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Protest for

Sounds and artefacts

While studying my MA in Visual Sociology at Goldsmiths in 2016, I volunteered once a week with the NGO Refugee Youth, based in Croydon, London. Young refugees residing in the UK had a regular space where to develop new skills and to enjoy weekly workshops including all sorts of creative activities, from poetry and painting, to drama, dance and photography. In such a complex reality, creativity offers concrete possibilities and a process of personal empowerment. This made me reflect about the current inequalities of education by the rising cost of university courses, like for social work studies, which ironically attend those suffering from social immobility. If education was accessible to all, these young refugees could aspire, as citizens, to a better integration in the UK, and those social workers who assist them would be better prepared in their daily practice.

On Saturday, November 19th, the national demonstration 'United for Education' took place from Park Lane in central London until the final rally stage in Milbank Street, near the UK Parliament. Protesters marched calling for a free and good quality education as a right for everyone. To recreate the liveliness of the protest, I made a video exploring its sensory nature and impact as well as the relation between sounds and space in a time-based analysis. What are the sounds of a protest for education? How do spaces change in 24h? These were the research questions I asked in an attempt to show that sociology could work creatively developing methods that not only describe but also help to produce the reality that they understand. Sounds are definitely a method, but not only. I collected pieces of wood and cardboard as well as visual messages during the protest to make a lightweight structure, aiming to show the video and ask: Should education be accessible for all? The educational artefact materialised the protest and used it as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate on the accessibility of education.

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