The School of Hope project is based on the theme of empathy and aims to address the isolation young people have experienced as a result of the Covid pandemic, increasing their wellbeing and levels of empathy, as well as encouraging and platforming a new generation of artists.

The project is an invitation to young creatives to explore, experiment, and connect with others across the world. The young creatives taking part draw inspiration from the artworks, as well as undertake tasks, discussions, and workshop activities, before creating their own art in response to an artistic brief from each workshop.

The School of Hope consists of 5 workshops. At the heart of each workshop sits a bespoke artwork based on the theme of empathy. These commissioned artworks have been made by Akeim Toussaint Buck, Arwa Aburawa, Sonny Green, Jade Anouka and The Paper Birds.

The project was made in consultation with diverse young people and The Paper Birds also received mentoring via the Young Vic’s, ‘Young Mentor’ scheme in how to shape the project.

The Paper Birds also collaborated with academics Laura Taylor (University College Dublin), Katrina Brown (University of Exeter) and John Lambie (Anglia Ruskin University) to plan lessons and measure impact.

The Paper Birds is working with organisations from across the globe on The School of Hope.


The UK commissioning partners are:

  • The Mercury, Colchester
  • Theatre Centre, London
  • CAST, Doncaster
  • Sheffield Theatres
  • The National Theatre Young People’s Programme


And the international partners are:

  • Victoria Deluxe Arts Center, Belgium
  • Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiardja (PSBK), Indonesia
  • Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Canada
  • Boom Arts, USA


The project allows young creatives to connect across their country and across the world. They will share artworks and create manifestos of hope with each other. Through The School of Hope, the they will be encouraged to imagine their collective vision for the future, for themselves and for generations to come.

The School of Hope will culminate in a short film, made by filmmaker and community facilitator Naomi Waring, which will be based on the young artists’ thoughts about empathy and encapsulate their artistic responses. We are also working with filmmaker Kee Lewis to create a short documentary to tell the story of the project. Both films will premiere at an exclusive event in Autumn 2021, where we will offer a collective vision of how art and opinions can be used to bring about change.


From 2022 The Paper Birds plan to take our learning from The School of Hope and create a new theatre show, Feel Me. It will be a part live and part digital exploration of empathy from the perspective of young people.


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