In February 2018 the Jump Studios team had the opportunity to speak to year 11 students at Ralph Allen school in Bath, UK. Their aim was to open a discussion around men’s mental health and perceptions of masculinity. The team are in the process of planning a new programme called ‘The Male Room’ which will explore these topics further, so engaging with young people to discuss their views about masculinity – what it means, what it entails – was a useful and powerful experience.
The team started the session by explaining what has led them to working in their fields of interest and at KWMC. Communications Coordinator Daniel commented: “I find it interesting how sharing your story can create a powerful environment of transparency that lends itself to others learning not just about the person speaking but from themselves as well.”
Then the students were split into two groups: those who identified as male or felt more comfortable in a male space, and those who identified as female or felt more comfortable in a female space. Working with the male group, Daniel led an activity-game of ‘Agree or Disagree’ where he read out a range of statements about masculinity and what it means to be male and invited the students to move to different spaces in the room depending on their responses.
Daniel said: “This proved to be an impactful exercise. It enabled the young people – and me – to open up about the repressive ideals that our culture can hold men to and the effect on all of us living in that space. One standout moment for me was when I read the statement ‘Society thinks being gay makes you less masculine’ and every person in the room moved to the side of the room to show that they agreed.”
As the Jump Studios team continues to develop The Male Room project, they are keen to find out more about the challenges and pressures that young men experience. If you’d like to find out more please contact Daniel or Mena on 0117 903 0444.