Young people’s “stories are seen but never really heard, or told by young people themselves” reflects Football Beyond Borders’ (FBB) Co-Director Jasper Kain as he explains the ‘City of Nations: Exhibition’. The two day event, which started yesterday and will be open until late tonight, is being held at Unit 8, Old Street Street as part of the Golaso – Union football exhibition.
Against the backdrop of the 2018 World Cup, the exhibition documents the experiences of young people growing up in London, a city of nations in every conceivable way. Exploring questions of identity, multiculturalism, football and growing up in London, the stories told by the young people aim to capture their own unique experiences.
“As every World Cup begins there is deep introspection, as people reflect on what football means to them and their community. Generally, however, these reflective questions are posed to a select group – often beyond a certain age. The implication, by default being that young people’s opinions on the subject are not valued as much as other groups.”, says Jasper Kain, FBB’s Co-Director.
The film and photography exhibition is the culmination of the wider ‘City of Nations’ project between Football Beyond Borders and Nike that celebrates the diverse nationalities of young London.
The first part of the project was run during FBB’s schools programme. Three groups from across the city explored notions of multiculturalism, identity, and immigration through football. Part two consisted of video interviews and photography sessions with some of FBB’s young people, where they discussed the role and significant of football in their local and cultural communities. These videos were released on Nike London’s Instagram page as well as featuring in Nike’s flagship store in Oxford Street, London.
Marking the final chapter of the project, this ‘City of Nations’ exhibition is a community-led event which brings together the work the young people have engaged in. Tapping into their unique capacity for creative expression and ability to tell stories, it is an opportunity to showcase their insightful perceptions of life in the one of, if not, the world’s most diverse cities.
Last night the exhibition kicked off, with a special film screening followed followed by a Q & A with several of the FBB young people who took part in the City of Nations project. Cerny Ando, 14 years old and one of our the contributors on the project commented: “What I learnt is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s just about having the same beliefs and understandings as someone. Creating one big community and coming together.”
As Jasper Kain concludes “what we wanted to show with this project is how thoughtful and perceptive young people are. That their experiences can not only help us understand them better, but also how much they can teach the older generation a thing or two about the notions like value of diversity or what identity means in the modern age. That is why we invite everyone to come, see and hear for themselves what these talented young people have to say”.
Make sure to come around and seize the opportunity to experience the authenticity of City of Nations first hand whilst you still can!