FEATURE: 2017 Is Your Year, Young Creatives
Lewis Wedlock on why 2017 is the year young creatives need to make their voices heard.
We have been divided by political opinion.
The events of 2016 have resulted in young people becoming increasingly divided from each other. We have been divided by political opinion. Brexit has caused a massive separation amongst members of the UK, particularly us young people. We have the rise of fascist ideologies, through Donald Trump’s rhetoric around immigrant, being endorsed by a Ku Klux Klan member, and reported increases in hate crimes. In response to this exclusion, young creators have responded by expressing their frustration through creative endeavours, particularly in Bristol.
Living in Bristol I feel part of a culturally diverse community. This has given me access to a wealth of cultural and political opinions that reflect the multitude of voices that make up the UK. This allows me as a creator, and more importantly as a member of the community, to understand the people I am trying to represent. I am inspired more by young creators from my city than I am from figureheads in the mainstream media.
I am inspired more by young creators from my city than I am from figureheads in the mainstream media.
For example, the work of Ailsa Fineron, Jasmine Thompson and Aisha Sangyang- Meek first introduced me to Rife Magazine. The raw, personal and insightful viewpoints of THEIR Bristol, THEIR perceptions of society and what needs to be challenged to positively impact the local community inspired me to attempt to follow in their footsteps.
In addition to this, the work of 365 Recordings. They inject the essence of Bristol into every music video they film. Every video features young musicians articulating their frustrations and opinions through music. Lens Flare Media, in asking and answering the question ‘what is racism?’ in a short documentary pushed me to represent myself and my content in the most honest way possible. In order to do this, I had to immerse myself in societal issues. This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for like-minded creators striving for the same progress and change within our society that I also aspire for.
This fear of not being accepted is blocking an avenue for not only personal development but a platform to represent what you want to change within society.
Unfortunately creativity, particularly amongst young members of society is still repressed and subdued, meaning that young people feel their work, their ideas and more importantly their freedom of speech is not valued. For example, I speak to SO many people regarding my personal blog ‘Altiefe’ and I often get the response of ‘I would start a blog but I just don’t know if people would care about what I have to say’.
This fear of not being accepted is blocking an avenue for not only personal development but a platform to represent what you want to change within society. The events of the past year have been at numerous times, hard to comprehend. These events in hindsight are diametrically opposite to what us as young members of this democracy represent and align our beliefs with.
For example, on the whole, as a generation we are much more intune with concepts such as xenophobia, bigotry and sexism and as a result of this awareness understand that society is not fair. So why are we in large ignored when it comes to opportunities to reduce the prevalence of these issues? The young creators I have mentioned are aware of this and aim to change the way the system operates, by peacefully protesting through the medium of their own creation, something that positively represents the spirit and mind that they embody. And they will continue to do so.
So can you.
So where does 2017 fit into this?
So where does 2017 fit into this?
Looking onward to this year, I believe that as young members of society, our collective creative endeavours will be even more apparent. Although we are already doing so , we need MORE young, ambitious creators to expand their framework and their skillset to put forth a body of work that continues to represent us in an honest light. A platform in which we have a voice and this voice is clear, undistorted and free of any interference from any form of institution. A platform that continues to grow and regards us young members of society as a collective voice for our generation.
Why is this important?
Do you want somebody else who doesn’t know you, doesn’t understand the world from your perspective but enforces changes that supposedly has your best interests at heart? If you have something to say, if you have something to represent, then pick up your phone, your laptop or your camera and get to work. 2017 is an opportunity – a book of 365 pages that YOU can write yourself. What do you want to change within society? What really bothers you? How are you going to go about enforcing this change? Reader, you have the skillset, the experience and the ability to change your community through being yourself. Society needs people like YOU to represent those who may not be able to articulate their frustrations through fear of literal death. Take your voice and speak your opinions – loud. You are gifted with freedom AND creativity – do not take it for granted.
2017, young creators are awake, and we are coming . Let’s do this.
Support more young people to have their voices heard
Rife is Watershed‘s online magazine created for young people, by young people.
We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8,000 young people through our workshops, over 220 young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beans, and last year, over 200,000 people visited our website.
In these complex and uncertain times hearing from and supporting young people who are advocating for social change and contributing fresh perspectives has never been so important.
Through supporting Rife you can ensure that this important work continues and that more young people have their voices heard.