By Vanessa Rojas (based on the presentation Vanessa gave, by Zoom, at the 2020 London Festival of Architecture)
We wanted to make a short film for the London Festival of Architecture exploring what POWER – their 2020 theme – means to young people (aged 16-20) living in Brixton. But then along came Covid-19 and the Lockdown made it impossible for us to meet and have a group discussion as we had planned for the film.
But being given the chance to have our voices heard by an audience on a platform that we don’t easily get access to was an opportunity that we didn’t want to lose…….so we decided to adapt how we filmed in order to create something that would provide a taster of our thoughts on the topic.
Instead of filming the group of contributors together we filmed each contributor individually outside or they self filmed in their homes and I interviewed them by phone – all just as the Covid lockdown restrictions were starting to be eased.
We have edited the content we filmed into a trailer which gives an insight into the common themes that we will explore in more detail when we eventually make the ‘Discovering Empowerment’ short film.
The two common threads through all of the interviews were:
Young people feel that power comes from within their own communities.
Emmanuel, who is in the trailer felt very strongly about this and said that if he had the choice to leave his community to live somewhere else perceived as being ‘safer / with less crime/ more affluent or more desirable etc’ then he would not go because that would be a weak thing to do.
He felt it was more powerful to stay and influence his community for the good of everyone in it, from within it.
They also feel that power can be used for good in the right hands.
Everyone we interviewed for the trailer raised this point individually and I think their comments come out of looking around them and reacting to how they feel those in power at the moment use it.
Like many young people, often adults don’t ask my opinions and if they do then there is a sense that their interest isn’t that genuine as they don’t actually listen to what I’ve got to say. Instead I get told what to do and what my opinion should be about things a lot.
Making this trailer and having it presented on this platform is therefore in itself empowering.
We are really grateful to the LFA, Ftwork and We Rise Brixton to have been asked to create it.