WHY WE DO IT
KNOWING | DOING | BEING | BECOMING
We see the dangerous impact that feeling disaffected can have on the confidence and aspirations of young people. Feeling unrepresented and powerless can lead them down a path of apathy and alienation.
Advocating for social change instills in a young person a sense of self-worth, giving them the power to change their own lives through improving the lives of others. They take the future of the world into their own hands and are no longer voiceless.
Knowledge & Insight: We broaden young people's knowledge of the world and the role they want to play in it, helping to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Our team of experts address real-world issues and the tactics that successfully effect change.
Skills: We know that many students leave education unprepared to lead in the real world. Academic qualifications do not always teach the skills they need to succeed. That’s why we focus on developing
three skills every leader and employer needs: Collaboration, communication & critical thinking.
Character: To make a difference, young people need healthy attitudes towards themselves and the world. They need to believe that change is possible and that they are capable of creating it. That’s why every element of our programme focuses on developing 6 key strengths: confidence, leadership, compassion, Grit, self-awarenes & hope.
Networks & Access: We know that young people from disadvantaged communities lack access to people with power and influence. We introduce them to powerful campaigners, grassroots organisers, politicians and Chief Executives (we could go on...) who expand their networks, deliberately choosing young role models to demonstrate that power isn’t always connected to age. And our participants join a small cohort who experience the year together, becoming a close-knit network of their own.
Action: In developing all of the above, our Advocates will embark on a path of life-long democratic participation. They take part in campaigns, vote in elections, advocate on behalf of causes, dream big for themselves and their communities, self-educate, and generally "become the change" they want to see.
For the Community: We are developing a new generation of community leaders who work together to make their local areas better places to grow up and live. We believe that we must increase active citizenship and strengthen local networks in order to assure the future vibrancy of British democracy. Our Advocates generate a ripple effect, impacting their families, friends, schools and wider communities.
For Society: Civil society is dominated by the privileged few. Valuable voices are missing from the debate, leading to policies and provisions that fail to reflect the diverse experiences and interests of all our communities. Good policy needs everyone's input.
Our Advocates are these voices.
A Tale of Three Camps & Weekly Evening Gatherings
~ All content is co-created with our Advocates & Alumni ~
Issues & Identity [Aug]
(The School of Social Justice)
Twelve days to introduce our four pillars: lobbying, campaigning, grassroots organising & direct action. Half our time is spent exploring "basic rights" like housing, homelessness & mental health. The other half looks at issues of identity - race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, class & disability rights. On the final day, our Fellows launches their own campaigns in Parliament!
Leadership & Movement Building [Oct]
Five days of intensive leadership development and mass movement theory, preparing the Advocates to design and deliver their own social justice workshops as pro-trainers.
Strategy & Tactics [Dec]
Four days of clever campaign planning and creative activism. Equal part theory and practice, Fellows learn what it takes to win change, and experience "action" as a community - from "establishment" methods like lobbying and e-campagining to the more "radical" fly-postering, stunts and street performances!
Weekly Evening Gatherings
Our Friday Evening Gatherings - entitled "Just..." - take a deep look into key themes that intersect with justice: JustCommunity, JustPolitics, JustSex, JustFaith, JustClimate, JustNews, JustArts, and many more. From exploring Brixton with Linton Kwesi Johnson to developing our cultural horizons with new writing at The Bunker theatre, these evenings cover key themes important to our Advocates that don't fit in our four residential camps.
no fly on the wall/sassy apparel
"I can't say enough how amazed and impressed I am by the young people I met at The Advocacy Academy! I facilitated the final workshop on Intersectionality and I feel like I learn a lot from them! These young people were having advanced, intense conversations about privilege and injustice - the types of conversations I am only seriously having now in my twenties and many people much older than them are still struggling to engage in.
Every single young person in that room was thoughtful, intelligent, and really passionate about making the world a better place. They all come from different backgrounds and different walks of life and each was very aware of their own privilege and how these interact with the things that make them and their friends marginalised in society. I was really inspired by them and filled with hope for the next generation."
"I was brought in to inspire the young people at The Advocacy Academy but I was definitely the one leaving inspired. They were all so intelligent, way beyond their years, and spaces like this are the reason why - spaces like this allow and encourage them to think more, do more and be more. I was smiling all day after meeting them because I know the future is in good hands with the next generation. Send my love to them all !"
hannah retallack & camilla stanger
UCL institute of education
"We can honestly say that The Advocacy Academy is one of the most dynamic, innovative, thoughtful and important youth projects we've ever come across. Having just delivered a workshop called 'Playing in the Waves: Moving with Feminist Theory', we were completely overwhelmed and inspired by the energy in the room, as well as by the extraordinary mix of young people all brought together on a Saturday afternoon to learn about gender and privilege and to advocate for social change. As the Advocacy Academy's mission statement points out, 'there is nothing inevitable about inequality and injustice' and it takes projects like this one to empower young people and to support them in changing the world."
freedom & balance academy
Working with the young people at The Advocacy Academy was a refreshing experience. The young people there are super switch-on, sharp, and ready to make a change in their worlds. After a few minutes of being with them I already felt at home. I feel that if there are any young people who will make a change in our culture, it's probably these guys. I'll definitely work with The Advocacy Academy if invited again!
