PX Youth Media Project (2012)

Roles: Project coordinator   |   Writing & media facilitator    |    Film maker, publication designer

px1I managed the project overall and led regular creative writing sessions and mini projects in film and photography often working alongside actress Stacey Sampson. We spent a lot of time out in the community engaging with young people on the streets, and in local libraries and schools. I edited videos from the projects and put together ‘I come from…’ a book of all the work that was created on the project.

Introduction written for the project’s accompanying publication
In January 2012 Sheffield Library Services employed Vicky Morris [writer & media practitioner] and Stacey Sampson [actress & drama practitioner] to carry out a project to engage young people in creative literacy through libraries in Parson Cross, Ecclesfield and Chapeltown.

Combining their creative skills, the pair came up with the PX Youth Media Project as a way to offer a wide range of creative activities which would in turn develop literacy. The pair ran workshops and events within local libraries as well as in schools, community venues and out on the street, covering drama, poetry, spoken word, storytelling, interviewing, film and photography. The focus was not only on the creative work itself but also in developing confidence, teamwork and communication skills.

Over six months the project worked directly with over 75 young people from the area; engaged a further 300 people of all ages living, working in, and using the local community. In addition to simple enjoyment and skill building, the intention was to bring the outcomes of the work together in the form of a book [what you are holding] and a number of short films, as a way of celebrating the achievements of those involved.

Following a launch event with a live performance [Sept 2012], copies of the book and films were distributed to libraries in the area to be used as an ongoing literacy resource.
Below are pages for the PX Media Project publication. Click on an image to see a slide show of the selection >>

I Come From…
As the focus of the project was to enable young people to develop a dialogue about themselves, their communities and aspirations for the future, both practitioners drew on a central theme that could be used across different areas of the project to allow participants to reflect in interesting and creative ways while offering a link into the community. This  came through the use of the prompt – ‘I come from…’, inspired by Bread and Butter, by Jo Roach, a poem about growing up in working-class Britain in the 1950s. Through this theme, young people were encouraged to delve into their passions, experiences and sense of self across writing, drama and film.

The fruits of this work, led to using the theme as a basis for a community-wide writing competition – Word Snapshots of Parson Cross – to encourage more people to get involved in the project and allow young people to use their skills in the wider community and promote inter-generational work. Word Snapshots asked people of all ages to take a few minutes to explain something about themselves by forming a sentence starting with the words ‘I come from…’. Young people from the project worked alongside Vicky and Stacey, out and about in Parson Cross, talking to members of the community and collecting entries. The competition was supported by the local Asda who kindly donated voucher prizes for the best quotes and allowed the use of their foyer welcome area when the weather wasn’t being so friendly!

Below is a spoken word film I edited featuring Gav Roberts who visited the boys on the skate park on Parson Cross as well as a session in the library.

Broadbent Studios public art ‘I come from…’
In 2012 Broadbent Studio, a Liverpool based collective of artists, designers and makers, were commissioned by Sheffield City Council to design three large-scale public artworks to become a permanent part of the landscape near Chancer school.

Central to Broadbent’s approach is the importance of working closely with communities to engage local people in the work they do. Interested in the creativity happening in the community through the project, Stephen Broadbent, Public Artist, met with Vicky and Stacey to look at how Media project’s Word Snapshots competition could be extended to inform their designs for the local artworks.

With the support of Broadbent Studios, over 300 residents from Parson Cross were asked for ‘I come from’ sentences. 100 of these quotes were included in the artworks near Chaucer school – their words, these ‘snapshots’ of their lives, have become a permanent part of the area. For more info click here.

Thank you to…
We would like to say a huge thanks to all the young people who got involved in the project and those in the community who took part in Word Snapshots. Also, the following individuals and supporting bodies who helped us make this project such a success:

All the Parson Cross & Chapeltown Library staff, Sheila Bhandal at Soar, Poets and workers: Gav Roberts & Donna Jones, Alan Kennell at Mount Tabor, ALD Printers, Maire McCarthy, Staff at the Cross Café and friendly folk in local shops, Sam Hudson at Chaucer School, Ania Bas at Knutton Road Studios

An extra special thanks to:
Vicky Morris & Stacey Sampson for devising and delivering the project, Diane Kostka & Dan Marshall at Sheffield Library Services, Nick Waterfield [all round star in the community] Gary Lindley & Fay Beighton at Ecclesfield School for going the extra mile 🙂 Kealey Grainger and Steven Ryan at Chaucer Road Asda and Stephen Broadbent of Broadbent Studios. And to Curtis, Sam, Imogen, Megan, Leah, Paisley, Autumn, Kate and Izzy for your dedication to the project.

The project was funded by: Clore Dunfield & Sheffield City Council. This publication was supported by Broadbent Studios.