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What is the Future Leaders programme?

Future Leaders (aged 12-25) join us as part of a cohort of 40 young artists to extend their practical skills in one of four Carnival arts strands…

  • Percussion (10 places)
  • Brass – (10 places)
  • Dance (10 places)
  • Visual Arts (10 places)

…as well as gain project management experience, guided by leading artists and professionals in their field. The programme includes residential workshops in the North West of England (Tameside and Oldham locations), business and project development, personal development opportunities to stimulate the imagination, and a chance to enjoy taster workshops and inspirational guest talks across all art forms. All of this exciting content is cemented by distance mentoring from leading UK and international artists and practitioners.

We will deliver our next cohort between October 2022 and April 2023 as follows:

Residential 1 (5 nights, during half term) – Sat 22nd Oct to Thurs 27th Oct 2022

Residential 2 (weekend) – Fri 2rd Dec to Sun 4th Dec 2022

Residential 3 (weekend) – Fri 3th Feb to Sun 5th Feb 2023

Residential 4 (5 nights, during Easter break) – Sat 8th Apr to Thurs 13th Apr 2023


By the end of each course, we hope that all of our FLs are in an improved position to deliver their own work, develop new ideas with other likeminded artists, and feel a greater sense of confidence and belief in their abilities to take their skills to the next level. We are proud to announce that since starting the programme in 2014, we have worked with over 160 young artists, and in a short time we have seen a huge leap in collaborations between groups, regions, and art forms. We are excited to follow their journeys over time – watch this space!

“It’s crazy to see how much has changed in a year. Those four residential weekends quite literally changed my life! I can never thank you all enough for accepting me on board!”  Jordan, 2014 cohort

What makes a Future Leader, and how can we help them achieve?

They stand out. We’ve seen these talented young people up and down the country: leading community bands with inspiring confidence, outstanding visual arts students already asking about jobs in the field, impressive choreography and performances from youth leaders and their dance groups. Future Leaders…

… are likely to have already started exploring the progression route for a career in the arts or performance

… may have tried out leading sessions for others, or perhaps already run regular classes

… have demonstrated a regular commitment to their art form and spend a great deal of time independently practicing, researching artists or performers, singing, drawing, designing…

What is included in the course?

Our weekend and five-day training residentials include:

  • Induction materials with a course outline
  • Tuition from UK and internationally based tutors
  • Visits and masterclasses from our Patrons
  • Accommodation and all meals provided
  • Mentoring (during training weekends and at home) from our mentor and artist team
  • Travel expenses available (limited)*
  • Global Grooves ‘Future Leaders’ hoodie
  • Arts Award Silver/Gold Accreditation through Trinity College London (optional)

In exchange for this unique training opportunity, we ask that our Future Leaders demonstrate their commitment and entrepreneurial spirit by raising some of the course fees themselves. This amounts to around £50 per residential.

*All participants will have their tuition, accommodation and meal costs covered by the course. For travel, we have a very limited budget available to support those participants who need it most. 

We have a youth steering group

Established in 2020, the Future Leaders Steering Group is a committee of ten alumni who are working to plan and manage the next cohort of the programme. The group was established to put the future of the course in the hands of our young leaders; this involvement is essential, as the diverse range of experiences, art forms, ages and backgrounds is extremely valuable to the development of the programme. The Steering Committee gives members the opportunity to learn about how the planning process works, offering work experience, professional development and the chance to get their voices heard as advocates for the arts. Members of the Steering Committee have taken on project management roles, organised the recruitment process and offered insightful perspectives on their experiences that feed into the programming of the next cohort.

Application for our 2022-23 cohort are now open! 

For more information or to express an interest in applying, email us using the contact form below. Global Grooves are always on the look out for enthusiastic and skilled young people to get involved with our work (even outside of the Future Leaders programme). Keep in touch with us by signing up to our Global Grooves mailing list at the bottom of this page to hear about future events and courses.


Programme Background

image of freya, dancer and office manager

Freya – Future Leader 2015/16

Hello! I’m Freya, a dance artist from Manchester.

I completed the Future Leaders programme in 2015/16 which quickly opened up an inspiring world of new experiences and possibilities, despite being only 15 at the time. I had no experience of cultural dance and was so excited to learn some new styles. No sooner had I found a new love for all things Carnival, from the intricate movement style to seeing how all of the artforms involved come together and cross over throughout the process.

On finishing Future Leaders, I dived in to as many opportunities as possible to get involved within the wider community, from trying my hand at percussion to volunteering in the arts studio, and all the way to helping to produce a local community event in 2017. I am incredibly grateful for the experiences that I have had as a result of my learning on the course, and those that are yet to come! The best part about Future Leaders and Carnival for me is that the journey never finishes or ends, and could probably go on eternally, and I find this so exciting. The community is like no other, and something that I’ve found a passion for, too. It’s taken me to several countries around the world to perform and develop my artistic practise and millions of miles out of what I thought was my comfort zone.

I now work full time for Global Grooves where I have the chance to grow myself as both an artist and professional in the arts sector. I am also an assistant project manager for two other music and dance projects working with people of all ages where I also get to share my love for dance and performing with them. Most recently, I joined the board of an arts venue as a trustee, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my experience so far with them and be a part of the driving force of their mission.

Jordan – Future Leader 2014

I was on the first cohort of the Future Leaders course in 2014. I started the course as a 16-year old high school student in Edinburgh who had a passion for drumming and teaching, which I had developed over four years in a youth-led samba drumming band I was in. I knew that the realm of community music and Carnival arts was where I wanted my future to be but had no idea how I could feasibly make it work and many of my peers in school and my community didn’t have the same amount of passion about a future in the arts as myself.

Over just four residential weekends, I was totally immersed in a new community of like-minded people from all over the UK I had never met before, with the staff and my peers during the course. Not only did I make a lot of great friends on the course, but the wider network of Global Grooves actually helped me build links in my own city. Beyond the network, I was given the opportunity and the space to develop different aspects of being a Carnival artist, from personal development, freelancing, working with other art forms as well as learning a lot of rhythms and cultures from specialised teachers.

Shortly after that course finished, I was keen to take on as many opportunities I could to work and study with the Global Grooves team and my fellow graduates. That in itself has led me to so many unexpected places, including co-teaching a percussion workshop for 70 people in Oldham, meeting Gary Lineker at a gig, performing at Notting Hill Carnival and giving a talk with my peers at a Carnival arts conference.

I’ve been involved with the other cohorts in one way or another, as a youth mentor, giving talks, and even having the opportunity to teach at a top-up weekend for alumni. It’s been so inspiring to see more and more people being brought in from all over the world and just to get to know so many people I never would have met otherwise.

Since being on this course, so much has changed and it really was a catalyst for a lot of my more long-term goals such as becoming a Musical Director of a percussion and dance group and travelling to Brazil twice to study Carnival, the second Brazil visit being when I performed in São Paulo’s official street carnival and sustaining a full-time freelance career. I can trace all of these things back to Future Leaders in one way or another and they certainly would not have happened as early as they have for me had I not been involved in the course.

I can honestly say that the Future Leaders course has changed my life.


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