People craned out of windows and gathered on corners to watch as nearly a hundred young people chanted, danced and demanded their right to freedom from fear. On Tuesday 6th of November, a project by the Politics and International Relations department at Canterbury Christ Church University gave life to the political ambitions of 16-18 year olds from across Kent; proving that joy really can be an act of resistance. Consensus decision making and the impact we can all have on those close to us were key messages that participants were left with, as they were encouraged to devise their own political movement. After developing their ideas with the department’s academics, the students created a political carnival of banners, chants and music.
The carnival occupied the University’s main campus, demanding safer streets and letting the watching crowds know that responses to street crime and the lack of street lighting in their areas would no longer be tolerated. This was the culmination of work developed as part of the Tate Exchange programme with Prof. David Bates and Tom Sharkey along with second year Politics students who helped to organise the day as part of their module on Contemporary Political Theory. The day formed part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences organised by Dr Paul Anderson. Although the messages were serious there was a real sense of fun and excitement across the campus and all of those involved left emboldened and joyful. Prof Bates reflected that: ‘Too often we hear about the political apathy of young people. Today we have witnessed quite the opposite’.