Skip to main content

Metroland Young Associates 2023

Young people from across Brent developing the skills and experiences needed for a career in the creative industries.

What is Metroland Young associates?

MYA Young Associates and Mentors meet at the Tin Tabernacle

Metroland Young Associates is our paid development programme for young people in Brent. It supports them to gain the skills and experience needed for a creative career. 

In April of 2023 Metroland welcomed the 20 young people who made up the year’s cohort:

Najma Ali, Safia Amarchih, Carmen Bratosin, Elye Cuthbertson, Ishé Grant, Kerry, Kimberley Kim, Lada Kopytova, Ann Lac, Helayna Lagos, Elizabeth Lawal, Om Majithia, Isolda Milenkovic, Luiz Queiroz, Shweta Shantilal, Alexandru Sones-Dawkins, Michael Townend, Sandip Valgi, Onosiokhue Yakubu and Benjamin Zadorian.

In 2023, the Young Associates programme was part of COLLECTIVE RHYTHMS. It was all about developing the future soundtrack of Brent.

The programme was led by Amelia Martin as Programme Curator, with artist Shepherd Manyika and sound producer Jesse Lawson. As well as Santos da Silva (an MYA Alumnus from the 2022 cohort) as Assistant Producer.

MYA Mentors – How does it work?

Early on in the programme each Young Associate was paired up with their mentor. This is someone with professional experience in the arts industry who can give advice and guidance throughout the course of the programme. The 2023 MYAs and mentors were matched up at an event at the Tin Tabernacle in Kilburn. 

Artist mentor Linett Kamala talk with her Mentee.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our industry mentors:

Leonara Manyangadze
Marwan Kabour
Rachel Noel
Lennie Watson Elijah
Linett Kamala
Toddla T
Rikky Onefeli
Heiba Lamara
Matt Williams
Jareh Das
Keira Blakey
Laima Leyton
Lexi Morivadi
Edward Ball
Brendan Lynch
Alyah Hasinah
Roshni Hirani
Joe Grant


The MYAs took part in 10 weeks of workshops, focused on expanding horizons and engaging in creative and critical thinking together. Below are details of some of the highlights.

The Empathy Museum

One of the first workshops the MYAs took part in was with the Empathy Museum – led by Jesse Lawson. This workshop, which focused on ‘personal storytelling through sound’ introduced the MYAs to different approaches to storytelling in different formats. MYAs were encouraged to tell their own stories, and develop interview skills by recording each other. In the second half of the workshop MYAs were visited by Clare Patey from the Empathy Museum, who introduced the cohort to ‘A Mile In My Shoes’ an artwork that seeks to take audiences on “an empathetic as well as a physical journey” by having people walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, literally, whilst listening to an audio recording of the individual tell a story from their life. 

ICA exhibition visit – RIP Germain

For the MYAs first field trip they were led on on an excursion to the Institute of Contemporary Arts by Shepherd Manyika. At the ICA the MYAs visited the exhibition, “Jesus Died For Us, We Will Die For Dudus!” by artist R.I.P. Germain. The MYAs explored the immersive installation piece, and then collected together for a discussion about the artwork and the thoughts and ideas it provoked in them. Shepherd Manyika led the discussion, encouraging the Young Associates to consider the cultural context of the work and how this related to themselves as individuals. 

Sound-Gathering around Wembley Park 

In another field-trip led by Shepherd Manyika, the Young Associates visited Wembley Park to record sound that they could later use in their own artworks. MYAs were encouraged to make a diverse range of audio recordings from their surroundings and build their skills in collecting sound. The MYAs gathered a huge range of interesting audio including interviews, ambient noise, music. For the second half of the day the MYAs returned to Metroland and began editing their gathered sounds into audio artworks.


One of the most exciting workshops of the programme, and the one furthest afield, was the day-trip that the MYAs took to Dungeness, on the coast of Kent. This trip included a visit to the house and garden of artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman. MYAs were led in a workshop by Jesse Lawson to create and gather sound pieces inspired by the landscape of the beach, including interviews, improvised poetry, ambient sound and more. After a lunch of fish and chips the MYAs went on a photo-gathering mission, documenting the landscape around them.

Mayday Rooms 

In another workshop led by Jesse Lawson the MYAs took a trip to Fleet st. to visit the Mayday Rooms, an archive and resource for social movements, marginal cultures, and their histories. The MYAs had the privilege of exploring the Mayday Room’s archives and taking inspiration from the art, writing and ephemera held there. At the end of this workshop MYAs presented their own ideas and artworks inspired by the archives, including poetry, music and ideas for public events.

Camden Art Centre – Willesden Trades Hall + Apollo Club

To gather inspiration for their upcoming exhibition, the MYAs visited the youth takeover at Camden Art Centre, held by the centre’s Youth Collective, a programme similar to MYA.

This was a valuable chance for the MYAs to get a sense of what they could achieve in their own exhibition and helped them gather a sense of what they’d like their event to look like.

Later the same day, the MYAs went to Willesden and visited the Apollo Nightclub and the Willesden Trades Hall. Here they were given a tour and introduced to the history of these two Brent institutions. They also took part in a discussion about the future of these buildings, sharing their viewpoint as young members of the local community on what they’d like to see in the space. These discussions were an important opportunity for the MYAs to take an active role in their local community and feel empowered to voice their opinions. 

ICMP Kilburn 

For their last excursion the MYAs met at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in Kilburn to lay down the plans for their final exhibition. In this planning session supported by Shepherd Manyika and Bill Daggs, the MYAs led their own discussions on what they wanted to include in their exhibition and how they could achieve this, as well as forming planning teams to tackle different aspects of the project. 

Exhibition – ‘We Were Here’

The 10 weeks of workshops, learning, and discussion culminated in the Young Associates presenting their own interactive sound exhibition. It took place in the first week of August 2023, entitled ‘We Were Here’

We Were Here was a cumulative showcase of sound and visual artworks, conceived and curated entirely by the 2023 MYA group. The MYAs designed their exhibition to share the work and collaborative practices that they had developed throughout the course of the programme. The MYAs also wanted the exhibition to provide opportunity for discussion.

In their own words:

“It is important to us as young people living in Brent that this show also serves to open conversations surrounding personal and collective identities, local and historical archives, and shared and public spaces.”

Young Associates in the process of setting up their exhibition:


The artworks within the exhibition were a blending of physical and sound pieces, including:

A ‘sound bar’ where guests could be served from a menu of Audio tracks.

A phone booth to listen to recorded conversations with friends and family in different languages, exploring the idea of cultural identity and migration.

A zine of works created throughout the programme,

A exhibition programme that detailed their experiences and the outcomes of the project.

Projected film works, created by MYAs using footage gathered throughout the programme. These were set to a collective sound piece, made by blending the audio gathered by all the MYAs together.

A collage wall installation recreating the visual experience of the Kilburn High Road through paper ephemera and original photography and artworks.

Exhibition Video

Exhibition Programme

Read the Exhibition programme created by the MYAs:

Listen to the We Were Here sound artworks:

Thank You

Many thanks to the John Lyons Foundation and Brent Council, for their support of the Metroland Young Associates programme 2023.

Learn more about what we’ve been up to recently at Metroland…