What's Happening for the Young - Subjectivity UK

As part of the What's Happening for the Young Festival that took place at the Southbank Centre this weekend, Subjectivity UK held a talk entitled "Crime and Punishment Vs. the Youth". This discussion incorporated performance and specialist speakers to look at issues inspired by an article from the UN Convention.

What's Happening for the Young - Subjectivity UK

The debate run by Subjectivity UK was inspired by a line from Article 40 of the UN Convention which states:

"A child accused or guilty of breaking the law must be treated with dignity and respect. They have the right to help from a lawyer and a fair trial that takes account of their age or situation."

In regards to this statement, the show was very effective in recognising that there are issues with this statement, and questioning the changes that need to happen in our society for it to be true. The talk was very well organised, and participation from the audience was actively encouraged. For me this was a key factor that made it such an enjoyable event to go to. Your views were valued and respected, and the opportunity to hear and understand the voices of others was also presented. The way arts were used in this event was very clever, as it was by the youth for the youth and was particularly creative in relation to the issue being discussed.

  • Dani Moseley (Writer, actress, model) @Dani_Moseley

Monologues written by Dani were performed by three different actors including Dani herself, each actor presented a situation and a character relaying that situation to a jury. The audience was split into three groups as juries to decide on whether the person in the situation was guilty of a crime or what their punishment should be.

"Neither knew what ahead lied."

These pieces were performed excellently and really engaged the audience in terms of how realistic they made the situation. At times it was hard to remember that these were just hypothetical situations that had been dramatised, possibly because in some ways, elements of what actually happens were very true.

"A boyfriend can't rape his girlfriend he said, that's what he made me believe."

Not only were they thought provoking, but each performance touched on issues and situations which aren't easy to talk about on a day to day basis. They looked at things such as the grey area around the idea of joint enterprise, manslaughter vs murder and lack of evidence.

  • Trendy – (Rapper) @mrhustle__

For me, this performance was one of the highlights of the session. It underlined the idea of rap music being used to express, share thoughts and get a point across. Far from what we see and hear all too often on the radio, there was no profanity, no vulgarity, just truth.

"Would I fit the description less, if I chose to dress in a way that didn't match the press?"

The ideas raised in the lyrics of the rap touched on key issues we face as today's youth: the way we identify with others, the people we look up to and the issues we face.

  • Caleb Femi – (Poet) @calebfemi5

The spoken word performance by Caleb Femi was another great example of the talent of the youth. His poem was riveting and eye-opening, it highlighted some of the hypocrisy and double standards that the youth are so easily subjected to.

"Supernovas are in fact dying stars."

A panel of specialists consisted of barrister and lawyer Tunde Okewale, and researcher of social welfare Natasha Phillips. Their presence at this event was vital in educating the audience about the actualities of the legal system today and what is being done today to change things.They were able to talk about real-life experiences and make the discussion of law accessible for the audience.

Talks run by Subjectivity UK happen monthly. I would advise anyone interested in making a difference for themselves to get involved. It was a great chance to engage with professionals while being able to appreciate the art of people with real talent.This was a real eye-opener for me as it was a great example of young people actively making a positive change for themselves. These shows are ideal for people of all ages however due to the sensitivity of some of the issues discussed I would not recommend them for young children. The hosts were great at giving everyone a chance to participate and listen to the opinions of others. Overall, it is an event I look forward to going to again.

Twitter/Facebook: @SubjectivityUK Instagram: Subjectivity_UK

On a whole, the Festival was great at catering for everyone. It offered both hands-on learning and a chance to think in a creative space.

The Southbank Centre is an Arts Award Supporter – find out some more here.


Neha Lakhanpaul

Neha Lakhanpaul Activist

19. Law student. Dance and art. London. Twitter: @NehaOldSoul Instagram: @nkl96For me art is an opportunity, a way to express and be heard, a chance to make a change.

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