By Meera Tailor, Photos Isobel Coombs
Universal Peace Federation Youth UK and Women’s Federation for World Peace Youth UK were fortunate to have two awe-inspiring individuals in their presence. Rioch Edwards-Brown who has over 16 years experience as a TV researcher and media campaigner and Ian Brown, who has worked in the television industry for more than 20 years, gave a moving interview on their personal and professional journey, a meeting held at Lancaster Gate on April 5th. Around 40 passionate young people gathered for an evening they will surely remember.
Embracing, understanding and sharing experiences and cultures define the meaning of global citizenship. It is through the concept of diversity that makes the world vibrant and therefore radiate positivity. When Rioch and Ian’s son was shot and stabbed in school for ‘having two parents’ they understood listening was key in providing independence and opportunity to those groups of people that felt excluded. It was at this intrinsic moment that both Rioch and Ian saw the bigger picture. Rather than seek revenge, they wanted to create change and make a difference in young people’s lives. They wanted to reach out to the community directly by starting off with what they knew best, television. At an executive and producer level, Ian saw the lack of diversity within the television industry and therefore they came up with the idea of combining the two. Thus, the social enterprise ‘So You Wanna Be In TV?’ was born.
‘So You Wanna Be In TV?’ aims at bringing diverse groups of people into television, an industry more than often occupied by people from white middle class and former public school backgrounds. With this in mind, in order to generate change Ian explains how you have to be ‘strategic…start small and go out and meet the world.’ Creating change is about ‘enjoying the moment…whatever enriches you treasure it, don’t let go…don’t be defeated.’ It is this strength that has made the social enterprise continuously successful, bringing youth from diverse backgrounds back into employment. Continuing from this idea of reaching out to the community, Ian explained how listening has been key both in his personal and professional life. Ian revealed how many of those that attend the training ‘had no hope, no light in their eyes…You make them relax and realise that there are opportunities available and by the end of the training, there is a spark and the light comes back on.’
Towards the end Rioch and Ian touched upon the message of doing good and well in society by starting first through the community. By creating any direct social intervention, Rioch described having to ‘start small and think big…take small steps yourself.’ She comments on having a clear dialogue on social change where ‘the answer is in the community…the community has a voice’ and it is this voice that is heard only if we choose to listen.
Stay tuned for the whole interview.