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Harlow College students tackle far right extremism in new project

Education: Secondary / Wed 29th Mar 2017 at 02:39pm

TWO colleges have joined forces in a Home Office-funded project exploring the themes of community cohesion and the issues of far-right extremism.

Us and Them

Luton Sixth Form College and Harlow College are working together in the initiative, dubbed No Love For Hate, as part of the Government’s Prevent strategy. The project features a poster and learning materials campaign, as well as a play which will be performed in Luton this week.

Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College, said: “Harlow College and Luton Sixth Form College are proud to be working together on No Love For Hate, a project that educates young people to value tolerance and diversity in society.

“Our young people face many challenges on a daily basis – we decided to tackle our Prevent duty from a different angle by helping young people identify and understand the risk-factors associated with right-wing extremism.

“The two towns are excited to be partnering on the project, actively gauging student views and participation, through theatre projects and learning materials. Education is a critical part to improving our society and young people are key to driving this process.

“Our project will contribute towards equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to pause and think for themselves, to challenge and to debate, giving young people the opportunity to reflect on the experiences of other students and their faiths and to gain an understanding of the values we share.”

The theatre play, called Us and Them, will be performed in Luton this week.

Steve Crayon, course manager for acting, theatre and production at Luton Sixth Form College, said: “Us and Them is a fast-paced play which aims to provoke debate and challenge some of the prejudices in our society and communities, while at the same time remaining light-hearted and theatrical.

“A student voice is firmly at the centre of the piece, with the actors sharing their own thoughts and experiences as part of the devising process.”

The play has been written by former Luton Sixth Form College student Teresa Burns of theatre company How It Ended.

Teresa and her co-director Eva Sampford were invited to get involved in the project after a successful collaboration last year on Turbulence, a play about the challenges of being a teenagers in a modern world. The pair have been running weekly sessions with the Luton sixth formers to devise and rehearse the piece.

Eva said: “Last year was so rewarding and it was fantastic to be asked back – we jumped at the chance. This project with Harlow College and the Home Office is really exciting. The topic we are dealing with this year is big and so relevant.

“Young people of today are really aware of the problems of radicalisation, and how important it is to make a cohesive, tolerant and good community.”

Us and Them will be performed at Luton Sixth Form College at 7.30pm on Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th March. Performances will be followed by a discussion with the students, the playwright and director. Tickets are free and can be booked in advance by emailing Steve Crayon on [email protected]

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