Children and young people's well-being in the UK is suffering from the impacts of high entrenched inequality but their input is largely absent from policy discussions. A strategic framework for action is needed to enable their participation in shaping a future in which all can flourish. We have seen an increase in the number of school students and young people who are motivated to learn about and tackle socio-economic inequality. We want to support young people to get their voices heard in policy debates.
What are we striving to achieve?
- Increase awareness of the impacts of intersecting socio-economic inequalities among those under 25.
- Ensure that the voices of young people are present in discussions about inequalities.
- Increase awareness of the impact of inequality on stress and status anxiety, particularly on children and young people.
What impact have we had?
Our 2018 cohort (of over 100 participants from across London) developed an incredible exhibition of immersive artistic activism, entitled 'Who we are, who we aren't', exploring race, class, identity and inequality in modern Britain. At the heart of the project was 18 hours of worth of recorded discussions, which formed the basis for the creation of challenging art pieces. This had an exclusive gallery launch in early January 2019. This also featured at the Tate Modern, as part of Steve McQueen's 'Artists and the City' Uniqlo Tate Late in February 2020.
In June 2020 www.imnotyour.co.uk was launch - developed with the artistic activists behind the original exhibition, Peter Griffiths and Bollo Brook Youth Centre. This digital version of the immersive and interactive experience of the original exhibition received coverage in The Metro, and is already having an impact on conversations around race, class and inequality. Joy Gee, the head of AES Essex emailed us to say "we published the link to this exhibition, which we found incredibly moving and truly inspirational, on our newsletter this week. We have encouraged our students and parents to take a look and it has, indeed, inspired some of our students to begin to create their own gallery and one parent artist has offered to paint us a mural for an external wall."
As part of this project, 25 young people attended a meeting with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, when he visited the UK in November 2018. Three of their recommendations were included in his initial findings, including on the specific challenges faced by young people with irregular immigration status.
Hannah Haji blogged for us about London Fashion Week and appeared in our Charity Film Award nominated short 'Fighting Inequality in the UK'. This was produced as part of an action around the UN's High Level Political Forum, in conjunction with videos from Kenya and Mexico. The project has attracted significant press attention, particularly from The Guardian, who produced an incredibly powerful podcast, following up on the group 4 months after the meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur. The art created by the young people we worked with has also been featured by the Mayor of London.
Sonny Inglis, one of the original cohort from our Young Equality Campaigners, can be heard discussing the impact of inequality on mental health, alongside Professor Kate Pickett and Sir Michael Marmot, as part of the Radio 4 series 'The New Anatomy of Melancholy' (available for over a year from May 2020).
Please get in touch with Jo, Project Lead, if you would like to find out more about getting involved in this project - whether you are a young person or youth worker we would love to hear from you!
Funding and partnership
This project is being delivered thanks to generous donations from hundreds of individual supporters who either pledged match funds or donated money to us via The Big Give Christmas Challenge in 2017, 2018 and 2019, as well as donations from Four Acre Trust and an anonymous champion.
You can donate here now, to support us to continue this work.