ART AGAINST KNIVES
Art Against Knives works to reduce the root causes of knife crime through youth-led arts initiatives that provide an alternative to violent gang culture.
AAK was born from the tragic and unprovoked stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design. The vicious attack, which has left Oliver in a wheelchair, took place in Shoreditch, East London, in August 2008. It is the impact of this that drives Art Against Knives to create something positive from such a life-changing experience.
Our response is OurSpace, a youth-led initiative that aims to reduce knife crime by engaging young people in deprived areas. Our aim is to provide creative resources and facilitate opportunities for young people within the multitude of creative industries in London.
From work experience in a local advertising agency to donating a blank wall to graffiti on, OurSpace provides a platform from which young people can develop their employability and discover the creative possibilities on their doorstep. By providing a sense of ownership and purpose, we work to bridge the gap created by the influx of development in London which affects the young people who already live there: a key cause of knife crime.
We realise the importance of projects that are genuinely youth-led and trulyrooted in the local community. We believe that violent crime is a youth and community problem, and solutions must therefore be youth- led and community-driven.