Somerset House Trust

Comics, creativity and careers  

The Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules exhibition opened at London’s Somerset House in October 2021, celebrating the spirit of rebellion found in the world’s longest running weekly comic. Our grant of £61,560 funded a range of learning activities inspired by the Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules exhibition, as well as two creative careers events, and an audio project.

One of the learning programmes encouraged young people visiting the exhibition to create their own rules. Signwriters-in-residence then turned them into signs which formed part of an installation. There was also a workshop to provide literacy support and inspiration through comic-making, and another for young adults starting out in creative careers to give them a taste of life as a comic writer or illustrator.

  • Beano comic has been engaging young people for over 80 years and has a 95% brand recognition among adults.
  • At a previous creative comic-related exhibition at Somerset House, 96.6% of visitors rated the exhibition ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
  • The number of employers seeking creativity as a top skill is predicted to rise by 10% in a decade.

Empowering young people

In summer 2022, Somerset House built a spectacular 35m observation wheel rising offering new perspectives on the city. Each pod on the wheel houses a sound installation, capturing the voices and stories of Londoners from all walks of life. Our grant supported Somerset House to work with six young people to record conversations and interviews on the theme of family.

We’ve also helped fund two Upgrade Yourself Festivals, which support young people from underrepresented backgrounds to fulfil their potential. Each of the two practical and practice-led careers days aimed to give around 250 young people the chance to gain practical insights into career options, talk to young creative professionals a couple of steps ahead, and be inspired by role models and pioneers.

“After a year of social isolation and in the wake of Black Lives Matter, it has never been more important for children and young people to feel empowered that their voices matter and for there to be space for both reflective thinking and fun. Our programme of activities around the Beano exhibition allowed all this plus more.”

Dhikshana Turakhia Pering, Head of Engagement & Skills, Somerset House

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