Hull – Freetown – Digital Citizenship Project

Project Aims
To create informative, enriching and sustainable links between Hull schools and schools in Hull’s twin city Freetown, Sierra Leone, with particular emphasis on using new technologies to gather creative expression through film and words while developing themes of global citizenship, independent learning and personal identity.

How will it work
Hull based film-maker Jon Robson has been involved in many projects working with young people in Hull and East Yorkshire, The Seychelles, Ethiopia and The Navajo & Hopi reservations in the US, using film and new media to develop ICT and communication skills.
Writer and journalist Matt Stephenson has many years of experience as a feature writer, columnist, editor and publisher and has also performed readings of his own creative work at Hull, Huddersfield and Ilkley literature festivals.

Matt and Jon will work with young people to enable them to express themselves using film, photography and the written and spoken word through creative, biographical and documentary styles.

Creative Partnerships are supporting this project and have developed a collaborative relationship between Matt, Jon and the Citizenship Advanced Skills Teacher  in Hull Schools, Lance Boanas.

Matt and Jon will initially make contact and establish partnerships with schools and other organisations in Freetown. The intention is to visit the city in early 2006 and begin working with a number of schools and organisations. We intend to hold a series of creative workshops for young people and generate a collection of films, documenting aspects of their lives.

This work will then be brought back to Hull and shown to young people in Hull’s schools. Through film and writing workshops, these young people will be encouraged to respond to the work of their counterparts in Freetown, comparing and contrasting their lives, looking at some of the emotional, political and economic factors which affect life in Hull and in Freetown.

Vital citizenship themes of social and moral responsibility, community Involvement and Political Literacy are at the heart of the project. Students in the North and South will continually develop their skills of (a) Enquiry and Communication and (b) Participation and Responsible Action, central to citizenship programmes of study.

Completing the circle, the work the young people in Hull produce will then be shown in Freetown and an international dialogue established.            

The early stage of this project will provide a foundation for schools in Hull to build lasting relationships with partner schools in Freetown using the UK government Department for International Development (DfID) ‘Global School Partnership’ funding, enabling pupil and teacher exchanges between the cities which will bring Global Citizenship into many different aspects of the curriculum.

It is further our intention that schools in Hull should develop social enterprise projects to raise funds for schools in Freetown to enable them to buy their own ICT and film making equipment, providing the medium for a lively, educational and sustainable relationship between the schools. This technology will enable students across the world to communicate as equals and provide a basis for reciprocal visits in the long term.

The project will generate a greater understanding of each others culture by using film making workshops and new media technology as an ongoing dialogue and communication platform between students. The project will enable students to freely express their views on their lives, their futures and their dreams.  Ultimately, the project aims to raise young people’s awareness of global development issues and equip them with the skills and knowledge to become active global citizens.

We feel that this project will be particularly appropriate within the William Wilberforce Bi Centennial activities in the city in 2007, giving Hull students a true global perspective.