Currently the number of young people becoming socially
excluded through truancy, suspension from school
and anti-social behaviour is increasing. Once a young person is removed from
education, they have no structure
to work within, no goals and more often than not end up on the streets with
nothing to do.
Many ex-pupils are not provided with educational alternatives or help with
their personal issues as government
agencies have few options available to them.
This is a sure recipe for a young person to become
involved in drugs or alcohol abuse, anti-social behaviour and
criminal activity. Without a positive challenging and supportive environment
for young people to apply themselves
and develop a sense of self worth, personal confidence and social skills,
these youngsters will get trapped in an
extremely negative downwards spiral.
There are project/schemes available but none offer
art and design with all the benefits of addressing the issues
facing young people being re-integrated into society after a custodial sentence.
Young people are very visually
aware and arts based projects will bring them back into a learning environment.
Graffiti is a crime which costs just
the London Borough of Newham alone around £127,000 per annum to clear
The role of the Arts
Recently there has been an awakening
about the role that the arts play, and the important impact they can have
with the rehabilitation and tackling of youth crime. In March 2002 the Youth
Justice Board and the Arts Council
of England held a conference at the Tate Modern in London entitled "Including
the Arts (preventing youth
offending)". One of the Key speakers at the conference, Tessa Jowell
"We already know the ingredients
that make up the reasons why a young person turns to crime. They include
having no role models, no self-respect, no self-discipline and nothing better
to do... A growing body of evidence
points to the benefits of the arts based initiatives in the criminal justice
Also, Trevor Blackman - NDC Play/Youth Strategic
Development Manager says:
"New ways of delivering youth provision
must be implemented, and innovative projects that are based at times
on the 'wants', and more importantly the 'needs' of young people should be
actioned (and have their input at every
stage of the developmental procedure). Then and only then, we can truly say
we have included young people in
the whole regenerational process".
Over the past years there has been an awakening about the role that the arts
play and the important impact they can have when engaging with the youth.
As well as with sports, art gives them all the tools they need to make a
success of their lives and keep them off crime and trouble. The arts and
sports encourage young people to make choices, decisions and personal statements,
to have enthusiasm, to take risks and to take responsibility. These skills
don't just develop creativity but can improve the chances of employment.
Graffiti is not just about writing on walls. Graffiti murals are a form of
artistic expression by which the artist expresses his understanding of his
persona in relation with the community that surrounds him/her. It builds
community sense of belonging by creating an awareness of location, time,
Graffiti is not a “quick and dirty” form
of expression. Responsible murals require preliminary stages of research,
collaboration, debate, composition,
planning, responsibility and team work.
A graffiti mural is not just a drawing on a
wall. It is the results of a collaborative effort of a team of young people
working together towards a
common goal. It is the result of applying a new set of skills. It is an immense
sense of pride to feel part of a project and to see the results of the work
displayed to a broader audience, the community that surrounds the artist.
OnTheLevel Productions delivers high quality
graffiti workshops where the young people’s experience and engagement
is the utmost priority. Our team of social workers and graffiti artists
take each group of young people
through the whole experience of creating a collaborative mural, from generation
of ideas to conception, production and community awareness.