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More than 200 young people attended AYCH Open Day at Fabrica de Santo Thyrso


Fabrica de Santo Thyrso hosted more than 200 students for the AYCH Open Day. Creativity and entrepreneurism were the keywords in this event, organized by the Municipality of Santo Tirso and framed within the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs (AYCH) project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Atlantic Area Program.

The Municipality of Santo Tirso is the Portuguese member of the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs project. This international partnership aims to develop the creative and entrepreneur potential of young people in the Atlantic area. The project is composed by 13 members, coming from Portugal, Spain, France and the United Kingdom.

AYCH Open Day was the first official public event of the project taking place in Portugal, and the outcome could not be more positive. Young people showed great interest and commitment during the activities. Santo Tirso is known as the birthplace of the textile industry in Portugal, so one could guess that a program focused in the creative sector would arouse interest in the young people of the county. More than 150 people signed up for the activities and over 200 were present at the opening ceremony.

During this day, participants had the chance to participate in several workshops, in a wide range of areas, such as photography, fashion design, design thinking methodology or digital marketing. The most important universities in the region were also represented, and experts from each of them had the chance to discuss the future of the creative sector in a Round Table. Throughout the whole day, both participants and visitors had the chance to visit the Creative and Cultural Space, an interactive showcasing area, were one could check some of the best projects of the partnership stakeholders.

5 countries, more than 60 creative youngsters and tons of imagination!


They arrived in Lugo (Spain) on the 10th of April. They came from North Ireland, England, France, Portugal and Spain. Youth, creativity, heads full of dreams and willing to make it in the creative industry, were their common characteristics and main reasons to be gathered around the first event of project Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs.
The project AYCH (co-financed by Interreg Atlantic Area) has offered them the opportunity to improve their skills and discover new ones, to have access to innovative tools, and a chance to design their own way into artistic sectors. Because in AYCH, any kind of arts is welcome!

On the 12th and 13th of April in Lugo, these youngsters have been involved in workshops, brainstorming and exchanges with experts in the creative industry and business.
The main goal of the event was to create prototypes of products and services responding to an increasing social challenge of our time: plastics in our oceans.

Are you a young creative with blooming ideas in mind? You want your career to follow your aspiration as an artist? It is time to contact us!

You could be part of our next event, which will help to launch the ambitions and careers of a new generation of responsible youth that can address the social and environmental issues of the future, putting creativity and design at the center of site-based development and regeneration.

More to come in the next posts. Stay tuned! Loads of surprises from our creative youngsters on the way!

AYCH Coordinator French Visit Odyssey


Every day we work interactively and collaboratively as an AYCH partnership, its vital to our mission. Our partners and their hubs are in four countries and stretch from Belfast in the north to Santo Tirso, near Porto in the south. We use interactive technologies regularly to reduce distance and keep us all working together. But sometimes nothing is better than meeting face-to-face to discuss things in depth, to experience the local environment and culture, and to build strong enduring relationships. We are careful to use this precious time wisely. This week I have visited our AYCH Partners in France.

Sunday 16 December – Exeter, UK to Brest, France

A day of travelling, thinking about the week ahead, chance encounters and practicing my school girl French.

  • Paris was fog-bound, every passenger had to switch-off their electronic devices, the pilots relaxed and the plane landed itself. Where would we have landed without this technology?
  • On the flight to next flight to Brest made a new friend from Germany, who like me has a role working for young people and loves German Christmas biscuits. Like a magician she produced a packet of Gewũrz-Spekulatious from her bag and gave them to me. Perhaps we will work together in the future?
  • Jumped in to a taxi, practiced my French and the driver practiced his English whilst we somehow managed to talk about the France v Russia handball match. Wondered if the taxi driver enjoyed the conversation as much as I did.
  • Later that evening ate on my own, ‘watched people’ at the Christmas Market and thought ahead to the business of the next day.

Monday 17 December – Brest to Rennes, France

A day of meetings, exploration and travel.

