Working with a range of students from Acton High School’s Black Pupil Achievement Programme (BPAP), ARE’s Routes2Success (R2S) role models first engaged the students in a workshop session that explored entrepreneurial skills, looking at inspirational entrepreneurs. The focus was on successful young Black men.
The young people decided that they wanted to create a graphic novel that would aim to highlight current issues faced by some young people looking at possible resolutions to difficult situations.
They wanted to highlight the importance of making positive life choices and how we can turn a negative situation into a positive one.
It was important for them that the novel reflected current youth culture so the imagery and language used would be done with their target audience and readers in mind. They decided to create a graphic novel with a storyline about knife crime.
Knife crime still plays a prominent part in the lives of young people today. At the time the project was running, fourteen teenagers had been killed by knife crime in the capital with the youngest being just fifteen years old.
Routes2Success roles models Michael Ohajuru and Bola Abisogun supported the young black boys to identify job roles and split the group in two main teams, “The Designers” and “The Marketers”.
The designers took the lead on creating the storyline and visual images. They looked at characters, the plot, the climax, the resolution. The marketers led on the advertising, selling and promotion of the graphic novel.
The young people were fortunate enough to have a ‘mini master’ class from Jeremy Salmon a graphic artist talked about his humble beginnings and doing a job that he was passionate about. He also showed the group examples of his work, from advertisements to creating a colouring book for children.
A graphic novel was completed and made available for online purchase.