Building foundations

Working with Project Twist-It and supported by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, ThinkNation rolled out a 10-month project that saw us work with young people from across the UK to tackle the poverty stigma from THEIR perspective and experiences. We did this through debates, workshops, performances, and films.

The project culminated in a unique day-long event that brought young people and mentors together, generating ideas on how we can all change the poverty narrative.

The project was broken into three elements:

  1. Capturing authentic young voices on their experiences around poverty – interviewing them on camera, through workshops, and peer-to-peer mobile phone footage
  2. Creating a short film from all the footage, presented by filmmaker and journalist Billie JD Porter, we identified four big poverty questions and issues young people wanted to tackle at the main event in December.
  3. Producing an event that brought young people and mentors from public sector, tech, film, education, business and the arts together to answer the four big questions.

ThinkNation: Project Twist-It

Documentaries |

Capturing authentic voices

ThinkNation interviewed, met with, and ran workshops with 100+ young people from across the UK. We also reached another 600+ young people through screenings, workshops and events. Our aim was to listen to their concerns on the poverty stigma, and surface ideas on how we could change it.

We also tasked young people to carry to peer-interviews. This was in additon to workshops we ran which were held at:

All interactions we’re filmed – ensuring we had ample footage and insight into their experiences, ideas and thoughts around poverty.

Some of the footage was used for internal intel, while other parts (mainly the workshops) were used as part of our Project Twist -It short film, which you can watch below.

Expert insight, in a common language: While the voices of young people were crucial to this project, we understood the need for an external ‘expert’ to help contextualise some of the issues the young people we’re talking about.

We also knew that some of the language of the economics of poverty was very confusing to young people, so we wanted to ensure the film could also educate in a non-patronising or overly complex way.

We interviewed Dr Heejung Chung, Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. Her tone and approach was direct, relatable and informative.

We also invited Dr Heejung to take part in the panel discussion on Dec 8 as part of our major Project Twist-It LIVE! event.

Setting the questions for Project Twist-It LIVE!

Once we had gathered all the necessary intel, and had produced the film, we held a special screening and ‘questions’ workshop in Brighton with a small group of young people from local colleges and youth groups (all aged under 24).

The focus of the workshop was to lock down the four questions young people were going to tackle on December 8th at our Project Twist-It LIVE event.

They used ThinkNation’s methodology – our ‘Create, Critique, Iterate’ approach – ensuring they collaborated in establishing the final questions – using one core ‘call to action’ with four focus areas.

ThinkNation: Project Twist-It LIVE! questions:

How do we smash the poverty stigma:

  • Online?
  • In the media?
  • In education?
  • In society?

Nearly 70 young people registered to participate in the main event via online application, opting for a range of roles, including helping behind the scenes, and speaking on the day.

We selected a total of 14 young people to take part in the main event – plus four from Battersea Arts Centre Beatbox Academy – with an additonal 10 working backstage and front of house.

The young people were supported by mentors from the arts, business, technology and academia.

Starting at 10:30am on Dec 8th, the young people and mentors were put into groups. Using ThinkNation workshop methodology, each group tackled one of the BIG questions, generating a response which they presented later that evening in front of a live audience.

ThinkNation: Project Twist-It LIVE! event

Hosted by filmmaker and journalist Billie JD Porter (BBC 3, Channel 4) the evening included live performances from Louisa Roach, the lead singer of Liverpool-based band She Drew The Gun, short films and performances from spoken word collective The Warren plus Battersea Arts Beatbox Academy.

The Warren Spoken Word Collective from Hull added a ‘narration’ element to the evening, introducing each session through the power of spoken word.

We also had a Q&A session with invited panelists, plus all the responses and talks addressing the BIG questions, created by young people over the day.

Event + venue partner:

The Gulbenkian at University of Kent gave us use of their theatre for the entire day and into the evening. They also provided technicians and additional front of house personnel, supporting the young volunteers.

Smashing the poverty stigma: Project Twist-It LIVE!

Event wrap up | | 2:49

The results

The Alternative Census

The Alternative Census is part of the response from the workshop group: “How do we smash the poverty stigma in society?”

As a society we have a huge obsession with money and materialism and yet there are so many other things that make us up. The same way that we are not defined by our race or if we have disabilities, we should not be defined by how much money we have. So we thought, in order to switch up the poverty stigma, we need to start asking different questions. Workshop group: “Smash the poverty stigma in society”

The questions the group developed included:

  • Have you ever felt inferior?
  • Do you believe in something larger than yourself?
  • Do you sing in the shower?
  • Do you like to dance?
  • Have you ever felt lonely at a party?

TAKE IT NOW: The census is live!

Event host and panelists

<Host>

Billie JD Porter

Writer, filmmaker and TV presenter

@billiejdporter

<Panelist>

Kieran Cranston

Apprentice

<Panelist>

Dr Heejung Chung

Reader in Sociology and Social Policy

<Panelist>

Josephine McCartney

Chief Executive Officer, Kent Community Foundation

Event narrators

<Narrator>

The Warren Spoken Word Collective

Spoken Word Collective

Young participants and mentors

<Participant>

David Adeyemi

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Rawan Ammar

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Eileen Anima

BAC Beatbox Academy performer

<Mentor>

Kwame Boateng

Founder of Project Five Fifths

<Participant>

Jasmine Ee

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Didier

BAC Beatbox Academy performer

<Mentor>

Shaun Glanville

Development Consultant: Charities, arts organisations & social enterprises

@remotekey

<Participant>

Freya Hodge

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Isabelle Hudson

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Vivi Jorgensen

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Mona Kurtolli

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Ellie Lenk

Creative Learning Intern

<Participant>

Max Long

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Carly Maling

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Conrad Murray

Actor, Writer, Director, Rapper, Beatboxer, Singer & Theatre Maker

<Participant>

James McDowell

BAC Beatbox Academy performer

<Participant>

Luke Murray

BAC Beatbox Academy performer

<Participant>

Tom Page

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Mentor>

Billie Sequeira

Engineering Technician - BAE Systems

@billieseq

<Mentor>

Danielle Emma Vass

Founder at Teach Programming CIC

@programming_uk

<Participant>

Adam Wright

Student and ThinkNation young participant

<Participant>

Megan Wyrill

Student and ThinkNation young participant