Design out Crime

Mentors and students in discussion

This Sorrell Foundation project has been developed as part of a programme organised by the Design & Technology Alliance Against Crime. It explores issues that young people identify about crime, focusing on their experiences at school, on journeys to and from schools, and in the community. The project establishes communication routes with policy-makers for young people’s voices to be heard, and provides insights that can help develop briefs for designers.

The Sorrell Foundation piloted Design Out Crime during 2008–2009, with a group of young people from three London boroughs, both pupils in schools and others not in formal education. The 2009–2010 project expanded on this pilot phase, exploring crime in five different regions of England and Wales: Basildon, Bolton, Bradford, Nottinghamshire and Merthyr Tydfil. The groups, of up to 30 young people from each region, follow a process based on the Foundation’s joinedupdesignforschools programme, undertaking creative workshops, discussions and inspirational visits. Their views were documented in six Young People’s Briefs.

The pilot project culminated with a presentation at the Home Office, and another to the 32 London Borough Metropolitan Police commanders. The young people taking part in the 2009–2010 project presented the issues they identified, in the form of display boards and their Briefs, to local decision-makers at regional presentations. These presentations, and the discussions that followed, have generated clear insights into young people’s experiences of crime, and highlighted issues that have the potential to inspire positive action, both locally and nationally.

The issues that the young advisers highlighted have been grouped into common themes that can be developed into briefs for designers. It is hoped that the responses will demonstrate how design can have an impact on the issues of crime that affect young people’s lives. A national presentation will give the young advisers the opportunity to present their issues to an invited audience of policy-makers. There is also the potential to continue working with the advisory groups to carry forward the impact of their Young People’s Briefs, and to replicate the model of engagement across the UK.

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