Arts Against Violence
In 1998 Pan began a new area of intercultural work in its home borough of Camden. Working with the Camden Equalities Unit it designed 'Keep the Peace', a project created to engage with the growing problem of race-based violence on housing estates in South Camden.
In these areas tensions between different ethnic groups was leading to anti-social behaviour and crime, particularly amongst young people, creating a sense of fear amongst the community.
Through participatory arts activities using creativity to investigate social issues such as racism and prejudice, young people were empowered to gain a voice to examine and explore their situation, their possibilities and their futures.
By providing a safe space where they could take time out from the pressures of their lives they reflected on their actions and consequences.
One of the biggest barriers the programme tackled was the sense of territorialism between different groups of young people, using creativity to organically bring groups together in a neutral venue to share performances and to open positive debate on issues raised.
Sadly over the years there has been a proliferation of reported cases of youth crime, increasingly more violent, which has escalated feelings of fear and a negative perception of today's youth.
As a response Pan's Arts Against Violence programme has expanded across Greater London using a similar model to the initial project in Camden.
Past projects such as F.U.R.I.O.U.S and 'There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack' engaged over 3000 young people, working in conjunction with youth centres and schools across London, resulting in DVDs, publications and sell out showcases of young people's creative reflections of growing up in London.
One of the developments alongside the main programme of work has been a peer mentoring and youth leadership strand.
Pan's work advocates for the empowerment of young people. Particularly in the Arts Against Violence programme young people, especially those at risk of exclusion or failing academically, can turn their lives around and re-establish a positive sense of self, raise aspirations and increase respect for others when they are given the responsibility of leading their own project and mentoring others.
Our 2009 project 'Weapon of Choice' is a shining example of the potential of our young people as the next generation of positive citizens who actively seek for solutions to community problems.
Weapon of Choice has previously been funded by: