Following the exciting day of JEDelve’s visit to UCL, we were all very eager to be headed off to our second workshop. This time round, we visited the young people back in Acton!
Our January focus group informed us that the young people really wanted to have more ‘casual’ sessions to discuss their opinions and on topics they were passionate about. I set off for workshop 2, accompanied by Dr. Keri Wong, determined to do just that.
Wednesday arrived, and we made our way to the youth centre (with more or less difficulty, as we may or may not have missed the train!). Once arrived, we were joined by our guests for the evening: Amie Liebowitz and Isaac Fanin, both journalists at the BBC world service.
While we all took our time to settle in, the young people filled in a questionnaire about their expectations for this workshop. This process was made more entertaining by Amie and Isaac, who took it upon themselves to relive their teenage years: with Isaac playing Fifa and Amie mastering two TikTok dances!
With everyone in high spirits, the evening ahead looked very promising.
Our guests started by introducing themselves. They told us about their morning radio programme, part of the BBC world service that is listened to by more than 400 million people every day! As Amie and Isaac informed us, it can be listened to wherever you are in the world, even in North Korea (although some might choose to abstain).
I then started us off with a little icebreaker, as I passed around notecards, each with a question to answer. This got the conversation going. Soon enough, Isaac and Amie started recount their inspiring career journeys! They spoke about their hardships, challenges, stereotypes, and experiences as reporters: how does news reporting work, who decides what story gets covered, how to stay away from fake news, and many more! The young people were eager to know, and our guests were happy to share!
All the while Isaac had his alarm set for 2am to start his day of work, which the young people found absolutely horrific as it is the routine bedtime for some of them. However, that did not stop him from energetically engaging throughout, which we all really appreciated!
‘I really enjoyed meeting the guys. It’s always really refreshing to meet young people with ideas and opinions you don’t get to hear. I was really struck by the empathy and respect the guys have for each other.‘
The young people learnt about the power of storytelling. They were tasked with a brief exercise: come up with a news story that you would like to hear, and think of a way of pitch it to an editor (Amie and Isaac)!
From there, I was impressed to see how quickly the conversation picked up. The young people had incredible ideas that they were excited to share and topics they were inclined to address. Discussions moved from Palestinian activism to a scandalous video of a notorious footballer kicking a cat, with discussions of PartyGate and women’s safety amongst others.
A group of young people shared about a project they are currently working on: a short film on the reality of the experiences of being a woman. Impressed, Amie and Isaac were eager to know how they would pitch this to them if they were an editor and what tips they would suggest. The big question came up, because even though we all agreed that everyone should be interested in this issue, the reality is that not everyone seems to be… However, far from the young people to back away from a challenge, as they successfully came up with many different ideas to increase men’s engagement with and interest in content about women’s safety. I know I for one cannot wait to see how this production will turn out!
Even though the conversation kept flowing and the ideas kept coming, our visit had to come to a close as our time as the youth centre was almost over. As we said our goodbyes, everyone went their own way, undoubtedly with heads full of ideas and a renewed motivation to speak out for what matters.
‘It made me reflect about how it would be useful for me to participate in something like this over a longer period time rather than just something that’s one off. You can tell how much they care about the centre and how important they are to them in terms of personal growth.’
We can’t wait to see what the young people get up to in terms of sharing key issues that matter to them and to do so in a creative way. For now, they have our third workshop to look forward to!