A “game-changing” study will follow hundreds of children over the first 25 years of their lives, to monitor how their involvement with creative activities affects their development.
Talent25 aims to provide “academic evidence of the impact of sustained arts experiences”, including listening to and learning music, going to the theatre, visiting libraries and reading books.
The project, a joint initiative between the Arts Council of England and De Montfort University Leicester, will follow children born in Leicester for the first 25 years of their lives.
The first phase of Talent25 will focus on work with 0 to four-year-olds to see the type of engagement that is likely to have an impact on their sustained cultural engagement in the future. Researchers will aim to uncover which activities receive the most engagement from early years children.
Researchers will monitor the children’s progress in a number of ways, including visiting families and attending activities that the children are taking part in.
DMU vice chancellor Dominic Shellard said: “I believe Talent25 will be a game-changer. It will tell us much about opportunity and access, about the value we place on the arts and the difference which living a creative life can make. Crucially, it will in time give us the information, data and insight needed to allow all of our children and young people to enjoy the benefits of a full cultural life.”
ACE chief executive Darren Henley said Talent25 aims to help “better understand what might make a difference to young people’s talent development and cultural engagement”.
“Our long-term ambition is that the lessons we learn as the programme evolves will support the cultural sector to develop its work with early years and that while we launch with excellent partners in Leicester, that the impact will be felt nationally,” he added.
For the pilot study, researchers will be selecting 100 children each year for the next four years and following them for 25 years, with the ambition that recruitment will continue beyond that.
It is hoped the programme will eventually be brought to other cities across the UK.