  • Met with the project partner from Brest Metropole and discussed in depth deliverables, commissioning, reporting, budgeting, working, problem solving, translation, meeting protocols and more. Agreed the steps we need to take.
  • We were joined by another Brest team member for lunch. We shared and reflected on the mornings discussion and talked about our different cultural approaches to lunch! Reminded myself that I need to think about what the working day looks like across AYCH.
  • Explored Brest and visited some of the facilities available to AYCH. Peered down on the ‘traditional’ industries around the shipyard and looked in to the future from the state-of-the-art cable car.
  • Settled on to the TGV to Rennes and typed my notes from earlier in the day.
  • Arrived in the hotel in Rennes but discovered my laptop did not like the insecure WiFi on offer. Read my paper notes and prepared for the next day.

Tuesday 18 December – Rennes to Nantes, France

Another day of meetings, exploration and travel.

  • Met the new project partner from Atlantic Cities for the first time and travelled by metro from the city centre to the University area of the town.
  • Enjoyed presentations from the talented team members, discussed AYCH values and plans for future delivery and was surprised that Papa Noel had included me in his deliveries to Atlantic Cities.
  • Ate in a busy local restaurant whilst we discussed AYCH, the locality, tomorrow’s meeting in Nantes and our different Christmas customs.
  • Explored Rennes, talked about the juxta-positioning of old and new architectural styles, employment and skills, cemented our relationship and got very wet.
  • Took the train to Nantes, returning to this city after only three months, arrived in torrential rain and took the tram for a few stops before using Google maps to find the hotel. How the city seems to have been changed by dark short days and Christmas activities.
  • Noticed the moon which looks as if it were suspended from a crane in the night sky.
  • Logged my phones and laptop to the hotel’s WiFi and caught up on the messages I had not been able to receive that day or the evening before. Checked AYCH progress on reporting. Thanked colleagues in Brest and Rennes for their warm welcome and their work.
  • Read John Steinbeck’s ‘Travels with Charley’ in a quiet corner of a nearby restaurant whilst eating something simple and tried to ‘switch off’.

Wednesday 19 December – Nantes, France

Another day of meetings but no travel and an enjoyable stroll across the Loire for work.

  • Set off early to meet our partner at L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique and arrived at the door with students and felt immediately welcomed in to a creative space.
  • Enjoyed presentations from students of two tools developed for AYCH – QUEST puzzle for facilitating discussion and planning participant journeys through AYCH options and Bright Mirror an ice-breaker ‘plus’ activity. So stimulating to work with creative, agile and enthusiastic young people.
  • Discussed L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique’s AYCH experiences and their discoveries about how AYCH has become embedded in the approach.
  • We were joined by the Chef de póle from the Pays de la Loire, and the Directors from L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique’s Care and Nouvelles Practiques Alimentaires Design labs, and colleagues from Atlantic Cities in time for diverse, informative and stimulating discussions over lunch.
  • Resumed the afternoon with discussions about Work Package 3 which focuses on the Capitalization of AYCH. Discussed how we could maximise the particular expertise and connections of the three key partners and the best way to utilise opportunities for all partners.
  • Travel arrangements for the following day were reworked in response to an unavoidable change of plans.
  • Said farewell to guests and partners before working with our host to complete our follow-up our Work Package 3 activities and briefly discuss workshop options for the second transnational Creative jam in Gijon next April.
  • Enjoyed the walk across the Loire back to the hotel reflecting on the day and thinking ahead to Thursday’s visit to Angouleme.
  • Worked through emails/messages and thanked colleagues and students in Nantes for their warm welcome and their work.

Friday 21 December – Paris to Exeter, UK

Flight to UK

  • Arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport with thousands of other passengers, some travelling for Christmas holidays and others diverting because of the closure of Gatwick, UK airport. Eventually arrived at the departure gate two and half hours later and ten minutes before boarding.
  • Continued reading John Steinbeck’s ‘Travels with Charley’ with occasional views through the clouds to the English Channel/Le Manche below and eventually the rural landscape around Exeter.
  • Sent emails to thank colleagues in Angouleme for the meeting and to send promised follow-up information and took a quick look at AYCH Basecamp to check if anything needed urgent attention.
  • Completed the post-trip administration.
  • Unpacked the Gewũrz-Spekulatious and began to feel a bit more Christmassy!


