Respect & Dignity Arts

28 December 2023 by Ed

For this year's Festive Project, we collaborated with Respect & Dignity Arts. Read more about the youth-led creative arts initiative and Waqar Ahmed, the visionary creative director of the inspirational young company.

Respect & Dignity Arts

Respect & Dignity Arts (R&D Arts) is an innovative youth led-led creative arts platform which gives young people the opportunity to connect with professional artists and different arts forms, to develop high quality creative content that inspires, empowers and transforms.

For this year's Festive Project, Creative Lancashire collaborated with R&D Arts For our Festive Project. A trio of performers from the young company responded to a brief inspired by Benjamin Zephaniah who died on 7th December 2023. the young writers selected the poem 'People Need People". 

Read more about the Creative Lancs x R&D Arts collaborations here

We asked Waqar Ahmed, the visionary creative director of the inspirational young company, to provide an insight into R&D Arts and his inspiration for the initiative.


'We produce and deliver ground-breaking creative programmes that allow young people to perceive the world in new ways, build connections and further develop their sense of curiosity, adventure and imagination'

'At Respect & Dignity Arts we believe in the transformative impact of the arts, as well as its ability to bring about positive change. Therefore, we want to support, in particular, young people from South Asian and working-class backgrounds to enter this space, which is usually reserved for the cultural elites.

'We value young people as artistic producers and want to provide a dynamic creative platform that allows them to contribute to the cultural landscape on their own terms. Using arts and creativity as a vehicle for young people to be heard, seen and lead.'

Waqar Ahmed, Creative Director - Respect & Dignity Arts


'R&D Creative Writers is our flagship creative writing, spoken word poetry and performance platform. We have recently teamed up with our friends Young Identity Manchester to deliver  literature and writing based workshops across East Lancashire and beyond; linking young people to creative practitioners in order to nurture their craft, build confidence and create amazing content.

Under the tutelage of renowned spoken word artists and performers, Reece Williams, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan (The Brown Hijabi), Nicole May, Shirely May, Abdul Shayek and Christopher Brown, our young creatives have developed two incredible anthologies - ‘Those from Distant Lands’ and ‘The Art of Gratitude’. This was also followed up with a national tour, which including performing at venues such as, The Whitworth, Manchester;  Burnley Youth Theatre; UCLan Media Factory, Preston  and Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge.'


Waqar Ahmed is a visionary Creative Producer, facilitator, Senior Leader in Cultural Education and the Artistic Director and Founder of Respect and Dignity Arts. He has over 20 years’ experience in the education sector and has been responsible for developing ground-breaking and innovative creative platforms that allow young people, as well as the wider community, to access high quality arts that result in transformative creative content.

His work has been recognised at regional, national and international level. 

Waqar Ahmed also created the award-winning Beyond Labels project with support from Super Slow Way. The ongoing project is based at The Hollins School,  and recently picked up the Outstanding Arts in a Secondary School Award at the 2023 Educate Awards held in Liverpool. Read more

Here are the Poetry Short Films produced by the young R&D Creative Writers with support of Film Maker Nick Farrimond. 


'We are ambitious, and our future vision and plan is quite simple - to become one of the world’s leading youth-led creative arts initiatives. To continue to provide young people with unique and holistic creative experiences that allows them to produce high-quality content.'

'We are taking the necessary small steps to achieve our goals – with some very exciting commissions and announcements arriving in 2024. Watch this space.'

The young writers also recently collaborated with Creative Lancashire to celebrate the life of poet Benjamin Zephaniah – by producing People need People, a poetry short film based on a poem written by the late artist.

You can watch more poetry short films by Respect & Dignity Arts here

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