As political parties finalise their manifestos before the May General Election, we’re urging politicians to ensure they don’t ignore the creative potential of people and places in danger of being ‘left behind’ in the UK’s tentative economic recovery.
Launched today, on the eve of a large-scale arts event where over 300 people will take to the streets to explore the social isolation of young people in cities, the 2015 Manifesto from Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) sets out five ‘calls for change’.
At the heart of each call is the need for a fresh approach to politics and policy-making that fuses art, technology and community creativity to better meet people’s needs and aspirations.
Our Director Carolyn Hassan explains: “The UK is emerging from a severe economic crisis – but some people and places are at risk of being left behind. Our manifesto sets out what the political parities must commit to in order to open up access to the ideas, tools and opportunities that will ensure that the UK’s economic recovery is inclusive – and that people feel they have a positive role to play in shaping their own future.”
The 15-page Manifesto draws on our experience of working with the Knowle West community, and the talent and culture there that is too often over-looked. The Manifesto makes five ‘calls for change’ that will make a difference to communities most in need – as well as benefiting the UK as a whole. Read a summary below or download the Manifesto here.
The Manifesto was launched on 13th February, marking the beginning of “Night Walks with Teenagers” – three nights of performance bringing artists, teenagers and other people together to meet, walk and talk – and explore issues including isolation and social mobility in the process.
Carolyn Hassan, Director of KWMC, said: “KMWC has worked with communities since 1996 to develop and test creative responses to some of the biggest issues facing our cities, including social isolation, youth unemployment and climate change. Time and time again, we’ve found that mixing art, technology and community participation is the key to success. With our 2015 Manifesto we want to make sure our five “calls for change” are heard and get the buy-in they need to make a real difference – not just to Knowle West, but to the many communities that too often get over-looked.”
Pat Filer, a resident of Knowle West, said: “Creative projects like KWMC’s Pop-Up Furniture Factory, which has created real jobs for local people, show just what a community can do with the right kind of support. Politicians need to make it easier to do this kind of community enterprise – bigger, even better, and in more places.”
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We believe that art and culture are integral to all our lives and also bring huge benefits – social and economic – to our communities and our nation. The arts aren’t a luxury but a crucial resource we can’t afford to lose, and it’s vital to understand how public investment plays a critical part in helping them thrive. We applaud Knowle West Media Centre for opening up the space for this debate and encourage people to engage with it.”
Opening up access to ideas, tools and opportunities that will help to ensure that the UK’s economic recovery is inclusive.