Culturally Speaking

A programme that inspires young people across 80 schools in London to connect with their heritage.

Speakers Trust is partnering with cultural institutions to deliver Culturally Speaking, a programme for Year 8 students, designed to engage them with culture, heritage and oracy.  

After a successful pilot programme in 2023, we are delighted to have received funding from The City of London and The Kusuma Trust to expand our reach. Speakers Trust is now recruiting cultural venues from across London to join the programme. 



“The Culturally Speaking project gave us an opportunity to engage with students in a fresh way. It was great to see how they connected with the themes, and the focus on oracy meant students’ voices were central to the session, offering new perspectives on our collections.”  

-London Metropolitan Archives, August 2024 



How it works 

Speakers Trust will deliver fully funded workshops to Year 8 students in London in partnership with a number of Cultural Partners, including Guildhall Art Gallery, Keats House, London Metropolitan Archives, Museum of London Docklands and The Museum of the Order of St John. 

The project is divided into two days. On the first day, up to 30 students experience a guided and interactive tour of a cultural location. Within a week of the visit, they take part in a full-day public speaking workshop in school to help them craft a speech inspired by the themes and ideas they encountered on their visit. Culturally Speaking will reach young people who are least likely to have their lived experiences heard but have the most important stories to share.  


Who is it for 

This programme is developed for young people in care, young carers, refugees and young people who attend schools in the twelve inner London Borough with 25% or more Free School Meals. 


The Value of Culturally Speaking 

Cultural Speaking aims to train young people with fewer opportunities to engage with cultural venues, offering tools to increase confidence, aspirations and speaking skills.  

Thanks to feedback collected from the pilot programme, we observed that: 

65% of students agreed that they felt more connected to the place they visited 

70% of students agreed that they learned something new about their peers 

73% of students had fun  

51% of students increased their overall confidence thanks to Culturally Speaking  

*data collected from 262 participants 


“Thank you for a fantastic couple of days. It was so wonderful to see students speak who hardly ever do in class. Our experience from start to finish was really enjoyable. Thank you for all that you do – it was very special.”  

– Swanley School, June 2023 


Currently schools with over 25% Free School Meals in The City of London, Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster are eligible and can express their interest for the Culturally Speaking City of London programme here.