Community Project – Got Messed Up

Community Project – Got Messed Up – A project first piloted in Birmingham in 2000 – 2003

Young people today are faced with a number of issues from gang crime to drug and alcohol abuse to domestic and family problems. This project was devised with a Young People’s Health project in Birmingham who sought to make a difference to young people’s lives.

Two actors kick start the project off by being in role as community police officers bringing the news to local residents that a young teenage girl has been found dead and they are looking for help and answers as to how and why this event might have happened.

The young people then begin an investigation into the many reasons that might have led this teenager to their fate. They examine the contents of her bag found at the scene, they study toxicology and forensic reports and this leads to discussions on how and why things can go wrong if you’re caught up in various issues. Having deduced why they think it happened and followed it through by dramatizing police interviews with murder suspects the problems are made real, and meaningful discussion can then take place about finding resolutions to their problems before they spiral out of control.

The pilot group were invited to make a DVD game format for other young people to use in their neighbourhood based on the story they had helped to create. Filming and editing was a new skill and the young people were challenged by the process, having to work as a team, negotiate with local police officers for filming purposes, make appointments in local community venues where they wanted to film and repeatedly film scenes with sincerity and meaning. They rose to the challenge and the film was edited professionally and is available to view in the gallery collection.

This film then formed the base for the ongoing project that is still on offer today.