Case Study

“City Arts has become part of our DNA at InterCollege and it will always remain a part of the DNA”

Date published: 19 Feb 2024

Posted by: Joe Pick

Asser Mortensen sitting

Asser Mortensen is a founder of, and Director at, InterCollege Aps. The organisation is a social enterprise working in the fields of education and training. For 8 years, City Arts worked in partnership with Intercollege on five international projects. The projects were designed to teach new skills to young people and those that work with them, in Nottingham, Europe and further afield. They included Heritage Hunters, ARTployment and PoGo. These projects have created unique and exciting opportunities for cultural exchange for Nottingham residents and EU residents. We spoke to Asser about his experiences working with City Arts.

InterCollege’s expertise is creating international projects that create impact for our beneficiaries, for society and for funders. We work in partnership with organisations who excel in other areas. It could be environmental protection, citizenship education, music or art. City Arts has its foundation in art, and had the openness to try something new, to reach out an connect beyond its city and country borders.

We’ve helped City Arts to align their project ideas with the policies of the European Union. International work adds extra levels of complexity. Intercollege can help with understanding how to work with other cultures, and other organisations who might have a very different approach to working.

A group of women in traditional embroidered dresses and headscarves singing at a cultural event.
Heritage Hunters visit to Moldova

City Arts and Intercollege have worked together on many different projects. They’ve included vocational education training, where Danish students did an internship at City Arts’ building in Nottingham. They’ve included training projects: training youth workers to support young people to develop their creative business skills. Our project in Honduras and Colombia supported organisations to help young artists capitalise on their skills. There are lot of artists that are really, really competent but not so good at making money from their skill. That’s a barrier to their personal development and their career, and also to the economic growth of their local community.

There are two areas where City Arts has been outstanding. First, City Arts has a really strong professional competence. It knows how to work with art and how to work with people using art. Second, it’s very rare to find an organisation that has this high degree of professionalism but at the same time is open to new ideas, new suggestions and new projects, beyond the city borders, beyond the country borders. That’s what I have most enjoyed about working with City Arts.

A selfie of a smiling woman with sunglasses in the foreground, with a group of people posing in the background on a colourful, mural-decorated street.
Artployment visit to Honduras

The beauty of our collaborative projects comes out of the unexpected things. There been plenty of good surprises but also external factors causing challenges for our projects. City Arts have always been completely open to talk things through and address any challenges that pop-up.

Working with City Arts has not felt like a series of separate projects. There’s been a kind of flow where one thing has led to the next thing, and so on. City Arts has become part of our DNA at Intercollege and it will always remain a part of the DNA. So, has it changed something? Yeah, it has changed us fundamentally because we’re not the same organisation as we were when we first started to work with City Arts. City Arts has left a big impact on us.

Asser’s story shows the benefits of collaborating with City Arts. By building partnership with organisations from other sectors, we are able to increase the reach and impact of our work. We are able to create exciting new opportunities for young people in Nottingham and the professionals who support them.

Donate to City Arts

The work we do to inspire creativity changes lives. We bring creativity into overlooked and undervalued communities. We offer opportunities for self-expression to people otherwise denied them. This is only possible with the kind support of our donors and funders. Your donation will directly support this work.