An award-winning youth magazine, film producer and charity, Exposure encourages young people to have a voice, for the good of others as well as themselves.
So what is Exposure?
Created by founder and manager Andreas Koumi in 1996, Exposure is a youth charity and a magazine, training young people to write current news and opinion articles. Based in Muswell Hill in North London, it has attracted young people from all over the UK, and even young people from other countries around the world, such as America and Germany!
Exposure’s main goal is to enable teenagers and young people to express themselves, and to learn about, engage with, and communicate in their communities, about real issues that affect them.
Obviously, many young people engage with issues around disabilities, and some of Exposure’s writers have disabilities themselves, including Sabrina Gardiner, Chris Cooper, Max Ferreira, John Quilty, Jack Alrigde and of course, yours truly, Shakira Dyer!
Also, some of Exposure’s writers have spoken about friends or family members with disabilities and mental health issues, or reporting about issues in the news or in research studies.
This article describes the increasse of young people and children with mental health issues who may have tried to be actively suicidal, calling Childline for help. The writer, Nikki, personally knows someone with depression, who was helped by Childline.
Another article explains research by the Jo Cox Foundation that as many as 75% of disabled young people feel lonely and isolated, which can lead to depression or at the very least, feeling as if no-one wants you. The article explores the stories of two young people who have Usher’s syndrome (causing degrees of deaf-blindness.)
Max Ferreira’s poem – ‘Characters with a difference’, explaining about how autism may affect life and social situations but it doesn’t mean they can’t impact society. Read his poem and see his original illustrations here. Max has also written short stories about children and young people with autism, and how they cope in different everyday situations.
Another article by Max comments on a recent news story that a university student with Asperger’s planned to bomb a London underground train. Max advises young people on how to stay safe and how to avoid getting too involved with potentially dangerous interests.
Jack Alridge on gaining more confidence in social situations at ComicCon – here
John Quilty’s article on how to stay safe on the roads, particularly as many pedestrian deaths sadly involve young people, along with a Photoshop image he developed.
Sabrina Gardiner on launching her own SurfingTheSea merchandise business as a young person, with guidance from the Prince’s Trust – read her article here. Selling tea and coffee mugs, tote bags, notebooks and T-shirts, decorated with her own artwork, Sabrina also offers young people advice on how to start up their own business too! Visit her Etsy store here.
John Quilty with Exposure’s ‘I’m Inspired’ video series, a series interviewing people who’ve secured careers, asking what it takes to make it. Jack meets with the Harington Gardeners, a work experience scheme that trains young people with learning disabilities and autism, like himself, to become professional gardeners. Watch the video here.
‘I’m Inspired’ is also newly available as a magazine, featuring Exposure’s young contributors interviewing businesses such as Kith & Kids, Localove, ArtHouse and Alexandra Palace!
Chris Cooper on what all of the main UK political parties promised to do in relation to disabled people and accessibility in the 2017 elections: here. In 2016 Chris also wrote about how young people with disabilities can find work.
Shakira Dyer on the opening of Disability History Month 2017!- article here! I wrote about the unfortunate history that people with disabilities were presented negatively in the arts. However, the artists and campaigners I met at the DHM event, such as Tony Heaton, Tanya Raabe-Webber, Marc Quinn, Alison Lapper and Barbra Lisicki are part of the movement attempting to change that. Oh, and Shadow Chancellor and MP John McDonnell made an appearance as well!
Personally, I feel that Exposure has helped me become more open in sharing my writing, and more coherent and passionate in what I write, allowing me and so many others a platform that is seen by many people worldwide. Now I feel I’m one step closer to achieving one of my goals of becoming a journalist and using my writing to inform, benefit and empower society, along with so many other young people.
Exposure’s Short Films
Alongside their articles, Exposure also produces short films, in collaboration with young people. For example, their film Lonely Minds explores the experiences of two young people with mental health issues; specifically OCD, one of whom has a mental breakdown during the film. They are not alone; statistics suggest that 1 in 10 people have a mental health issue, and the film suggests it’s better to be open about their mental health, than suffer in silence.
Watch Lonely Minds here
Another amazing film that may be relevant to people with mental health issues is ‘Dear Me, Dear You’, about self-harm. The background song is an original by songwriter Nell Hardy, a former young person at Exposure who was brilliant at supporting me and Max as well as others when she was here. (and is also an amazing writer and actress, check her articles, for example this one about her choosing to follow her acting passions here!)
The film also features a poem by another young person at Exposure, writing about the pressure that may cause someone to self-harm, and how they can improve their situation, for example through art and through opening up to trusted friends and family. The film uses yellow paint both as a metaphor for ‘blood’ and for creative artistry.
Watch Dear Me, Dear You here.
As a charity, Exposure welcomes your donations to keep running and supporting more young people! You can donate through its PayPal links, as well as if you happen to be a funding organisation.
I know this organisation, however this is not a sponsored post.