Defiant Voices: Safer Communities highlighted the dangers of stigmatisation, prejudice and cultural intolerance. It was an ambitious educational programme which explored the importance of social inclusion and social, cultural, sexual and religious tolerance. The project was created in response to rise in religiously motivated hate crimes and crimes motivated sexual orientation over the past 12 months in the north east of England.
The project was developed with five County Durham secondary schools. The students’ journey began with a performance of the theatre production the Tin Ring which led them into facilitated sessions where they considered the importance of becoming a Defiant Voice rather than a silent abstainer. Following these explorations, the students created their own advocacy programmes advocating for tolerance, respect and inclusion which they shared with one another, and their wider school communities. The project was funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham’s Safer Community fund and by County Durham Community Fund.
“Until now, I hadn’t realised that discrimination can come in so many forms and variations of severity” - Student, Durham Sixth Form Centre