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Saul Argent

Chief Operating Officer

info@escape2make.org

As a teenager…

I grew up in North London and was a fairly quiet, academic kid. I did well at school but rarely was the one with my hand up in class. I had small groups of friends I played football and tennis with, but also liked spending time by myself, enjoying writing and art.

I opened up a lot when I went to sixth form, making lots of new friends and become much more confident and outgoing. I loved doing art A Level and would do massive projects creating fake activist groups, running guerrilla campaigns around my area, and roping my friends in to make surrealist films. I’d drag friends to art galleries and to watch subtitled and old black and white films at the cinema. I was definitely way too pretentious and tried to find a way to criticise everything, which was sometimes interesting but I’m sure often really annoying!

Even as I grew in confidence and independence I was still self-conscious and sometimes suffered from anxiety, especially around big groups of people I didn’t know. But I gradually got better at being out of my comfort zone and realised that everyone around me was pretty anxious too!

After school…

I went on lots of adventures. I took a gap year and taught English in Tanzania and travelled to Zambia (where I bungee jumped at Victoria Falls), Malawi, Botswana and Mali. I studied archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University, where I learned lots about human society and culture. I explored as often as I could: I spent one Summer teaching in Japan, another volunteering and doing research in Kenya, and when I graduated I went to live and teach in China for a year.

I loved teaching and came back to the UK to train to be an English teacher, living in Liverpool and working in a secondary school on the Wirral. It was really hard work, and I found that it was difficult to be as creative as I wanted to be in a school, where the priority was to make sure children has the best chance possible to do well in exams, which tested really specific skills and knowledge. So, I decided to not be a teacher after all, and to try something else.

Since then, I have worked across the cultural, education and youth sectors, working on lots of great projects that support young people across the country to have brilliant creative opportunities, often led by artists. I set up an arts organisation, GRAFT, and have worked with Pop Up Projects, running literature projects across the UK, and Curious Minds, leading a youth heritage project, Hope Streets, with museums around the North West.

Now I’m…

COO of E2M, which is a fancy way of saying I look after running the organisation, making sure we have enough money to do the brilliant work we do supporting young people around Lancaster and Morecambe.

I started working with Escape2Make in April 2021, helping get E2M back to providing exciting creative activities for loads of young people in Lancaster and Morecambe after everything had to be paused in 2020. I became COO in 2023 and love that my work supports so many young people in the area where I live – it’s what motivates me every day, even when I’m just looking at boring spreadsheets on my computer! (only joking, I love spreadsheets really).

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5 bits of advice to my teenage self…

  • Don’t worry so much about what other people think of you
  • EVERYONE is feeling anxious and self-conscious it’s not weird to feel like that!
  • Speak your mind, people will respect you for it
  • Putting time into creative stuff is just as important as academic stuff
  • Take more photos (I wish I had more of me and my friends from back then!)

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