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Introduction to Tapestry

“We are one people forever woven together
in a tapestry…”

Roy Barnes

Tapestry is a dynamic theatre-in-education tour for 13-18 year olds which explores the implications and consequences of extremist thinking and action.

Originally devised and toured in 2009, Tapestry provided young people with an opportunity to discuss issues around violent extremism in a safe fictional context. This provided a means by which they could express their own views freely and challenge the views of others.

Young people were given the opportunity to identify what might have made the characters vulnerable to extremism as outlined in the Department for Children, Schools and Families publication “Learning to be Safe Together” and suggested ways to address their vulnerability.

Young people reflected on the implications and consequences of extremist activity and through their engagement with characters in a story and seeing what happens to them, were able to suggest different ways to bring about positive change.

Participants were able to interact, responding directly to the characters in the performance:

Developed in partnership with West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council as part of the Preventing Violent Extremism programme, it provides a unique stimulus for young people, teachers and youth leaders to begin to explore this sensitive and complex issue. Threads of parallel stories are played out crossing community, religious, political and family lines to explore what divides us, what we hold in common and what drives the few to consider taking matters into their own hands.

Islam is about peace, you are bringing shame on Muslims

He has been sucked in – brainwashed

You will be a puppet

What Hassan’s dad meant to say about life being a tapestry is basically life’s full of different people you just have to work out how to make them work together and be peaceful

The programme also initiated conversations with interested adults and provided them with a resource to continue or begin conversations with their colleagues or the young people with whom they work.

You guys were great you hit the nail spot on the head
Youth Worker Young Offenders Team

I’m speechless, that doesn’t happen very often for me, that is the best thing I’ve seen since, well ever.
Lynn Davies Professor of International Education at Birmingham University and author of Educating Against Extremism

This is amazing, I wasn’t sure when I came in, but you guys are on it
Police Officer

Watch this video for excerpts from the project:

 (An extended version of this video can be found here.)


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