Shout Out UK aims to engage young adults in politics, why? because it is the art of creating a healthy society, and this concerns us all
Last Thursday saw a collection of under 25’s gather at the European Parliament’s London HQ, Europe House, to take part in Shout Out UK’s ‘free-thinking and politics workshop’.
Run in partnership with Roadworks media, the workshop was designed to help young people understand their role in society and encourage political participation at a time when swathes of today’s youth feel intimidated, abandoned and disengaged by the political system.
The evening began with a stirring speech from the Guardian’s Erica Buist who sympathized with young people saying, ‘It’s difficult to feel passionately engaged with something when you’re at best left out and at worst maligned’. She went on to discuss the marginalization of the younger generation and reiterated the need to ‘stop blaming them for their own political irrelevance’.
This was followed by an activity run by Quince Garcia, a former drug dealer who, having spent time behind bars, has turned his life around to set up a creative arts and multi-media community interest company, RoadWorks Media.
The session involved brainstorming and comparing the popular conception of political parties, helping participants to grasp the concept of the political spectrum, and allowing them to see how policy so directly affects their lives.
The group responded well to the exercise and particularly Quince’s infectious enthusiasm, with one participant saying: ‘I liked the creativity! Not just sitting and listening’.
Julien Bernard-Grau, a fellow RoadWorks Media representative, then took over proceedings and ran a free-thinking session aimed at understanding the importance of being open-minded and ‘thinking outside the box’, particularly when discussing political issues.
Again, it was well-received by the participants and together the sessions provided a clear vision of how teaching politics could potentially work in the national curriculum.
One participant said: ‘Shout Out UK made us think more about how much we know about politics and interesting activities with the workshops allowed us to illustrate our ideas of politics, including how we would cope if we were in Parliament or in control. It was a more enthusiastic side for politics’.
A short networking session concluded what was an eye-opening evening, one that certainly encouraged many more young people to ask the question: How can we profess to live in a democracy when its electorate aren’t taught how it works?
By Tom Bennet