A crowd funding campaign is being launched today by Miss Represented, a project by Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival. Miss Represented is an arts collective working with vulnerable young women aged 13-21 who face challenging and chaotic life situations.
Many of its member’s experience homelessness, exclusion from school and involvement in the criminal justice system and is a lifeline for many. The flagship project, established in 2011, uses the arts to explore important issues, helping the group feel empowered and to have their voices heard. Its aim is to inspire socially excluded young women and wants to challenge society’s view of young women that are deemed to be displaying risky or challenging behaviour. Using the arts, they aim to help young women to develop social, political and media literacy awareness, develop self-worth and feel empowered, pursue purpose and passions as well as develop skills to create pathways for future employment and education.
They have already had immense success, including a collaboration with rapper Plan B and an appearance on BBC Radio 1xtra. During weekly tailored sessions, they learn new creative skills such as photography, drama, dance, fashion and music as well as regularly reaching out to the community with public performances, exhibitions or events. These events investigate important issues, from consent, domestic abuse to female empowerment, giving their audiences an opportunity to hear and experience life from a fresh perspective. One of the participants said “It’s like giving people like us a second chance for life, people who have not had the best chances in life”, another has commented “I feel at home here, I can be myself here, there’s no judgment.”
An upcoming project of theirs is a new phase of creative work centring on ‘Being Female’. They are investigating social media, sex and relationships and motherhood. They are also looking at work at the Brighton Dome celebrating International Women’s Day and re-working, re-staging and touring the recent successful show Home:Life exploring experiences of being young and homeless with little or no support system. Rebecca Fidler, Creative Learning Manager said “Miss Represented seeks to shine a light on young people whose intelligence and talents have been obscured by simplistic labels or lain undiscovered due to complex life situations. We offer a safe space that encourages them to understand their own stories, to express themselves and find a way to develop the confidence to try something new and unlock what lies ahead. By expressing thoughts and ideas through exhibitions and performances we want to have a dialogue with our community, to allow hearts and minds to expand and build a deeper understanding between groups that may struggle to understand each other in a difficult world. We have many exciting and meaningful plans for the future and with your help we can continue to build on our success so far and make a real difference of the lives of those who haven’t had the best start in life”.
Since 2014, Miss Represented has been a partner in the University of Sussex’s ‘Beating the Odds’ programme which aims to explore, understand, and evaluate the impact of involvement in creative arts projects for young people across the South East. Miss Represented has attracted funding from a number of supporters including The Chalk Cliff Trust, The Rayne Foundation and Artswork. They are now seeking donations with a maximum target of £10,275 to be able to develop and expand into the future. The crowd funder is being run until 25th December 2015. To find out more about Miss Represented or to make a donation, click here.
Video and feature image from here