A collaboration between Raheem Sterling Foundation and the National Portrait Gallery today launches a new creative youth engagement and skills development programme – Making of Me – in London in a bid to raise the career aspirations of young people interested in expressing themselves through art.


Photo credit: Playmaker Films

Combining photography and portraiture, the programme will enable participants to produce a piece of art by collaborating with photographers, filmmakers and digital producers to explore themes of self-identity, representation, place and community.

The programme will give 30 young people from London the chance to learn a variety of skills and the knowledge needed to progress into future creative careers. It will aim to strengthen their sense of community and belonging as they explore themes from their own experiences and perspectives.

Clive Ellington, Chair of Trustees for Raheem Sterling Foundation, commented: “social mobility, education and employment make up the Foundation’s 3 pillars and this project is a perfect fit for what we are aiming to achieve – helping to expand horizons, raise aspirations and create opportunities for the next generation. It’s important for us to keep developing innovative and engaging projects that will help encourage young people, support them to realise their full potential and give essential life lessons to help them grow, personally and professionally. We look forward to working with Liz and the National Portrait Gallery team and follow the young people as they embark on this incredible journey.”

Liz Smith, Director of Learning and Engagement at the National Portrait Gallery, said: “The National Portrait Gallery is delighted to be working in partnership with the Raheem Sterling Foundation. Initially delivered in Raheem’s home borough of Brent, our new partnership will offer opportunities for young people to learn new skills by working in collaboration with artists and makers. Making of Me will provide the project participants with access to the Gallery’s inspirational Collection, as well as exciting and creative opportunities within our sector.”

Created in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and funded by Raheem Sterling Foundation, the Making of Me project will consist of 12 workshops and masterclasses led by a dedicated Project Manager starting Autumn 2022.

Making of Me builds on the extensive work undertaken with young people and schools in London and beyond by the National Gallery as part of its Inspiring People project, increasing the Gallery’s reach and relevance during its closure. Young people participating will take inspiration from the Gallery’s Collection, responding to portraits in order to develop their ideas – taking them from a concept to reality.

The programme will culminate in 2023, as the National Portrait Gallery makes its long-awaited reopening having undergone a major transformation to its building. Responses created by the participating young people as part of Making of Me will be displayed at the Gallery when the building reopens.

Following the Making of Me project, The Raheem Sterling Foundation and National Portrait Gallery will consider further collaborations nationally and internationally in the future.