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With the general election less than a week away, we’d love you to take 10 minutes to watch our film, ‘Canvas of Voices’.

The film, which has been submitted to this year’s Doc Fest, looks at young people’s political views and attitudes to voting.

It is the result of our partnership with The Crick Centre last summer, which examined the potential of arts-based community projects to promote political confidence to young people and encourage them to use their vote.

The young people involved in the film came from three different demographics in Sheffield and ranged in age from 15-20 years. They took inspiration from existing political art to then create their own pieces expressing what they wanted to say.

Statistics show that the number of young people voting has been decreasing since 1992, with some polls predicting a turnout as low as 1 in 4 between the ages of 18-24 voting in this next general election.

However, the young people in the film breakdown the assumptions that young people are disillusioned and apathetic when it comes to politics. They demonstrate how they are interested in voting and have a political voice, but feel side-lined and uninformed about the current system.

Luisa Golob, CEO of Ignite Imaginations explains, “The young people were not apathetic about politics, but they felt their voice would not be heard or valued. They said they had little or no education about the political system at school and felt the process was preserved for other people.”

This year E4 are actually going to shut down on May 7th, to encourage young people to vote (apparently Hollyoaks must go on and so broadcasting will resume at 7pm). However, if they haven’t already registered to vote they will be unable to anyway.

There is an interesting TED talk by TV presenter Rick Edwards about ways to encourage young people to vote. He includes ideas such as online voting, compulsory first-time voting (like they have in Australia) and encourages the promotion and use of Voting Aid Apps (VAAs) to help people find out about policies and decide how to use their vote.

These VAAs have proved to be very popular in Europe and there are a few options available to voters in the UK for this election, such as Vote Match and Vote for Policies.

Hopefully you have already registered to vote and are in the process of deciding how to use that vote. As one young person in the film says, “We have the right to vote, we should take that right and use it, because other people don’t have it.”

So on May 7th, please make sure you use your vote, and encourage those around you to do so too.

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