"Facilitating an economics workshop for the Advocacy Academy was a brilliant experience. It made me more optimistic for the future of our country to see such switched-on students grappling with real and deep issues of privilege and power. I'm sure they will go far, armed with the skills the Academy has brought them."
senior assistant head teacher jon wilson
lilian baylis technology school
“I just wanted to say thank you for taking Alex in and working with him over the past four days on your project. He has had a great time and I can tell already that he is already thinking differently. His speech in parliament yesterday was absolutely fantastic, as were the other students. Well done to you!”
the great men initiative
"Co-facilitating a workshop on gender inequality for the Advocacy Academy was thrilling. So rarely do you get to work with a group of young people so engaged, so up for debate and thirsty for knowledge. What's most inspiring about the advocates is that, when exploring a really complex idea such as hegemony, they access it from a deeply personal place. Being in a room with these young people is enough to renew your optimism for a year. You believe in change like never before."
mp for vauxhall
"I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the participants of The Advocacy Academy this summer. Their speeches exceeded my expectations, persuasively raising important issues ranging from foreign aid, to women's rights, to reinstating the EMA. They gave some of the best Parliamentarians a run for their money in tackling many of the biggest problems facing our society today. I was impressed with their depth of knowledge and commitment, and inspired by their personal stories and fearlessness in holding their representatives to account. The Advocacy Academy is both a transformative and much needed programme, and these young men and women are already well on their way to helping change the world. I very much look forward to meeting next year's Advocates."
“Delivering a workshop on disability rights was a huge privilege. I was so impressed with the work of The Advocacy Academy and especially with the young people. I have no doubt the support these savvy young social change makers received will have a positive, long-lasting effect on them and their communities.”
hanna naima mcCloskey
founder & CEO, fearless futures
"What The Advocacy Academy is doing is truly special and so needed. To support young people develop their consciousness in order to effect deep and powerful change - grounded in a strong sense of their power, privilege and social location - is so important. I'm so excited to know these young people are in the world, leading and learning courageously. We can sleep much more easily."
"Engaging with the Advocacy Academy’s young adults was an incredible experience. Their courage in sharing stories and experiences of sexual harassment and public invasions of space was so powerful, and not only did they share but they really engaged with the topic both eloquently and thoughtfully. They give me hope for a world where honesty and bravery are omnipresent, and co-exist alongside a true respect for the bodies of women, girls and non-binary people."
"I totally enjoyed running a workshop for the Advocacy Academy. The conversations I had with the students, although tense at times, were insightful and thought-provoking. I'm inspired by how hungry for debate they are and I hope to keep working with the organisation again in future."
padraic x. scanlan
the london school of economics
"Talking to the young activists at the Advocacy Academy about the history of slavery, race, and capitalism was a moving and inspiring experience. It was inspiring to meet a group of such smart, motivated and curious young people on fire for change. Identifying and confronting power and privilege takes insight, courage and tenacity, and the people I met at the Advocacy Academy have all three qualities in spades."
the brixton pound
"It was hugely inspiring to see the Advocates making sense of the links between money and local communities, and really energising to hear their insightful ideas during our workshop. I wish every student had the opportunity to go through a programme like The Advocacy Academy!"
the world transformed
"In party politics we are so used to key messaging and learned rebuttals. Believe me when I say the young people I met at The Advocacy Academy won’t let you get away with that. And why should they? The "Just Politics" night was an evening where we got to share experiences, explore questions from deep thinkers and inquiring minds, where I had to be accountable, and nothing short of authentic was going to cut it. Reckon they can all smell spin from a mile off! If you want to remember why we are in politics; why we are campaigning and fighting for a more equal society, for social justice, against injustice and racism in all forms...I would suggest checking out the Academy. This is political education at its best."
the conservative party
“The Advocacy Academy’s students demonstrate excellence in their analysis and understanding of political ideas. Their willingness to challenge, their communication and their respect for others marks TAA out as a leading place to develop all of us. It is a vibrant centre for debate and development. The students become alumni and invest their time back into the programmes, such is the effectiveness of learning there. The staff are remarkable - their energy and love to accommodate participants is second to none.”
“The work Advocacy Academy is doing to support and nurture young activists is innovative, exciting and essential. I was hugely impressed by the young people and their campaigns and felt very lucky to have an opportunity to talk to them about Disability justice and culture. I’ve been involved with Advocacy Academy for a number of years now and feel that the programme Advocacy Academy offers is unlike any other, it takes the lead from young people providing them with high quality, tailored support in an energetic and inspiring way, I have no doubt that the work Advocacy Academy does is life changing both for the young people and all those touched by their campaigns.”
artist in residence
Eddie Pile (pronoun: they) painted a botanical mural at our campus, inspired by a favourite alumni saying: 'They tried to bury us, they didn't realise we were seeds' (attributed variously to either a Latinx proverb or a queer Greek poet). Alumni nominated flowers for the mural that held personal or cultural significance.
Eddie also make zines. A zine - pronounced zeen - is a DIY self-published magazine/pamphlet/comic that allows anyone with access to print shops or photocopiers to share their ideas or artwork in a cheap and accessible way. They made a zine inspired by Advocacy Academy alumni campaign group Fill In The Blanks, called 'Five Things I Wish I'd Learnt At School About Empire.' You can read, print or share this zine for free from the file below! Alternatively, you can buy it from Eddie's online shop - if you send a screenshot of a donation to TAA when you order, Eddie will send rad little extra thank you gifts...
Eddie also creates resources for their own life as a non-binary/genderqueer person, please feel free to make use of these gender-neutral toilet signs or They/Them pronoun mini zines. The A4 page version can be folded into a tiny zine, a quick online search of 'fold a4 zine' will give you instructions and demo videos.