A school in Taunton has been named winner of an animation competition launched by Avon and Somerset Police to engage young people in the issue of knife crime.
Taunton Academy, which was one of four schools from across Avon and Somerset that took part in the initiative, received the most ‘views’ of their short animation on YouTube.
The school is planning to use the prize awarded to fund a new community spirit award for pupils.
The animation, which was created by two year 10 pupils, is called an Eye for and Eye. It explores how we all have a choice about whether or not to carry a knife and the importance of making positive decisions which can determine your future. Instead of picking up a knife to retaliate against bullying, the character in the film chooses to focus on his passion for drumming. It ends with the message ‘live to your positive beat’.
The film, and others from the campaign can be viewed here: www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/knifecrime
Emma Smith, Head of Year 10 at Taunton Academy said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won the competition but most of all we are delighted to have had the chance to be involved in the project.
“It’s been an extremely positive experience, not just for the students that created the animation but for the rest of the school as well. The workshops that they’ve been involved in and the wider discussions we’ve been able to have as a result have definitely made it easier for students to come to talk to us about these issues, and to ask for advice.
“The film that the winning team created was extremely impressive and I know they enjoyed working with the students from UWE to produce it. We’re so proud of the hard work and commitment they’ve shown throughout the project.”
Avon and Somerset Police PCSO Georgia Coles, who works closely with the school and who has been involved with the project from the start, said: “The young people at Taunton Academy have done an amazing job. They’ve approach the project with great maturity and as a result have created a brilliant animation with an extremely important message about knife crime.
“We’ve been delighted with how involved and engaged all the young people that took part in the project have been. It’s been a positive experience for us as well, offering a valuable opportunity to engage with young people about the issue of knife crime in a creative way. All the films will also play an important part of our ongoing work with young people.”
Avon and Somerset Police have been working with the young people involved in the animation competition for the past 12 months, in order to better understand why they might carry knives, what support they want from the police, and the issues they face in their daily lives which can lead to them becoming involved in knife crime and violence.
The police have supported them to turn those ideas into short, animated films, working alongside student animators at UWE Bristol in this creative process.
The films formed part of a wider campaign that has run in Taunton, Weston-super-Mare, and east and south Bristol over the past six weeks. Through the campaign, the students’ work has been reflected on buses, billboards and bus shelters, and the themes explored in the films have been discussed on local radio and in the local media.
During the creative process, the young people spent time in workshops with their peers, facilitated by IDEAL Sustainable Development CIC, discussing the issues, before coming up with a film concept that they pitched to a panel who chose one idea to take forward.
The winning teams then spent time developing their ideas with the team from IDEAL and student animators from UWE Bristol, who then brought the ideas to life on screen. Legendary animation studio Aardman Productions also gave their support to the project, inviting the young people to attend a special day at their Bristol site, where they learned more about how to create a successful animation. The team at Aardman also provided professional guidance and support to the young people as their films developed.