This week a whole lot of brilliant bright intelligent students in Queens University Belfast, working in the Street Society live project program with five communities, negotiated politics, history, anger, truancy, sectarianism, ugliness and disappointment and used their heads and hearts and hands to share ideas, offer courage, humour, support and hope, all the time welcoming the knowledge, inspiration, expertise and ambition from the children and adults they worked with, presenting their collective work today without nerves or anxiety, always smiling.
Unusually for an architectural crit we all talked about being human and loving and feeling and doing and hearing and cooperating and presenting, representing, acting and changing – but together. Of course advice was offered based on experience but it was offered in every direction.
I am exhausted at the criticism of young people and their so-called sensitivities. They are, in my experience, resilient. The young people I met today, like all young people I meet, are a resource and our allies and can act in and for society when supported to do so. We don’t need to wait for them to “grow up” or qualify or be “professionals” or to patronise them in this or any other way – given a chance and given the means and considered support they can find their own voice and can help change our world right now and in the future.
Education, at its best, works both ways and today we were all learning.
This text was originally written on an i-phone on a bus from Belfast and published directly to Facebook.