Our main activity is the Ben Kinsella choices and Consequences Exhibitions are based in Finsbury Library in Islington, North London and in the National Justice Museum in Nottingham.
These exhibition spaces are used to deliver anti-knife crime workshops aimed at young people aged between 10-16.
The workshops, each for or up to 30 young people, are unique as they give young people an opportunity to learn about the dangers of knife crime and the emotions associated with living the experience in a safe space.
We know all young people learn differently, so we have combined role play, video testimony featuring real life stories, quizzes and surveys to keep young people engaged. During workshops, young people move through 5 different themed rooms, guided by trained facilitators and actors who provide age-appropriate guidance, interaction and content.
The workshop starts with role play in the “Choices Comic Cartoon” room, where the cartoon’s main character has chosen to carry a knife to protect himself after experiencing bullying.
There are three possible endings, all of which were not envisaged by the main character but are those most likely to occur when carrying a knife (being arrested, being stabbed with your own knife, or stabbing someone accidentally). Participants discuss the outcomes and how the main character could have prevented these happening.
Next, the young people enter “Ben’s Room” and watch him growing up through photos and film clips.In this room they get to understand the person behind the headlines, that Ben was like them, a normal London teenager who did things that they like to do.The young people also consider what their aspiration might be for the future and how that future might look if they were to become involved in criminal behaviour.
In the “Cinema Room” they watch an emotional documentary of how a series of negative choices left the Kinsella family, Ben’s friends and a whole community devastated. Young people explore the ripple effect of knife crime, the loss of life and liberty on both sides, and how life is never the same again for those involved.
After this, young people take part in quizzes and discussions in the “Consequences Room”, which enable young people to think through the right and wrong decisions relating to knife crime. In this room, they learn about the medical implication of knife wounds (i.e. there is no safe place to stab someone).
Here too, they learn about the Law and how it is applied to knife crime cases. This includes a discussion on joint enterprise and how simply encouraging or assisting someone to commit a criminal act may result in someone being convicted and serving a similar sentence to the offender.
In the penultimate room, they enter a replica prison cell where an actor drives home the message of the reality of living in a prison cell. The young people get to ask the ‘prisoner’ about prison and this helps debunk some of myths that they may hold about the prison regime.
It also allows them to experience what it would be like to be stuck in a confined space. They are then able to reflect on the 10-minute experience and compare what that might be like if they had to live this for 23 hours a day 7 days a week.