Young people of east London are one of the target audiences for V&A East and their participation in our spaces and programming will be crucial to the success of the project. Our brilliant Youth Collective cohort are an integral part of the development of V&A East, and they are involved in inputting, commenting, and shaping all aspects of the development of the project. This blog post introduces the members of our current V&A East Youth Collective and includes insights into their interests and why they want to work with us to create a museum that is not only complementary but entrenched in the community of east London.
This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring the activity of our current V&A East Youth Collective.
My name is Hafiza; I like crocheting, cats, cooking and woodworking. My favourite thing about east London is the diversity and feeling of a community. Growing up brown and as a Muslim, I didn’t feel comfortable in majority-white spaces like museums and art galleries. This is why I wanted to be part of the V&A East Youth Collective; it’s a way to make a difference so that other kids don’t feel the same as I did and to help create a space where they feel like they belong.
Hi, my name is Fahmida. In my spare time, I enjoy baking and rollerblading. My favourite thing about east London is its diversity; being surrounded by people of different cultures and who speak a variety of languages has allowed me to have a greater understanding of people from all walks of life. It’s built my character and made me a more inquisitive and caring individual who strives to treat everyone with the same love and respect regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.
I wanted to be in the Youth Collective to be a part of a project that voices young people’s opinions. This is a chance for me to reach the minds of people my age and allow them to explore and learn through art.
My name is Glenda Gaspard; I’m a community engagement manager and freelance cultural producer from east London. I love the diverse stories and people that belong to east London and how much this melting pot of culture has inspired me creatively. My passion for being a part of the Youth Collective comes from my desire to amplify marginalised voices so that more east Londoners can feel ‘seen’, ‘heard’ and included in the very spaces on their doorsteps.
Hi, my name is Haleema. I like reading and doing artsy stuff like drawing or crocheting. My favourite thing about east London is the cultural diversity, which has led to great fashion, food and art. I wanted to be part of the Youth Collective because I saw a great opportunity. I can help shape what the future local V&A Museums will be like and get to meet new people with similar interests.
My name is Aamina (18), from Forest Gate. I study geography, economics and business studies. I feel extremely passionate about allowing ethnic minority voices and opinions to be heard regarding issues they face. My favourite thing about east London is the multiculturalism – I love learning about other cultures and traditions. I wanted to be a part of the V&A East project as I wanted to be a voice of the youth in east London to help vocalise the needs and wants of people like me.
Hi, I’m Nuha, and I am currently a university student – fun times (!). I’ve only come to the realisation recently about how important being creative is to me and having an outlet to express myself is something I value greatly. The main thing I am proud of is my fashion style. Am I going to uni, or am I going to a fashion show? Fashion show always!!
My favourite thing about east London is that so much culture is shared within and between communities and allows me to learn more and embrace different lives and points of view. I wanted to be in the Youth Collective because I want to enrich myself in a creative environment. I also think it’s intriguing to see the behind the scenes of different industries, especially something as big as the V&A.
I’m Zoe, and I am a creative producer. East London is an inspiring place to be, and everyone here has an interesting story to tell. I wanted to be part of the Youth Collective because V&A East is an exciting opportunity for the museum to benefit east-enders and vice versa.
Hiya, I’m Ceylan. :) Gobbling up new bits of information is my favourite pastime, whether that be reading books, keeping an eye on current affairs (a dog chasing its tail) or discovering a new artist. Whether a film director, a graffiti/street artist or a funny Twitter account, information can be powerful and sharing it can lead to a revolution.
When I am away from east London and missing it, I often imagine myself eating at one of the mouth-watering food spots tucked away inside average looking, maybe slightly dated, exteriors that wondrously hold the kitchens of the world. In my own Turkish culture, I feel that food equates to love. But, like food, museums also have forgotten secrets and tell rich stories, albeit in a more tangible sense. I wanted to be a part of curating east London’s storytelling to ensure it was beneficial to and representative of the people who live next door.
Hi, I’m Maryam, and I have always had an interest in the arts and have been keen to develop the area and community I have grown up in. I have also always enjoyed working with other people and contributing my ideas to creative projects. However, as someone who comes from a south Asian and Muslim background, I have often felt under-represented and excluded from the art scene. Therefore, helping with a project like this will be extremely rewarding. I firmly believe that this exciting project will also give access to the younger generation in our area and provide the same advantages in the art field they have been lacking, particularly compared to more developed areas in London.
My name is Samuel. I like to eat the word of God. My favourite thing about east London is that it’s diverse and there are many things to do. I wanted to be in the Youth Collective because I wanted to gain work experience and I have an interest in history and in museums.
I’m 18 years old and currently studying psychology at university. I feel passionate about every person having a platform to voice their thoughts. This is one of the reasons why I joined the Youth Collective, as it was a way for me and others to input whilst also being a part of something I love (art and museums). My favourite thing about east London is the diversity.
Hi, I’m Hafsa! I wanted to be in the Youth Collective because I wanted to be a part of this unique and fascinating creation of a museum so close to home! In addition, I feel passionate about helping people and making a difference in the world, which is another reason I wanted to be in the Youth Collective. My favourite thing about east London is the Olympic Park as there is always a variety of things to do there and just a nice place to go for a day out.
I am a geography undergraduate with a huge passion for fashion. My favourite aspect of east London is the hip culture, including the farmer’s market in Victoria Park. I wanted to be part of the Youth Collective to influence the creative vision that will shape future projects.
My name is Rameen, and I enjoy sports such as basketball and boxing. My favourite thing about east London is the opportunities for young people as I feel there is so much to get involved with, especially with sports and creativity. I wanted to be in the Youth Collective as I feel it’s important that young people get involved with bettering the community and sharing our voices and opinions on ways to improve our area.
Creating art with other people and participating in creative group projects have always been highlights of my life. I have always felt inclined to create art in my free time. The opportunity to be a part of the Youth Collective allows me to put my interest in the subject into action and hopefully significantly impact our community.
I’m Adam, 16 years old, and I feel very passionate about sport and fitness, and I’ve also started to take an interest in engineering recently.
My favourite thing about east London is the diversity, which makes meeting new people fun and not boring as each person has a different story to tell and brings something new to offer.
I wanted to be in the youth collective as I believed that it would be a good character-building program and it provides me with insight and behind-the-scenes experiences of how big projects are planned. However, I also couldn’t ignore the fact that they asked young people to take part in this journey which is rare for most organisations. That really stood out to me and also became a factor upon my arrival at V&A East.