20 Stories High make theatre with young people from excluded communities, emerging & world-class artists to tell stories that are:
gritty, lyrical, melodic, rebellious,
contemporary, mashed-up, authentic, original,
visual, challenging, youthful, tender
anarchic, diverse, surprising, booming,
political, funny, collaborative and heartfelt
Founded in 2006, 20 Stories High has established itself as one of the leading young people’s theatre companies nationally and has won a series of prestigious awards and commissions. 20 Stories High tours to theatres, schools, venues and community spaces and runs a range of participatory projects.
About State of Mind
State of Mind is a four-year programme for 20 Stories High (2018-22), funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. It aims to better support young people to be resilient and independent, and those working with them to be more aware of, and confident in responding to mental health issues. Through a combination of outreach, training, collaboration and research, the project will explore the positive impact that access to and participation in the arts can have on the lives of young people. For 20 Stories High, State of Mind is not seen as a separate project – it is something that will be embedded across all of the company’s work.
20 Stories High have become increasingly aware of the prominence of mental health issues through their existing work with young people – themes and connections that have mental health implications were repeatedly being emphasised and raised. This is within a wider context of cuts to local youth services, austerity, and entrenched social issues which mean young people are experiencing increased pressures.
The company felt strongly it was the right time to put more energy into this area, but recognised that working with vulnerable young people on sensitive issues requires time, focus, resources and developing staff’s knowledge and confidence. Their business plan for 2018-22 places mental health and wellbeing at the centre of the company’s practices.
About the Evaluation
20 Stories High already evaluates the work it undertakes using a variety of methods. State of Mind offers a new focus for the evaluation of the participant experience. With additional support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, they recently worked with Renaisi to develop their ‘Theory of Change’ framework and now want to appoint an external evaluator for 3.5 years to support in building an evaluation framework and process around this. 20SH want to undertake a very detailed examination of the impact of their work, and young people’s experiences of participating in 20SH activity.
20SH will expect this long-term rigorous evaluation will be fully documented and shared through online resources as well as specific dissemination events. They want to work with the successful tendering organisation on building an evaluation framework and test it with 20 Stories High and the young people they work with. Initial thoughts on what it might include are:
– reflection sessions at the end of workshops/projects
– one-to-one feedback sessions with regular participants
– session observations
– participant interviews
– young people’s involvement in a State of Mind steering group
– input from the Board of Trustees, staff and project partners
Who 20SH want to engage with
The young people 20 Stories High work with are mostly aged 13-25 from working class and culturally diverse communities who tend to be under represented or least engaged in mainstream arts activities. Young people engage with 20 Stories High in a variety of ways – for example, as participants in a one off event, in short term workshops or projects, or more intensively through the youth theatre, the young actors company, and supporting young people to develop their artistic careers.
Young people find out about 20 Stories High through word of mouth, publicity, open events and outreach projects in local community organisations and schools. Interest in the arts is the key driver for young people getting involved, and activities are free to access. These principles will apply to State of Mind. However, outreach activities will increase in order to access more young people. These are initially being targeted in the L8 (Toxteth) area of Liverpool, in partnership with organisations such as Merseyside Youth Association, Alder Hey hospital, King’s Leadership Academy, and Unity Youth Centre. There is an assumption that this will mean engaging with young people who are at risk of or already experiencing mental health issues, but it is not explicit. There is no hierarchy of need in terms of who takes part and having an identified mental health issue is not a prerequisite.
20SH would expect the proposed approach to include the following:
– Creating a resource ‘library’ that includes literature and sign posting information that has been identified to date by 20SH and by the evaluator, is user friendly and is kept up to date.
– Building an evaluation framework out of the Theory of Change 20SH have already worked on with Renaisi and test it with 20SH and the young people they work with.
– Supporting 20SH with the collection of monitoring information and rolling out the evaluation framework.
– Developing appropriate tools for outcomes data collection and feedback from young
people/staff, using qualitative and quantitative methods.
– Proposing a clear sampling approach for qualitative work.
– Introducing a process for supporting learning and reflection amongst 20SH staff, stakeholders and other partners.
– Developing ways in which young people can be involved in an ongoing way throughout the evaluation, including liaison with Future Collective (20SH’s young people’s advisory group)
– Developing a dissemination plan which keeps partners and other relevant stakeholders up to date with progress and learning throughout the programme of work
Who 20SH want to work with
20SH are interested in hearing from individuals or organisations who:
– Have experience of developing evaluation frameworks with organisations, particularly those that work with young people.
– Have experience of working with voluntary sector organisations whose aim is to deliver positive social impact.
– Are prepared to work collaboratively with 20 Stories High team, young people and partners on the development and implementation of an evaluation framework.
– Have a proven track record in producing reports and materials to disseminate findings to a variety of stakeholders
– The successful applicant will be assigned a main point of contact at 20SH and will be asked to submit a progress report every 3 months.
20 Stories High wishes to appoint an external evaluator for the State of Mind programme of work by the end of March 2019. The successful applicant will be contracted for 3.5 years, from April 2019- Oct 2022 with annual reviews in the March of each year.
If you are interested in working with 20 Stories High on the evaluation of State of Mind, please submit an expression of interest (no more than 4 sides of A4), detailing why you would like to work with them, your planned approach, cost and how you meet the points set out in ‘who 20SH want to work with’ by 10am on 15 March 2019. Interviews will be held on the 1 or 2 April 2019.
There is a budget available of up to £50,000.
Please get in touch with Tina Taylor, Finance & Admin Manager at 20 Stories High if you have any
questions about this brief or the application process.
More information on 20 Stories High can be found at 20storieshigh.org