A unique project by young people has raised awareness of some of the discrimination Black, Asian and ethnic minorities face in the Liverpool City Region.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham launched the Generations For Change project last year as part of the Authority’s Equality Race Programme.
Six young individuals from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority backgrounds were chosen to do creative research over six months.
Each young producer was allocated a borough in the Liverpool City Region.
The project is aimed at amplifying the voices of young people discriminated against in society because of their race.
The aim was to help the government find a solution on how they can prevent structural inequalities in the region.
MNL spoke to two young producers who worked independently on their research in the region.
Already having a musical background, Nadia Anim wanted to allow the BAME community in Knowsley to express themselves through visual arts.
Through poetry, playing with musical instruments and working with musicians, she created an EP from her free workshop and gathered data on how individuals identify in Knowsley and view their representation in the media.
She told MNL: “The thing that amazed me the most was how different culturally Knowsley is as a borough compared to the Liverpool metropolitan borough.”
Knowsley only includes 1% of non-white people in the area.
She added: “From what I’ve seen, young people from diverse backgrounds in Knowsley live in a world where it’s meant to be ‘colour blind’, rather than what I’ve seen growing up in Toxteth where it’s more of a celebration on the diversity.”
Nadia worked with a focus group of six people ranging from ages of 16 to 28.
One prominent thing she addressed through her research is a need for arts to be more accessible to those outside of the city centre.
She said: “I think there’s still not enough representation of young diverse people in society. It’s important for me to keep digging so it becomes easier for the next generation to get into arts.”
Hilan Gully also used her artistic background in order to create the exhibition ‘Voices’ presented in Output Gallery Liverpool.
She used focus groups to speak to people from the Middle Eastern Arab community. It highlighted how they felt their voices are represented in relation to climate change.
She said: “They created protests boards of things that they’d want to say and discussed who would be responsible for that change.
“I used interviews where people would come to me and discuss these things in more detail”
Hilan created a poll that posed the question ‘Is your voice heard in relation to climate change’.
She placed it in areas where she knew the community would engage with it.
She said: “There were so many more no’s than yes, which was so unfortunate to see.
“I assumed they had a bad experience or didn’t have the confidence to say something. Some of them said they lacked confidence to get out there and engage with the issue.”
The research illustrated how the Middle Eastern community felt their identity in the mainstream media followed the stereotype connected to conflict, trauma, and war.
Hilan said: “This stigma and stereotype exists. As humans it’s always been important to us to put people in a certain box to understand them.”
Being from the community herself, Hilan found the responses and opinions to be very similar to her own feelings.
She added: “The next step is improving representation of my community and working with a combined authority talking about how we can engage with these communities and provide them those safe spaces to talk.”
As the research comes to an end, both young producers agreed that more work needs to be done to address different issues in the region.
Nadia said: “Six months is not enough time to do this project. I think we all unpicked some things but there’s still more, every borough has a different thing to address. It feels like this is the beginning of something.”
Listen to the link below from the two producers about their research work in the region: