Listen Up & Listen In – Chiltern Arts (Short Talk)

This short talk will discuss how embedding a culture of concert-going and musical appreciation into education journeys will not only have a profound effect on the wellbeing of the young people involved, but will also help to break down some of the barriers to being involved with culture. We will discuss how this approach could enable us to work towards re-building a resilient cultural sector and highlight an array of potential career pathways, leading to a more diverse and inclusive cultural sector.

ListenUp & ListenIn integrate with Chiltern Arts’ diverse festival programme — featuring some of the UK’s finest established and emerging musicians — and embody the values and beliefs upon which the charity was founded: that providing context for music, and presenting it in a way that assumes no prior knowledge of concert etiquette or the music itself, is the best way today to reach a broad and diverse audience. Thoughtful programmes with human experience at their heart are designed to spark curiosity and inspire creativity; a different perspective on the music will flow from living programme notes, story-telling, and other innovations.

Chiltern Arts also offers its young listeners new means by which to explore music, with digital resources available in advance of the concert. We’ll discuss in this talk how the young people, schools and partner venues and artists for this project will help to co-create it by shaping it and contributing to the types of resources and activity Chiltern Arts provides.

Short Talk Session Objectives or Learning Outcomes:

To identify the need for a new attitude to culture and music in schools (in terms of appreciation, and not simply participation) to enable us to:

  • retain and rebuild a thriving cultural sector
  • contribute to overall long term wellbeing and quality of life
  • teach young people new ways to interact with culture, and potentially identify potential further study and career paths within the sector

To take the first steps to engaging some of those present with the project by asking that they sign up to be listed as potential partners and participants in the project, and to hear further information as the project progresses. No commitment is required at this stage.

Short Talk Session Leader/s: Naomi Taylor

Naomi lives in Berkhamsted with her husband and their two children. She studied music at the University of York, graduating in 2014 and taking up the role of Event Manager – and later Producer, until 2021 – at the Ryedale Festival in the same year.

She founded Chiltern Arts in 2017 with the intention of bringing the highest quality music and arts to the beautiful towns and villages of the Chiltern Hills. She loves the collaborative creative process of curating musical and literary programmes each year, and working with new and exciting artists and creative practitioners is a constant source of joy.

In 2022 she embarked upon an exciting new journey as an AHRC-funded Doctoral Student, working in collaboration with BAFA (the British Arts Festivals Association) to research the impact of recent crises on arts festivals in the UK.

Chiltern Arts

At the heart of Chiltern Arts is a commitment to excellence, opportunity and innovation, as well as a belief that the arts are central to the quality of life and should be accessible to all. We aim to inspire audiences, create new work, and create a community that adds to and supports the rich tapestry of culture in the area.

Founded in 2017 to bring the very best of arts and music to the Chiltern Hills, Chiltern Arts runs an annual festival in May with occasional one-off events at other times. Festivals feature internationally renowned musical and literary talent, as well as young professional ensembles under our ‘Take Note’ label. Performances take place in venues across the Chilterns, including Henley-on-Thames, Marlow, Princes Risborough, Great Missenden, Amersham, Berkhamsted and Dorchester Abbey.

In 2024, Chiltern Arts launched the pilot phase of an ambitious outreach project, ListenUp & ListenIn, to engage and inspire a new generation of listeners whilst also strengthening the connection with existing festival audiences. 


Twitter: @chilternarts

Instagram: @chilternarts