Making for Change: Aston Newtown – The Showcase

”Would you like to try putting one of the coins in the donation box?” Asher beamed, gesturing toward her miniature Grenfell tower model lined with printed metals. I picked up a coin and placed it into the slot at the top of the tower- and the coin shot right back out. The point of this, Asher later explained, was to highlight the alleged claims of donations not actually reaching survivors of the Grenfell tower fire. There were also stories from the survivors dotted around the workshop table, showing that those affected are real people, not numbers or statistics. This was Asher’s campaign.

Each participant in Making for Change was responsible for creating their own campaigns along with a craft activity to showcase to the public. Approaching each workshop station, I was immediately impressed with how engaged the participants were. I was met with warm smiles and introductions as they went through their ideas, they then instructed me through the arts and crafts segment. Each campaign was wholly different from the next, showcasing everyone’s individuality and ability to take initiative.

Seated at Jordan and Miles’ ‘Action Over Change’ station, I was offered the chance to play their handcrafted game. The board, pieces and questions were all made by the participants and I was blown away by the knowledge possessed by the two young men- I’m even ashamed to say I got a few questions wrong! However, I was able to engage in thought provoking conversation surrounding social media trends that lack real social change, and left having learnt something new.

The intricacies of each campaign left me wondering how these young people managed to plan and prepare the showcase in just one week- from the short films written and produced by the participants, covering the theme of bullying- to the artwork and information pamphlets. Faiza’s ‘Creative Success’ campaign, for example, was accompanied by a detailed leaflet informing parents on the importance of creative subjects in school, as well as hand drawn colouring books for younger members of the public (and me- I’m a sucker for coloring).

Every campaign for Making for Change left me hopeful for the future. The ‘Prevent and Cure’ campaign by Renisha, Bobbie, Nikhil and Aneno was one that personally resonated with me and inspired me to create change for younger generations. The campaign focused on reducing the chance of young people reoffending or entering the prison system by improving youth centres in Birmingham. It was touching hearing the passion in their voices and knowing that young people are adamant to pave the way for a more inclusive, diverse and equal future. It is safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with all the participants and look forward to seeing what will come next!


Simone Mendez 

Blogger / Showcase visitor


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