Young people taking part in the If Not You Who Else Lab 2011
PAL YOUTH is a new strand of our work begun in 2011 with young people aged 16- 30 in the UK. After the London riots in August 2011 we wanted to deal with the elephant in the room – the representation of young people in the media in Britain. An inspiring group of entrepreneurial imaginative young adults have demonstrated their capacity to lead and to use art as a tool for social change
The 2011 If Not You Who Else? Lab was PAL’s first experience of working directly with younger people. The experience offered time and space to define social issues effecting their lives, including the way racial stereotypes form part of our everyday language in Britain. Creative solutions through the arts to social problems in local communities in London are being developed by all the Lab participants.
Most of the young people and artists and one of the co-directors in this Lab are from black or other minority ethnic backgrounds. Several have lived in other countries including Holland, Uganda, Bolivia and Australia. One of the artists works extensively in the Middle East, another works and performs all over Europe and in South America and another has worked in the USA. This diversity of heritage and experience has facilitated open and honest debate and ideas about culture, racial stereotyping, sexism and religion (one of the young people observed Ramadan during the project). The success of our first non-residential experiment with younger people has resulted in changes in strategic decision making for PAL’s future programming. One member of the If Not You Who Else? Lab has recently joined the PAL board of Trustees and will be encouraging future Lab programmes with and for younger participants.
From the very first go, the vibe was right after just the first session. I felt I had known these people for years. The multidisciplinary concept was exciting and over the weeks, the idea of arts existing as separate forms totally disappeared as we charted new territory. Greta Eacott