The starting point

I have been invited to use the commission to address issues of social justice. I am interested in taking this opportunity to develop a project with young people in Taunton that cultivates an active voice, empowering them to influence change within the wider community.

In this time of political uncertainty, societies fractures become more apparent, revealing divides between social groups, be that through wealth, race, gender or political interest. The project will attempt to instil a sense of understanding and acceptance for the differences in our society to encourage a country that is inclusive, equal and fair. 

Working with young people in Taunton, we’ll develop a camp designed to support discussion, empathy and understanding between young people in Taunton. The camp will challenge socio-cultural norms and act as an opportunity for undertaking shared, common activities, while offering a space for open discussion and reflection about personal experience. The outcome will provide a common ground which is open to, and provides understanding of, multiple perspectives, in a bid to create connections between divided parts of the community. 

A key area of interest for this project will be the divide between young people and the other parts of the community, a divide which manifests itself through polarising associations of attitude, culture, political stance, and in many instances homophobia, transphobia and racism. It will also seek to reflect the physical and digital divide – as a series of rural isolated communities, young peoples connection with each other is likely to be strongly reliant on social media rather than direct encounters.

As a starting point we’ll be researching the history of young people in Somerset’s archive, finding ways to connect young people now with those of the past via a collective sense of division and/or togetherness. 

Next time, i’ll update you on some of the interesting articles we’ve found including the local pogo championships! 

By Thomas Goddard

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