All of these artists are committed to creating work in their own fields. However, when the brief for the Youth Activism exhibition was put out they all responded by dedicating their time to, and directing their talents towards, creating posters in order to participate in this project. Provocative, inspiring or funny each of these posters is an act of resistance.
Envision was set up by four young people in 2000 to challenge the stereotype of ‘the youth’ as apathetic about and disengaged with the issues going on around them. They run 10-month long social action programmes to supports 16-19 year olds from over 130 schools and colleges in Birmingham, Bristol and London. Envision programmes help young people to design their own local community projects tackling issues ranging from street crime to climate change. They seek to provide young people with the powerful and rewarding experience of making a positive difference. Their hope is that, inspired by this experience, the young people they work with will be both willing and able to continue acting as effective role models in their communities and build powerful legacies for future generations of young people. In their work to nurture social consciousness Envision recognises the inherent potential that exists within young people to be active and positive forces for change. At a time when young people are castigated by the government and the media Envision provides young people with the skills to be able to stand up and speak up for their generation to the benefit of everyone.
Green & Black Cross is an entirely independent grassroots project set up in the spirit of mutual aid and solidarity to support autonomous social struggles within the UK. It was founded in 2010 to provide legal support for protests against the government’s wave of massive spending cuts. They have supported thousands of people from many backgrounds in their rebellions and protests. From a 24/7 legal support hotline to legal observers on the streets, action medics at large demo's, to a kitchen team smuggling flapjacks behind police lines. They provide support in order to allow the potential for further rebellion, for people to rise up and in doing so take control of the direction of their lives. There are Green and Black Cross groups in Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London. GBC’s efforts to defend the legal right to protest are a vital back-up to activists, allowing them to work positively for social change. The threat of arrest and the possibility of police violence act as effective deterrents to young people engaging in activism for the first time, but the presence of GBC legal observers and their provision of ‘know your rights’ training provide crucial movement support.
Made for sale at the Youth Activism exhibition by Pretty Weird Laboratories with Act With Love.
We would like to thank the British Sociological Association and University of Leicester for the funds that were provided to support this exhibition. We should also state that the views expressed in this exhibition are those of the artists and not these organisations.