Project seeks to expand and develop exciting new creative initiatives
Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s Miss Represented - a collective of vulnerable young women aged 13-21 who face challenging and chaotic life situations - are to launch a crowdfunding campaign this week.
A lifeline to its members - many of whom experience homelessness, exclusion from school and involvement in the criminal justice system - Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s flagship project uses the arts to explore important issues, enable the group to feel empowered and have their voices heard. Following its immense success to date - including a collaboration with multi-award-winning rapper Plan B and an appearance on BBC Radio 1xtra - Miss Represented is seeking support to enable the project to develop and expand into the future.
Since its establishment in 2011, the group of extraordinary young women have come together regularly to share, listen and take a collective journey to find immense courage, creating space for hope and new possibilities for the future. During weekly tailored sessions, they learn new creative skills such as photography, drama, dance, fashion and music and reach out to the community via regular public performances, exhibitions or events that investigate important issues such as sex and consent, domestic abuse, media representations of women and female empowerment. With wisdom and creative innovation, they have presented their stories in their own words through numerous showings, enabling audiences to hear and experience life through their eyes from a fresh and powerful new perspective.
"It's giving people like us a second chance for life, people who have not had the best chances in life" says one of the participants. Another comments: "I feel at home here, I can be myself here, there's no judgement. I can feel free here".
Miss Represented is now seeking donations to be able to develop and expand into the future. Key upcoming projects and initiatives include a new phase of creative work centring on ‘Being Female’ today including investigating social media, sex and relationships and motherhood; a retrospective of work at Brighton Dome celebrating International Women’s Day and re-working, re-staging and touring the recent successful show Home: Life which explored experiences of being young and homeless with little or no support system.
Rebecca Fidler, Creative Learning Manager, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: '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 inside. 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 to the lives of those who haven’t had the best start in life.'
Since autumn 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, including those who are vulnerable or socially excluded. Miss Represented currently receives funding from The Chalk Cliff Trust and has also attracted funding from The Rayne Foundation and Artswork.
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: 'We are delighted to have supported Miss Represented through its development and beyond and to see the project grow and flourish. All of our city's young people deserve the opportunity to thrive and we know that the arts can contribute so much: to their wellbeing, to their view of the world and to their life chances. Miss Represented is a vital project in our community and an enormously rewarding one to be involved with.'
The Miss Represented crowdfunding campaign runs until 24 December 2015. To find out more or to make a donation to the crowdfunding campaign, click here.