Whose Voices are Heard?
Fran has devised and co-curated a series of debates in partnership with The Free Word Centre called ‘Whose Voices are Heard?’ This project was a part of a wider 4-part series of talks, from the “Crisis of Trust in Europe” project from the “Time to Talk” network of European Houses for Debate. The series aimed to bring together a group of people who might not normally visit the Free Word Centre, with an emphasis on young people aged between 15-25, to share their experiences and opinions around this wider theme of Trust. The debates brought groups of experts together from across the political, arts, technology, media and education spectrums to discuss how feelings of trust and respect towards specialist professionals and those in positions of authority, have been affected by recent revelations, including phone hacking, Snowden files, the expenses scandal, the economic crisis and the changing education system.
The series was supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations.
Trust and Authority
“We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.” – Alison Croggon
The first debate, ‘Trust and Authority‘, took place at the Free Word Centre, London. The debate addressed questions such as, how have recent revelations challenged and reshaped the relationship between young people and authority? Who do young people now look up to and why? And how can those in authority win backthe respect of a seemingly disaffected generation? This discussion also looked at how a generation of young people are grappling with a new reality in which individuals once synonymous with honesty, integrity, social responsibility and care are often exposed as doing precisely the opposite. The panel of guest speakers was chaired by ITN journalist and presenter Charlene White and included Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North; Superintendent Leroy Logan MBE who works to improve relations between the police and young people, Jasmine Martins, young mayor for Islington; and James Massiah, a performance poet, contender for The Young Poet Laureate and mentor.
Trust and the Media
“News is stuff we tell each other.” – Brian Cathcart
The second debate, ‘Trust and the Media‘ was also co-curated with the Free Word Centre in association with English PEN and centred around the question, ‘who do you believe?’ This followed the recent scandals in the news media, including mistrust and stories of the abuse of power at the BBC, the phone-hacking scandals, and the MP’s cash for questions revelations, which had young people questioning what to believe about they saw in the news. This debate provided a platform for young people to comment on how this climate of mistrust of the stories being reported has affected how they perceive the media. This project was widely attended and successfully created a conversation between young people, students and industry insiders. The panel featured chair, Dekan Apagee, a Producer and Broadcaster and included, Piers Bradford, Commissioning Editor for BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, Derren Lawford, Commissioning Executive for London Live, Ruby Mae Moore, an entrepreneur and Editor-in-Chief for Amor Magazine, Angela Phillips, a Reader in Journalism at Goldsmiths and Adam Sich, Senior Producer for Truthloader.
Trust and New Technology
“If you’re a law-abiding citizen of this country, going about your business and your personal life, you have nothing to fear.” – William Hague
“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.” – Eric Schmidt
‘Trust and New Technology’ was the third debate in the series and aimed to address the question ‘Who can we trust when we live our lives online?’ The debate hosted a conversation between young people and industry experts around the topic of who to trust online and how to deal with technologies that call our security and privacy into question. This debate was hosted by Gemma Cairney, BBC Radio 1 DJ and Presenter and featured 3 panelists; Claudia Andrew, a young Blogger who had previously featured on a BBC World panel regarding her attitudes to privacy on social networking sites, Emma Carr, the Deputy Director for Big Brother Watch – a British Civil Liberties pressure group that challenges policies affecting privacy and freedom and Hannah Flynn, who works for ChildLine, to communicate with young people in the UK, particularly working on their interactions with digital and social media.