Project information

Tripwires Project

Open dialogue is the key to a healthy cohesive society, but some fear the disruptive, dangerous potential of truly free speech. TRIPWIRES uses the arts to create an open space where young people can explore and express their own lines on freedom of expression, self-censorship and offence.

November 2010 - May 2011

Charity information

Index on Censorship

Index on Censorship logo
  • Need


    One person’s passionately held belief is another person’s offence, yet to close speech down in the name of protecting sensibilities, denies the right to freedom of expression. Where do you draw the line? The debate about this universal right is mostly carried on by a middle-aged, middle class elite; young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, often on the front line of ideological clashes, do not in the main contribute their voice or experience.


    TRIPWIRES delivered by Project Phakama UK and Index on Censorship, will train 25 youth in leadership skills using the arts to explore ‘the line’, where we draw it, what we do when someone crosses our line. Following outreach with peer groups, they will create a multi-art form Performed Magazine presenting a wide range of expression on the issue. Content from this will inform new resources for formal and informal education with support from Phakama's partner Queen Mary, University of London.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop leadership skills of young people from diverse communities and backgrounds


    » 20 workshops for 25 young trainees using the arts to explore freedom of expression and develop leadership skills
    » Trainees will converse with teachers, police, lawyers, policy makers, thinkers, artists and journalists to increase their understanding of the issue
    » Trainees will lead workshops with peer groups widening the project's reach and participation, putting their leadership skills into practice
    » 60 young people (including 25 trainees) will take part in a 2-week devising period with professional artists culminating in a large scale performance

    Success will be...20 young people with accreditation, new leadership skills and experience enhancing their own personal development and prospects of employment.

    Aim 2

    To stage The FreedUP! Performed Magazine, create an accompanying publication and website


    » 9 day devising period with 60 young people, including 20 trainee leaders, with supporting professional artists and journalists
    » 5 performances of the show to an expected audience of 1000 people
    » Publication of 5,000 copies of accompanying magazine produced by LIVE East
    » Design and deliver new website tracking the programme and encouraging online discussion and debate

    Success will be...Success will be to achieve 1000 audience for the show , 5000 readers of the magazine and lively and varied on-line debate

    Aim 3

    Develop a replicable training model of resources and tools for schools and youth groups


    » Develop online tools that explore where each of us “draws the line” – to promote greater understanding of difference
    » Create video for use in formal and informal educational settings based on the work created in the Performed Magazine
    » Disseminate ideas through workshops with teachers and youth workers presenting run by new leaders.

    Success will be...TRIPWIRES resources are easily available and widely distributed

    Aim 4

    Build bridges between partner organisations and participating youth groups


    » rehearse and present work on campus will bring disadvantaged young people and their communities onto the QMU campus
    » Run debates with FreedUP! participants as part of university debating society, using less conventional formats
    » IoC editorial will invite young people to comment on topical issues and discussions online.

    Success will be...TRIPWIRES participants contribute to a very broad spectrum of work and debate around the issues of freedom of expression

  • Impact


    Young people from diverse communities are more informed about issues of freedom and offence, less threatened by difference and more able to deal confidently with potentially controversial situations. We will demonstrate this through widespread demand for the easily available models and materials that help us understand our own and others position on freedom of expression; and that more young people lead workshops with peers, teachers and youth workers on these vital issues.


    As the project will go into areas of cultural and ideological sensitivity we will ensure that we provide a safe working environment. The programme is lead by a highly skilled artistic director. There is a high ratio of very experienced arts facilitators to trainees in the outreach and devising period. Project Phakama uses a non-hierarchical methodology ‘Give and Gain’ where all participants and facilitators both teach and learn from each other, creating respect and openness in the group.


    We will set up a monthly emailed bulletin to report on the events and progress of the programme.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £75,375

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      Amount Heading Description
      £22,500 leader training 20 sessions facilitators' fees plus trainee expenses
      £4,500 accreditation 20 applications for arts award silver level
      £10,000 production devise and present 5 public FreedUP! shows
      £5,000 publication special edition FreedUP! magazine
      £5,000 website design and developing online tools
      £5,000 promotion marketing strategy and delivery
      £15,000 management pro rata £34,500 p/t 10 months
      £8,375 administration 10% admin and 2.5% contingency

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    City Bridge Trust £39,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Project Phakama is theatre company in residence at Queen Mary’s University in East London which sees the huge potential of FreedUP! to feed in to many aspects of the university and its links with the local community. It places us in the heart of one of the most diverse parts of London, where current social and ideological challenges are the lived experience of many young people. We have excellent access to youth groups through existing relationships with youth and arts organisations.


    Young people have a great deal to say on TRIPWIRES issues, as we have proved again and again in our research, and young people will be the primary beneficiaries. In addition the audience and readership of the performed and in-print magazine and the online contributors will benefit from joining the debate. The exchange of ideas and experiences with teachers and youth workers will benefit from new models and materials for discussion and exploration.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been defending freedom of expression internationally and in UK for 40 years and have extensive experience of working with contentious situations, and a wealth of resources to hand. We work increasingly in UK, addressing constraints on freedom of expression, including libel reform and self-censorship in UK culture. We are committed to reaching out to young people, and to do this have set up partnerships with Project Phakama, Queen Mary’s University and Citizenship Foundation.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Project Phakama

    Project Phakama will provide the training and overall artistic direction for the project.

    Queens Mary University

    They will provide the venue for training, rehearsal and production, evaluate the project and link with campus radio, debating, film unit

    Live East

    They will design and produce the special edition magazine to accompany the show and create an important link between the project and local yong people

    Citizenship Foundation

    They will support the development and dissemination of outputs and resources based on the content of this programme.