Born from the unprovoked stabbing of art student Oliver Hemsley.
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Art Against Knives Gallery proudly presents the culmination of work by Your Choice Your Future….


Choose Life. Drop the Knife –  A hard-hitting campaign that tackles London knife-crime

Last year in London 2,076 young people were injured by a knife.

We were introduced to this amazing group of 16-19 year olds from Southwark who have collaborated with some of London’s top creative talent to launch a poster campaign with the hard-hitting message that knife crime can only end in two ways – prison or death.

The 15 young guys in the group have all been personally affected by knife crime and wanted to reach out to other young people who may be in danger of falling into gang culture and a life of crime.

“After nine stabbings in the Rockingham Estate between 2009 and 2010 we wanted to do something about it. We hope this poster campaign will influence young people to put down the knives and show them that there’s a path other than crime.”  Raj Khan, 19 

This project is a brilliant example of how collaboration and working in partnership can provide incredible opportunities and support for young people…

Over 10 weeks the group focused their ideas, planning and creating the poster campaign with the help of award-winning photographer Niall O’Brien, top illustration agency Moose and Yeti and creative social enterprise Poached Creative.

Southwark charity Faces in Focus, in partnership with Connexions, provided them with advice, information, education and peer support.

Peabody, one of London’s oldest and largest associations, backed the project through its youth-led Staying Safe project, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

“The young people involved in this project have been determined to create a project that will reach others like them and reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to knife crime in London. Youth-led projects like this help young people feel part of their community and build skills that will help them in the future.” Jessica Smith, Director of Poached Creative

Our Co-Founder Katy Dawe was asked to go and meet the group last year to talk about what makes a successful ant-knife crime campaign. The guys were then invited to our gallery at BoxPark, Shoreditch to curate the space and put together the exhibition.

The poster was launched at an event on Thursday 12 January, along with a screening of the two films the guys made as part of the project.  It was an incredible evening, and an absolute pleasure to work with such a talented group of young men, and all of the partners involved in turning this idea into a professional and hard-hitting campaign.

Here at Art Against Knives, we believe in providing a platform to support young people in designing , creating and communicating their own solutions to local issues…. so let’s not just leave these posters in our gallery, we would like to see them on busses, on the underground and spread around London. So who’s up for helping us out???

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  1. […] Choose Life. Drop the Knife –  A campaign that tackles London knife-crime in collaboration with a group of 16 to 19-year-olds from Southwark. […]

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