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LET’S TALK Knife Crime Project 2019-2022

LET’S TALK, CTVT’s four year project looking for breakthrough initiatives to confront the scourge of knife crime, is starting its third year. Lockdown with Covid-19 caused the loss of one scheduled Forum, at Dulwich College in the 2020 series. The other five events involving schools and youth clubs took place as planned.

Despite another protracted lockdown in early 2021, families in the country’s inner cities and London especially still face fear and a rise in violent crime.  CTVT is looking at online discussions with families as well as young people.

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Young people in the 2020 series of Forums spoke passionately and sometimes angrily about racism both in the Police and even in schools. Tougher sentences were wanted, and some students called for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Community TV Trust [CTVT], in schools and PRUs and workshops for the disabled and marginalised, offers media training & filmmaking, engaging people and young people in open-ended creative work, linking Community to Education. Featured above is a scene from a musical drama about knife crime created by Year 9 students at Harris Academy Peckham.

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Partnering CTVT in the second year of LET’S TALK were Ark Walworth Academy, Blue Elephant Theatre, Highshore School, Dulwich College, plus Surrey Square Primary School and Bede Youth Adventure Project returning for a second year.

CTVT has produced a large number of film dramas with the students at local Southwark schools, primary and secondary, and youth clubs, and shot many films including a one-hour documentary, “It’s A Cavendish Thing”, with students and staff at Cavendish School in Bermondsey.

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Chris Haydon, who founded Community TV Trust in 1999, worked in broadcast TV as a director and producer, learning his trade as a documentary filmmaker on 16mm at Granada TV in Manchester.

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Southwark.TV Report available for download

“An open-minded, fun and accessible community ‘TV’ service, run as a forum for debate, the supply of information and promotion of local initiatives, talent and needs, has a vital role to play in multi-cultural, multi-faith C21st century Britain. Digital/cable TV and new media will be playing their part in urban regeneration and social cohesion.”

Community TV Trust from its launch in 1999 sought ways to innovative in community media. How might engagement be achieved?

Southwark.TV – a ‘horizontal’ community project – ran from a pilot in early 2003 to 2014 when the site was archived. You can find it under the CTVT Projects menu or click HERE to read it. Once you have read the report you can also browse the Southwark.TV website from HERE

It foresaw the rise of social media and online activity, shifting away from mainstream media to portable/mobile devices and citizen journalism.

 

Plans in 2021

Alongside continuing with our investigation of knife crime by listening to young people and families in our 4-year LET’S TALK project, we are lined up to make a film with Ole Jensen on the Brookwood Cemetery exploring minority burial grounds. Previously Jensen produced the film about Millwall FC which Chris Haydon directed.

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We’re also  starting production on “BELT, BRACES & DISABILITY 3“, a documentary about disability in Britain. This is a sequel to two films made with previous client Freewheelers Theatre & Media Company.

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LET’S TALK filmed a Musical and a Drama

LET’S TALK filmed is scenes from a musical written, composed and performed by students at Harris Academy Peckham. The script came from real life and the murder of a former pupil in south London when he tried to intervene in a fight.

This formed part of the film screening in autumn 2019 of schools and youth clubs in Southwark.

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Filming also took place of “One Road, Two Paths“, a powerful drama by local company Movement Factory, a Peckham-based dance group for 11-19 year olds. Five dancers from the company attended the final LET’S TALK Forum at HAP and performed extracts from their production.

“LET’S TALK” Knife Crime Discussion Forums

Community TV Trust won funding from The Peckham Settlement to run “LET’S TALK”, a project on knife crime, in early 2019. The programme of discussion forums for young people to speak at has now concluded. Work on production of a documentary film and two performance films to tour Southwark and south London has begun. These will certainly stimulate thought and debate and inspire other young people.

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Here is a short film introducing the Southwark world of knife crime as registered by its young people across the LET’S TALK Forums:

The 2019 series of Discussion Forums started at Surrey Square Primary School in January to listen to young people aged ten or eleven; moved to Bermondsey’s Bede Youth Adventure Project in early February to hear from 13 year olds, and in late February met 16 year old students at Harris Academy Peckham in central Southwark. LET’S TALK returned to HAP for the fifth and final Forum in early July.

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The key ingredient throughout was the Panel of professionals invited by Community TV Trust to attend the Forums and listen to how young people described their world. The Panel convened in March to deliberate over what they had heard and consider what actions to take.

Panel members at the final Forum comprised a Deputy Director of Policy and the Ministry of Justice, a QC who sits as a Judge, a youth pastor, a Stop & Search consultant,  a music teacher and an academic, with Chris Haydon, Director of Community TV Trust as chair. All spoke about their ideas and actions:

1  bereaved parents of a recent Harris pupil were enabled to meet the Prime Minister as a direct result of two panel members speaking together;

2  an academic studying the policing of Southwark suggested a controversial idea* – no longer using the Police to combat knife crime … but all other agencies instead should get involved, namely parents schools youth services and so on;

3  Stop & Search required both parties to learn to be more respectful of each other, Police officers as much as young people;

4  Educating Parents was requested by Harris students and CTVT has agreed to host a website and YouTube channel with students driving content generation. CTVT will seek funding for this expansion of LET’S TALK;

5  Young people were urged to communicate more with the Police;

6  All were urged to provide care for victims, and this included families of perpetrators as well as of the victims. One Panel member spoke of her personal loss through a knife crime and her sorrow contemplating the convicted killer’s family who effectively lost their son too, as he will spend the next twenty five years in prison.

Community TV Trust wishes to thank its partners for this successful first year of discussion forums: they are Surrey Square Primary School, Bede Youth Adventure Project, Harris Academy Peckham. Each partner played host to one of the series of Forums.

*CTVT will publish this proposal in full as soon as possible.