As part of the incubation program in Brest, participants visited the ZAAT gallery. The gallery is tackling the issue of empty of vacant units in Brest, by organizing temporary exhibitions of local artists.

Participants had the opportunity to exchange with the artists and about their path towards professionalisation, talking about status, economy, activity and how to turn your passion into an activity.

This visit was organized in partnerhip with CitésLab, an agency supporting entrepreneurs in urban deprived areas.

AYCH Launch Event in Brest / 18th may


Brest will officially launch AYCH project with a local meeting involving local partners (College of Arts, FabLab, Youth Inclusion Service, Start-up Support Services)

The event is open to entrepreneurship and employment stakeholders and youth workers, but also to young people interested in the program.

Three project partners will attend the meeting: Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities (CAAC), l’Ecole de Design de Nantes Atlantique (EDNA) and CARENE.

The project will be launched by Michel Gourtay, 4th vice president in charge of the economy.

Followed by Gwenaelle Goyat, project coordinator for Brest Metropole, and Tamara Espiñeira, from CAAC, who will introduce the project

Local partners will present their expectations from this project

EDNA will introduce design thinking methodology, with contributions of young people who took part in Lugo event

A panel of Chamber of Commerce and Industry stakeholders will present the opportunities in the cultural and creative sector.

In the afternoon, EDNA will propose a workshop dedicated to young participants aiming to experiment design thinking methodology.

Pablo Castro: Aych en Lugo

Hoy hablamos con Pablo Castro, encargado de la oficina de Asuntos Europeos de Vida Láctea y Coordinador de Actividades en el proyecto Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs.

¿Cual puede ser la importancia de Aych para la juventud de Lugo?

Proyectos como el Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs AYCH tienen un impacto vital en la juventud de una ciudad como Lugo, donde el paro juvenil puede llegar a ser una preocupación.

Por ello toda la ayuda de la Unión Europea es crucial, y el proyecto AYCH casa a la perfección al tratarse de un proyecto orientado no sólo a la formación, sino también a fomentar el emprendimiento juvenil, la trasnacionalidad y la búsqueda de nuevas formas de desarrollo de proyectos e ideas; AYCH contribuye de manera sustancial a dotar a los jóvenes de las herramientas necesarias tanto para hacer realidad sus proyectos como para abrirse camino en el mundo laboral.

Lugo ha especializado su incubadora en lo audiovisual, cual es el motivo principal de haberlo hecho y que puede ofrecer a los jóvenes de Lugo?

Lugo tiene en su entorno una casuística especial: la escasez de desarrollo tecnológico relacionado con el prototipaje de producto, debido a que Lugo es una provincia con un trasfondo rural que poco a poco va adaptando su estilo de vida a las nuevas tecnologías. Los jóvenes hoy en día se encuentran inmersos en el uso de aparatos de última generación, uso de redes sociales e internet; y por esa razón se optó por fomentar las herramientas audiovisuales, las cuales a parte de brindar un camino diferente al ya existente, pueden ser empleadas para fomentar y expandir sus líneas de negocio.

Accediendo a nuestra incubadora los jóvenes de Lugo serán asesorados por nuestro equipo de expertos, recibirán formación de distinto tipo, tendrán acceso a lo último en tecnología y formarán parte de un proyecto transnacional. El Proyecto AYCH cuenta entre sus acciones la de realizar procesos de incubación de manera transnacional entre los distintos socios del proyecto, establecidos en cuatro países del Arco Atlántico (España, Francia, Portugal y Reino Unido). Por lo que de ser interesante para el incubado cabría la posibilidad de realizar un corto período de formación en una de las incubadoras de nuestros socios en el extranjero, de manera gratuita.

Nuestro sistema de incubación sigue las líneas formativas del Proyecto AYCH, por lo que persigue el formar al joven para que sea capaz de pensar por sí mismo, planteándose el tipo de ayuda que necesita, cómo podría mejorar su idea o incluso si sería necesario un intercambio con uno de nuestros socios en otro país. Este tipo de formación tiene también un importante impacto económico-social ya que de nuestra incubadora audiovisual podrían surgir novedosas formas de fomentar líneas de negocio muy tradicionales; como por ejemplo una explotación ganadera.

Pero no sólo nuestra incubadora está especializada en lo audiovisual, también tenemos otras opciones dirigidas al prototipaje y desarrollo de producto a través de nuevas tecnologías.

Para este año 2019-2020, cuales son los objetivos de Vida Lactea para Aych? Que quieren hacer?

En Septiembre de 2018 el partenariado del proyecto depositó en nosotros su confianza al ceder la gestión de la Comunicación del proyecto a Vida Láctea. Durante estos meses hemos abierto nuevas redes sociales y reforzado de forma notoria los medios de comunicación que existían previamente. El objetivo que nos marcamos para el 201-2020  no se basa tanto en darle un impulso aún mayor al apartado de Comunicación como en utilizar los medios disponibles para hacer llegar toda la información posible a los jóvenes.



SAVE THE DATE 23 & 24 October: Creative Jam for Young Creatives and Social Entrepreneurs to shape the future!


As part of the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs project, PCA is hosting the second local Creative Jam (Hackathon) to challenge young people from across Devon to shape the future and step from ideas to prototypes with the support of experts from the Creative and Tech sector.

Creative Jam – Shaping the future at Plymouth College of Art


Learn | Design | Create | Pitch

 *Creative Jams are a two-day intensive ideas event that allows you to learn new skills, design new ideas, create products or services and present the ideas to experts. The event will take place at Plymouth College of Art’s Warehouse, 44 Regent Street, on 23 and 24 October 2018. You can now register for the Creative Jam here.

 *Who should attend? Are you aged between 16 – 30? Do you have exciting ideas that could change the world? Are you interested in social or ethical businesses? Are you ambitious and want to make the world a better place through innovation, creative thinking, digital design, and collaboration while learning new skills?

*What’s up from the last Creative Jam in July? One of the great teams is still working on their project called the Empathy Centre, which would be the implementation of an Empathy Centre to raise awareness and tolerance around mental health issues through AR and VR, here in Plymouth. #Social #Impact #Plymouth #AR

*AYCH opportunities

You can attend:

  • Local Creative Jams: October 2018 in Plymouth, UK and in Angouleme, France. November 2018 in Brest, France. December 2018, in Lugo, Spain. February 2018 in Plymouth, UK.
  • International Creative Jam: April 2019 in Gijon, Spain.
  • Tech and Entrepreneurial workshops
  • Internship scheme in the Creative and Cultural Sector
  • Incubation programme and International Residencies across Europe
  • Online Courses around design thinking and digital fabrication

*AYCH project. The overall AYCH project, that the Creative Jam is a part of, is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme, designed to promote transnational cooperation among 36 Atlantic regions in five European countries. The AYCH aims to develop new approaches and interventions within existing youth settings, as well as in both formal and non-formal education settings, to connect young people, creative and social business leaders, with experts in emerging and disruptive technologies and creative industries. This will take place across a network of “Atlantic Horizon Hubs” that will help them to develop ideas, new products and services.


Eli is the AYCH Project Coordinator at Plymouth College of Art, today she is with us to answer some questions.

PCA was amongst the first AYCH Hubs to launch the Incubation Programme. How do you see from your perspective the evolution of the young people who work with you?

That’s right, we launched the first cohort of our 9-month Incubation Programme with the mission to help young people from all backgrounds to take their idea to life. We selected 9 participants coming from Plymouth with various backgrounds. They had different and impactful projects ideas around upcycling old clothes, designing a restorative space for ill people, developing an AI software for retailers, publishing a cookbook, becoming a creative activist YouTuber, launching a sustainable fashion brand, etc.

