Young people exploring self-identity

Published: Friday July 21, 2017

Bishop Rachel met with a group of 20 young people this week, who were exploring their self-identity through poetry and photography. This week long workshop involved kids from a number of different secondary schools from across Cheltenham. The outcome of their project this week, will result in an exhibition being launched during London Fashion week called PEEL.

In 2016 Bishop Rachel launched a public campaign to tackle body image anxiety in young people and promote the message that “who you are”, is more than how you look.

Research from the YMCA and Dove Be Real Campaign, found that almost a third (30%) of secondary school pupils isolate themselves to avoid activities because of low body confidence while more than half (52%) regularly worry about how they look. Research from the Children’s Society found that a third of girls are unhappy with their appearance and as they become older they become increasingly unhappy with their appearance. The research also found that unhappiness in young people with life as a whole and unhappiness with appearance are particularly strongly associated with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

In October 2016 Bishop Rachel launched a social media campaign #liedentity with pupils from All Saints Academy in Cheltenham, challenging negative body image and encouraging young people to look within to discover true value and beauty. This has then led to a number of school visits and visits to worshipping communities, fresh expressions and chaplaincies,  where Bishop Rachel has spoken with young people about her own identity in Christ and her desire for every person to discover their worth and potential as a unique individual created in the image of God.

Marksteen, Bishop Rachel and PEEL This led to a conversation with Marksteen Adamson founding partner of ASHA, an international marketing agency based in Cheltenham (see Marksteen was in the process of developing a multi-media resource, which helped young people (16-18) explore self-identity through photography and poetry. This photography will be shown at his exhibition PEEL, at London Fashion Week this September, to highlight the issues of body image anxiety in young people.

Bishop Rachel recognised that this resource could be developed into an excellent way of young people aged between 10-18 to explore the themes of identity and values in a school setting, but also in church youth groups.

This led to us working together to develop PEEL into an online resource that can be used for both primary and secondary school children and for use within a church youth group.

More details of this exciting partnership and resource will be coming soon…….

Filming with PEELPEEL - image, poetry and photography trainingPEEL students in CheltenhamMarksteen of the PEEL project with Bishop Rachel Treweek

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