Why I Sometimes Feel Like A Young Giant

You may have heard of Beatfreeks. If you’re reading this then I am sure in some way or another you have. What you may have skimmed past, in the flurry of noise we like to create, is our company Young Giant, and I am here to tell you more, lets start at the beginning. The Beatfreeks Collective is made up of three companies; Young Giant, Doink and Free Radical.

My role has varied across Beatfreeks since 2013.
 

I began my journey as a freelancer & Poetry Jam attendee; I then joined the Youth Steering Committee & started working on projects including Level UP, Summer Academies and BACE. Fast forward to 2017, I now work directly in Young Giant as Head of Campaigns and Experiences - helping brands engage and understand young people through campaigns and events.

I have a passion for heritage in my work, which grew even stronger whilst being Campaign Director for our 18-month campaign with Heritage Lottery Fund, #Routes2Roots - which included 10 young people as co-creators and delivered three epic events to inspire & challenge young people on heritage. At the same time we were shouting about Young Roots, a HLF pot of £10,000 - £50,000 to help young people aged 11 to 25 to explore their heritage, from green spaces, museums, and historic sites to language, local memories and youth culture.

The beauty of being a part of a collective is you can touch us at any point and get a different experience.
 

My role focuses on building campaigns with young people as consultants and co-creators, developing leadership skills in that field but also producing eeeeepic events (i.e. taking over a soft play centre and turning it into a treasure hunt for young people to learn about the EU Referendum with European Commission, CitiSpyce and Aston University).

I guess for me, all the work I do comes back to facilitating a space for young people to be able to give their opinion, shape an organisation and develop their personal skills to become leaders in society.
 

Organisations need to acknowledge that the future will not be the same as it is now. Some of the biggest platforms which directly engage young people are becoming less and less relevant as time goes on. Young people are not buying into big brands marketing. Young people want to be invested in, feel valued and understand where their investment is going into.

Young Giant is not about marketing to young people, or getting more brands to “connect” to young people, but about how organisations and young people build longer term relationships with each other - how young people influence an organisations strategy, campaign or event to make it relevant to their peers.

The work I am currently doing is challenging, exciting and most of all gets me out of bed every morning. I'm loving the opportunity to build on my first passion - art, to extend our creative passion into new contexts through consulting, building strategies and activating new campaigns.

Here’s 3 things i'm gassed about the future of Young Giant:
 

1. Music Matters: I am currently working on some extraordinary (my word of the week) projects with Selfridges around their Music Matters campaign; we will be delivering four live events in store later this year. Across Weekender on 23rd & 24th September and on 30th September & 1st October we will have live artists collaborating in-store - in a rapid devising process. I can’t announce the artists just yet but you can see them for yourself every day at 4pm during their share back performances.

On 24th September Birmingham will do Bhangra. We will celebrate Bhangra’s origins in the city, in explosions of colour, dhol drummers, and dance. Join us from 4pm - 6pm, straight after The Collab Sessions.

2. Secret Museums: As I said earlier, exploring heritage is something I enjoy. The discovery. The questioning. The knowledge. All of this will come into play during our upcoming Secret Museums project with West Midlands Museums Development Trust, as we get young people to evaluate a museum undercover and give feedback that is raw, honest and genuine. This project is open to 16-25’s and is live.

3. Big Local in Coseley: Our new project in Coseley has taken six months of conversations and research to make as perfect as possible. We will be developing 8 weeks of interventions in the area, which will hopefully lead into a 3-year engagement plan with East Coseley Big Local Plan and Dudley CVS. We are kicking that off in September as we run an Open Air Cinema. I'd love to know what films you'd like to see. 

There’s a lot more to come and I am happy to have a chat about any projects you may have or want to be involved in; any feedback you have... or just to grab a coffee. Drop me an email amerah@beatfreeks.com.


Written by Amerah Saleh.

For more information about Young Giant.

Photography by Paul Stringer.

Amerah Saleh

Spoken word artist. Head of Creative Learning at Beatfreeks. Loves bowties and creating change (not in that order).