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.
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.
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.