Political Youth Festival 2019
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
SHOUT OUT UK hosted the first ever Political Youth Festival earlier this year. The event proved to be a massive success with it's line up of political figures, guest speakers and companies leading the way for youth engagement towards politics.
Inspired by the famous BBC Show Superstars, this year Shout Out UK thought of an exciting way to engage the youth in politics, sports. Launching in 2012, Shout Out has since then had many accomplishments, including a collaboration with Channel 4 and ITN Productions to launch Britain’s first ever Youth Leaders’ Debate, trending on U.K Twitter and also building a network of over 700 schools across the U.K. This year Shout Out was joined by companies She Is Clothed, Online Media Law and More United in the first ever Political Youth Festival the U.K has ever seen.
The festival commenced with a series of sporting events which pits political figures together to 'to break down the barrier between politicians and the electorate'. Understanding that an open and responsive democracy can only be achieved if the next generation feels confident and obliged to engage in it, Shout Out orchestrated this event to celebrate the 'the coming of voter registration age for all young people across the UK'.
Aiming to tackle the fact that political education does not exist in the formal curriculum, Shout Out prevails in creatively encouraging engagement. The audience of the event ranged from young people from youth clubs, secondary schools and Pupil Referral Units that have enjoyed Shout Out's Political Literacy Course.
Leading companies She Is Clothed, Online Media Law and More United also joined forced to spark debate, discussion and indulge attendees in valuable knowledge. CEO founder of Online Media Law, Holly Powell Jones, began the trail of workshops, with hers focussing on what is (or isn’t) illegal to post on social media. Her workshop indeed created a lot of debate as it was rather tricky to recognise what breaks the law and what doesn't as there is near to no regulation on online usage. With posts ranging from topics about celebrities, sexualisation and even rape, attendees struggled to come up with solid responses of whether a comment broke the law or not.
More United focussed more on engaging the youth with what should be prioritised by policy makers. The workshop entailed grouping attendees and who then selected a Prime Minister who would then be persuaded by the other group members on funding their programmes or policy proposals.
Cornerstones of Shout Out
During POLI-FEST, I had the pleasure of speaking to the members of Shout Out UK who stand as the pillars of the organisation. By sparking engaging conversation, I was able to gain intimate insight on the current and long-term goals of Shout Out. Speaking to Communications Officer Kat, I understood that Shout Out attains the ambitious goal of ensuring political education is taught all over schools in the U.K. Being the Communications Officer, Kat is dedicated to attaining partnerships with influential institutions such as Goldsmiths and Sussex University. By creating ties with youth related organisations Kat plants the seed of Political Education and welcomes organisations to introducing valuable courses related to political knowledge and engagement. Commenting on the event, she stated that the agenda of the event was to ensure that young people are able to feel confident in directly engaging in politics. She also praised the usage of sports as a tool for easing the barriers between politics and generation Z.
Also speaking to, Education Coordinator Lucie, I learnt that every member stands as a cornerstone for the successes of Shout Out UK. Lucie's role of teaching the courses and actively creating a channel for young people and politics is perhaps the best step any organisation can take towards encouraging youth engagement in current affairs. Most young people are not introduced to politics through an institutional channel hence Lucie's role is significant in introducing politics in an educational yet exciting way to further encourage participation. Accordingly, Lucie states that the future aim of Shout Out is to teach 'anywhere and everywhere there is young people' - understanding the paramount benefits of raising a knowledgable generation taking part in a democracy.
Being a previous intern myself, I am proud to say that Shout Out provides plenty of opportunities for young people to gain experience within different sectors of the organisation. One of their most extensive channels of opportunity is their online writers hub which involves over 10,000 writers who express their voice within the platform provided by the company. You can check this out at https://www.shoutoutuk.org/, with topics ranging from current affairs, culture, travel and sport, you can find countless articles voicing the opinions of people who would otherwise have no outlet of their views.