ward-Streeter, took over PRSCs Outdoor Gallery in Stokes Croft. 

As a celebration of their diverse creative practices and the end of the course that brought them together, A Typical Collective painted the 50ft wall on Jamaica Street.

The collective met during the Creative Employment Programme, a 6-month course for creatives with learning disabilities, Autism and ADHD which supported them to gain the skills and experience necessary to make a start in Bristol’s artistic community.

As one member of the group described it, the course was “like being at an art school but with all the best bits” where facilitators and guest speakers “encouraged us to explore our practice [and] gave us permission to be ourselves.”

The programme was run by PAPER Arts (based in St Pauls) who help young creatives build networks and establish creative careers. The course was funded by Bristol City Council and the Mural generously supported by Nisbet Trust. 

Inspired by an online session with Iconic Black Britons founder Michelle Curtis, the group set their sights on designing a large-scale outdoor artwork together. The mural is intended to represent their individual practices and the collective as a whole, showcasing the diverse skills and interests of creatives who happen to have disabilities. A Typical Collective are: Beth Richards, Gabriel Nissen, Josie Ewers, Nicola Willis and Serafina Kiszko. 

When we start to think about who gets to decide what art goes where and by who, we can see that very few spaces in our city represent and are accessible to disabled citizens.

A Typical Collective’s wall, up during the month of August, is about creatives with disabilities taking up space in the public realms that often present barriers to them. The mural is a celebratory collage of the collective’s diverse creative practices – from activism and performance, ceramics, textiles to upcycling. 

People’s Republic of Stokes Croft have kindly lent their wall for the project. They are campaigning for more public street art in Bristol’s fast generifying and privisited streets. PSRC celebrates the value and beauty of the art in the streets and calls out the hypocrisy of the Bristol authorities who market Bristol as a home of graffiti while criminalising those engaged in the act of making it. A Typical Collective’s mural is a celebration of the powerful and affirming messages street art can convey.

a typical collective

The future of paper arts

A Statement from the Board of Directors


Like many organisations, PAPER Arts has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, on appointment of a highly skilled CEO, we made the bold decision to review our business model and begin a process of research and development in order to shape a new service and to better support creatives in Bristol with professional development, networking and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Throughout the pandemic we have proudly supported creatives in Bristol, with a focus on young people from St Pauls, our Creative Employment programme hosted over 20 sessions and we welcomed 17 young people to feed into our research and development proposal. 

However, the last 18 months have been a huge challenge, while we’ve been able to successfully deliver a plethora of projects since our inception seven years ago, we have been unable to secure the funding necessary to realise our ambitious plans for the future and to provide our organisation with much needed financial stability.

As a result, it is with a heavy heart that the current PAPER Arts team, made up of Grace, Kate, Katy, Lau and Amie will no longer be able to continue in their roles. Our small team has delivered a substantial amount of value to the community we serve and the Board of Directors are endlessly grateful for the skills and professionalism they bring with them each and every day. We are proud to know and work alongside such talented individuals and believe that the arts sector is a better place with them in it. 

The ideas generated by this team are inspiring and hopeful and the Board of Directors wholeheartedly believe in the importance of supporting the creative community in Bristol.

As September ends and the seasons change PAPER Arts will be going into hibernation in order to survive this adversity. Our voluntary Board of Directors will spend the coming months considering the future of PAPER Arts, the role we can play in the arts sector in Bristol and how we can sustainably move forwards. We don’t know what that will look like yet, but as soon as we are able to share more with you we will. 

In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to speak to someone about the future of PAPER Arts please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] – Kirsten Cree, one of the Board of Directors will be monitoring this inbox. 

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