UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Making Olympicopolis Work for Youth: Building Pathways to Creative Employment in East London (MOVE)


MOVE: Making Olympicopolis Work for Youth

MOVE was a social platform that brought renowned arts organisations, universities and creative SMEs together with young East Londoners to explore, design and prototype pathways to creative employment.

East London is a home to many young people from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds who desire to find employment in the capital’s cultural and creative industries. But a lot of barriers exist in the sector that prevent them from fulfilling their professional dreams. Employability in the sector is dependent on high skills, unpaid internships, and connection to specialised, often informal networks.

The creation of the Cultural Education Quarter (formerly called Olympicopolis) and the move of world-class educational establishments and arts organisations – UCL, University of the Arts, Victoria & Albert Museum and Sadler’s Wells – and cutting edge creative & digital enterprises to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP) offers a unique opportunity to enhance pathways to youth employment and involve young East Londoners with creative economy in novel and imaginative ways. For this purpose MOVE helped the incoming businesses to exchange ideas, pull different resources together and work with young people ahead of the move.  

The project pursued two overarching aims:

  1. to build a better understanding of complex barriers to creative employment that persist both on the side of young people and employers;
  2. to enable co-delivery of youth training and support programmes together with incoming employers.


  1. MOVE mobilised desktop research, expert interviews and community journalism to research into employment practices of cultural & creative enterprises in East London, the barriers to creative employment that young people face, ways in which they try to overcome them, and support they still need from policy-makers, educators and future employers. In so doing the project offered employment, mentoring and training to three young aspiring filmmakers from East London who turned research results into a short documentary.

Watch Hired!, a documentary from this piece of research by Ansam Saleh, Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou and Konrad Miciukiewicz

  1. As part of MOVE two large-scale stakeholder workshops were held to reflect upon the barriers to employment that persist in creative sector, senisitize employers to the problems young people face and design new programmes of support. Fifty  policy-makers, cultural educators, creative SMEs’ managers, and ‘Cultural Education Quarter organisation representatives met to exchange best practice and co-create new education, training, and apprentice schemes to be pursued in the vicinity of the Olympic Park.  

See programmes of the Visioning Workshops: 


Project Leader: Dr Konrad Miciukiewicz

Staff: Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou, Ansam Saleh and Vanessa Sarpong

Key Collaborators: Rosie Holcroft (London Legacy Development Corporation, LLDC), Vivian Murinde (LLDC and A New Direction), Layla Conway (LLDC), William Chamberlain (Creative Wick) and Polly Risbridger (East London Dance) 

Partners: University of the Arts London (UAL), Victoria & Albert Museum, Sadler’s Wells, UCL Public and Cultural Engagement (PACE), Foundation for Future London, Hackney Community College, Loughborough University, Newham College of Further Education, Studio Wayne McGregor, Creative & Cultural Skills (CCSkils), A New Direction (AND), English National Ballet and Here East.

Sponsor: Grand Challenges UCL 2034 Programme

Project duration: 1 February – 30 November 2016

Contact: konrad.miciukiewicz@ucl.ac.uk

East London youth Here East