The Right to be Heard (and to blog and tweet….)

I’ve been lucky enough to attend two fascinating seminars in the last week that have explored rights based approaches to tackling poverty. Aoife Nolan discussed ‘Child Poverty & the Law’ in Newcastle last week and Ruth Lister presented on ‘Power not pity’ in Durham earlier on today. I intend to post some (most likely jumbled) thoughts on those discussions at a later date but one of the things that was mentioned at the event today was the potential for social media to help give people with direct experience of poverty a voice and so I thought I would share a couple of examples that I’m aware of and ask readers to share others via the comments facility. So here goes…..

(Clicking on each of the pictures should take you to the original source)

The Wrong Trainers

A series of short animated films narrated by children and produced by the BBC



An excellent short interactive game produced in the USA but which travels well and which forces players to make decisions that people on low incomes have to make every day…..

Benefits. A lifestyle choice

A short 4 minute film, fittingly made on a low budget, by the Poverty Alliance as part of their EPiC (Evidence Participation Change) project which seeks to give people with experience of poverty a voice in decision making processes.

All of the above examples, you will have noticed, have involved organisations using social media tools to promote the views or experiences of individuals or groups with experience of poverty so these experiences are still, well, mediated to some extent.

The best examples I have come across in terms of individuals (as opposed to organisations) using social media have been those involved with the Spartacus Report calling for responsible reform, and associated with campaigning around the Welfare Reform Bill. Blogs such as ‘Benefit Scrounging Scum’, ‘Diary of a Benefit Scrounger’ and ‘The Broken of Britain’ all document daily life dealing with disabilities by the people who directly experience disability.  I’m not aware of any similar blogs which exist that deal more explicitly with life on a low income. I’m sure there must be some…..

The situation for child poverty is, of course, complicated further when children might be involved, although this example from Newcastle City Council’s Children’s Rights Team, made with the help of 300 young people, called ‘Our Lives. What we do. And where we live’ shows it can be done.

We also re-blogged a post earlier this week about a photographer who has used Google maps in the US  to highlight images of poverty and there is nothing to stop individuals doing this. Children North East are also currently exploring ways to develop their work with children and young people using social media and we will keep you updated with this as and when it comes to fruition.

Finally, before I leave you, here’s a particularly uplifting social media event advocating Power to the People in Tynemouth. Not particularly poverty related and not necessarily involving people on a low income, but a good example (I hope) of the potential of social media to bring people together, do things they might not usually do, generate discussion, convey messages and promote events and stories that mainstream media may not be particularly interested in…..

So, please share your knowledge with us and, indeed thoughts about the potential of social media to help facilitate people with poverty having a greater say in discussions about poverty. Without your input, it’s not really ‘social’ is it?

Best wishes,


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