The project will challenge prejudice towards young Muslims, by capturing stories of aspiration as told by young Muslims themselves, and using these as the basis for a structured process of deliberation aimed at promoting tolerance among young people.
Young Muslims often suffer from social isolation, poor life chances and exclusion from mainstream society – 46 per cent live in the bottom 10 per cent of the most deprived local authorities in England.
This negatively affects community cohesion, which is manifested in increasing fear of the ‘other’, leading to more segregated societies and increasing isolation of Muslim communities.
The Talking Heads initiative engages with young people to create a resource that breaks the down myths and stereotypes, and therefore the barriers that exist between young Muslims and their peers.
The project will draw on the project team's experience with performance and storytelling, to coproduce, with young Muslims, a resource that can be used to challenge perceptions and attitudes, in the form of filmed performances.
Following this, two forums of 8-10 young people will be held, using the stories captured during the early part of the project, to explore the attitudes of young people towards the portrayal of Muslims in the media, and to challenge inaccuracy and stereotype. Discussions will be recorded, and analysed, to demonstrate any changes in perception and attitude during the session.
The project aims to develop and test a tool which can be replicated elsewhere. The captured performances will be made widely available at the end of the project and the results of the forums will be publicised.