Students’ thoughts and experiences help Tree of Knowledge take root

Young people’s thoughts, experiences and dreams were used to ‘grow’ a tree of knowledge in a striking work of art created for Youth Work Week.

Youth Work & Community Development BA Hons students from Bradford College invited fellow students to help create the tree over two hours as part the National Youth Agency’s annual week of events.

The tree used five branches to explore different themes:

  • If you could change something for young people what would it be?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What labels do we hold?
  • What makes you happy?
  • Who is your hero?

Cris Mepham, leader of the BA (Hons) Youth Work and Community Development (YWCD) programme, explained: “The aim was to start a conversation about what it is to be young and what makes a positive difference.

“It generated a lot of discussion and activity, and themes emerged about the challenges and opportunities of living in an uncertain world, dealing with pressures and expectations, the need to care and support each other, the importance of friends and family and the simple things we could do to make a positive difference, like slow down, listen more, take time and laugh more. Universally it was felt that young people needed more social spaces, places, people to talk to, be with and things to do.”

The students worked with city-based freelance community artist Mussarat Rahman, herself a former Bradford College student who gained a BA Hons degree in Textile design, prints/weaving in 1996. She worked with the students to come up with the concept, design and to make the background ready for additions.

The resulting work of art is now on display in the College’s Lister Building Café.

National Youth Work Week is annual event coordinated by the National Youth Agency to celebrate all things Youth Work.

You can find out more about the Youth Work and Community Development BA (Hons) programme on the Bradford college website.