04 November 2019
We were 20 minutes into our DIY escape room that we created to launch the 12th year of our youth board, Dare London. The young people were scrambling around the room looking for postage stamps that had little symbols on the back. Time was fast running out and the pressure was all the way up.
“What’s that symbol?” one asked.
“I’ve seen it somewhere, I think it was in music, I don’t remember what it’s called.”
“No, rotate it, it’s a maths symbol, it’s an equation we need to figure out!”
When I was breaking up the equation onto the back of a handful of stamps, it never occurred to me that it could be interpreted as anything else. I wrote the division symbol, oblivious to the fact that it may also be seen as the ‘repeat measure’ symbol used in music.
This is a division symbol:
This is a repeat measure:
The symbols are so similar that if they were seen outside of their usual context, of course someone could mistake one for the other.
That’s the beauty of youth work.
Young people provide a fresh perspective to the world that may be otherwise never thought of. I intended for the symbol to represent division, but it’s just as valuable to see it as a music symbol, or a piece of art or lines and dots that aren’t connected to each other at all.
This process of reflection and consideration of other perspectives is a vital step that we can often miss out when working with young people. Programmes, provisions and policies are only made stronger when we actively involve young people in their design and delivery.
So here’s to an eventful year ahead, being challenged by our youth board and working with them to champion youth involvement and quality youth work around London. Let’s go forth and make music (and also maths).
– Kadisha James-Fergus, Youth Action Delivery Officer
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