Beatfreeks looking to bridge the gap between young people and institutions at exciting event at Birmingham City University

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The STEAMlabs hack, set to occur on Tuesday 20 – Wednesday 21 November, will see the Birmingham youth collective partner with the University to offer groundbreaking, collaborative sessions on utilising the city’s spaces for young people.

Beatfreeks, the Birmingham-based collective of companies dedicated to improving the futures of young through creativity, are teaming up with Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects-based STEAMhouse to host a two-day STEAMlab event investigating how Birmingham’s spaces can better serve young people.

According to the recent Birmingham Youth Trends report, there is a growing gap between young people, private and public institutions. The report stresses the need for a ‘communicative culture’ to facilitate dialogue between different groups in the city. This session is a chance to address a number of issues, including the rapid decline of youth centres, how young people feel the city is pushing them out and how spaces are increasingly becoming a premium.

This ‘Deepening Divide’ will form a core part of this session – attendees will work together to find practical solutions, and empower young people and give them an equal voice in the thriving city of Birmingham and beyond. It is a chance to help engage young people and harness their creative and entrepreneurial talents, as well as make them feel a valued part of the local community.

The need for this event has also increased following a recent application for public spaces protection orders from Birmingham City Council. “The PSPO will seriously impact young people using public spaces in the city centre,” said Amy Clamp, Head of Partnerships at Free Radical, a part of Beatfreeks that uses art, music and media to develop young artists. “As an organisation, we have seen the rapid decrease of public and civic spaces that are available for young people to safely and comfortably meet, socialise, discuss - the distinct lack of youth centres has had a serious impact. This PSPO will not solve the problem, and the threat of it raises the question - who is our city centre for?”

STEAMlab events bring West Midlands businesses, innovators and creatives together to collaborate and build solutions to real-world problems and challenges facing the region. STEAMlabs are part of STEAMhouse, Birmingham City University’s new centre aimed at encouraging the collaboration of the arts, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEAM) sectors. STEAMhouse is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Alexa Torlo, Engagement Manager at Birmingham City University, believes this subject and Beatfreeks’ campaign aligns with STEAMhouse’s key principles. “STEAMhouse is about bringing people together to create innovative new solutions that will transform lives,” she said. “Our upcoming event asks how can Birmingham’s spaces better serve their young people, and gives us an opportunity to work together with Beatfreeks to find solutions.” 

The event takes place on Wednesday 20 November from 5 – 8pm and Thursday 21 November from 9.30am – 5.30pm, and attendees need to attend both sessions unless agreed otherwise. For more information and to sign up, please visit: https://www.steamhouse.org.uk/events/steamlabs-beatfreeks/

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