I find it fascinating to mentor these young creatives and follow their progress in shaping their projects. What I’ve noticed throughout the Incubation Programme was their level of confidence and the skills they develop. They realised they had talent and potential to do something great, and as they learned new enterprise skills to frame and pitch their work, they build up confidence.

And because we always work in non-formal settings, the participants felt at ease to express their fear and challenges in front of the group, which takes courage but it led to lots of knowledge sharing and collaboration.

We now have a group of trained young entrepreneurs who help each other, after 3 months of weekly sessions, some of them are already close to launch their product to market or set-up their new business, it’s very impressive. Next steps for them are to test and develop their product and business in another AYCH Hub through the International Residencies where they will benefit from specific expertise and will connect with other like minded creatives, such a great opportunity for them, I’m really looking forward to following their adventures!

Eli, as a young woman: what would you say to girls like you who want to start their career and do not dare?


  1. Be proactive, ambitious and only apply for positions that truly appeal to you!
  2. Mobility helps a lot because it takes you out of your comfort zone and that’s when you learn and become more confident
  3. Don’t hesitate to travel, even for a job interview, that’s an investment but it shows courage, agility and motivation
  4. Be patient, it takes time to find a great job

Nowadays, there are so many opportunities to gain experience, travel and learn skills (AYCH being part of them now). I was born and raised in a working class family in a small town in Brittany, France. Thanks to the great number of educational programmes, I have managed to study in Rennes and Montpellier, France but also in Finland (Erasmus). I was then selected to work in Greece (internship) and in the USA as part of my Masters. Then I worked in Paris (internship) a few months and I’m now working in the UK.

Today I’m 25 years old, I have almost reimbursed my student loan, but what’s most important is the experience I have in project management and cross-cultural communication and all the great people I met and places I discovered on my journey. I’m now working for young people in an inspiring place (plymouth city and the art college) and I’m seeing all those great projects and initiatives for a more sustainable future, I could not ask for a better job!

What do you think Aych offers that does not offer another project, or another educational program?

AYCH offers so many free opportunities for all young people. It’s a unique and visionary programme because it’s non-formal (cool, creative, innovative) and it adapts to your needs while focusing on what will be needed in the future (digital skills, sustainability focus, self employment, collaboration, creativity, etc).

You can learn skills in problem-solving with the design thinking approach but also digital, creative and enterprise skills. You can also develop a project, product, business with the help of experts and you also get to travel and meet like-minded young people across the Atlantic Area. You meet people and you get to think out of the box. You get lots of support on your personal and professional journey and you also get to use plenty of equipment in the AYCH Hubs that often include FabLabs, co-working spaces, etc.

AYCH an amazing project/community to be part of!


Today, we are having a great chat on the sofa with entrepreneurs to learn how to run a business every day as part of the AYCH Incubation Programme, in Plymouth.

“The successful warrior is the average person, with laser-like focus” Bruce Lee

The Aych incubation program is designed so that non-formal education reaches all young people in an informal, close and close way in which they feel a total accompaniment.

JOAO SOUSA in Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs


“João Sousa, student finalist from the Fashion Design course of the Porto School of Fashion and Design, one of the 4 young people, from the Municipality of Santo Tirso, that participated in the “Atlantic Brainstorming Creativity & Jobs”, in Lugo, 11st to 13th April 2018, is developing a Fashion Collection , entitled “Filhos do Lago”, for the next Summer Season 2019, with the support of the HUB “Fábrica de Santo Tirso”, which will be presented on the 18th October 2018, in the Bloom|Portugal Fashion. This participation in the national event results from the 1st place that obtained in February 2018 through the contest of New Creators PFN (Portuguese Fashion News). The theme of this collection run way to Thailand.”

As Joao you can have an opportunity, come to our event in Santo Tirso and enjoy a complete program in the AYCH OPEN DAY SANTO TIRSO.

Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs helps young people like their ideas come true in search of a future life project. It also connects young people from all over Europe through its transnational network to create synergies in a new educational model.