De Montfort University and Arts Council England launch Talent25

Researchers are to follow children born in Leicester over the first 25 years of their lives, seeing just what happens when they are given regular opportunities to get involved in creative activities.

The ground-breaking project, Talent25, was launched on Friday 25 January at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Talent25 aims to provide, for the first time, academic evidence of the impact that sustained arts experiences – listening to and learning music, cinema, theatre, children’s festivals, visiting libraries and museums and reading books– has from birth to adulthood.

The first phase of Talent 25, from 2019-21 will focus on work with 0-4 year olds and their families to achieve a true picture of the type of engagement which is likely to have an impact on future, sustained cultural engagement.

The first 100 babies and their families will be recruited from areas across the city of Leicester and a core principle of the programme is that children, their parents and families should themselves be involved in putting together the kinds of activities and opportunities that will be available to children. 

Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley and DMU Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard launched the project at a showcase event with some of Leicester’s best young creative talent.

Professor Shellard said: “I firmly believe that the creative urge is in all of us from birth; but this has to be cultivated and we as adults, parents, carers, educators and policymakers each have a duty to play our role to ensure that young people have equality of opportunity to be involved in artistic and cultural activities such as art, music and dance.

“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.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive Arts Council England said: “Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. Every child has the capacity to be creative and opportunities to realise this potential should be equally available. We hope that Talent25 will help us to 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 whilst we launch with excellent partners in Leicester, that the impact will be felt nationally.”

Researchers will aim to find out which activities get the most engagement from early years children and their families in Leicester, and design a programme that can be scaled up and brought to cities across the UK.

The overarching aim is to initiate a long term- 25 year- programme which will result in young people’s sustained cultural engagement and offer varied opportunities to develop their individual talent.

Find out more at:

Photo © Peter Lewis-Dale / Musiko Musika: Early Years project Do Re Mi Fa



published date: 
Monday, 28 January 2019

Cultural education gives children and young people the opportunity to develop their creativity, both individually and collectively, and that's why our goal is for every child and young person to have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts.

Darren Henley
Chief Executive
Arts Council England

It's vital that children have the opportunity to learn and enjoy arts and culture from an early age. It develops their creativity, inspires future careers and enriches their childhood.

Artsmark Award does brilliant work in schools and education to ensure young people access a broad and balanced curriculum that includes high-quality arts and culture.

Michael Ellis MP
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism
Department of Culture, Media and Sport