AYRSHIRE College students have been challenged by the anti-sectarian charity, Nil By Mouth, to provide a cutting-edge idea for their next campaign.
Students from the HIVE (Hope, Inspiration, Vision in Education) facility at Ayrshire College are the latest group to take part in Nil By Mouth’s creative marketing competition, Pitch Perfect – a contest that encourages students to think about sectarianism and how we can tackle it in society.
Last year, the charity teamed up with students from the City of Glasgow College for Kiss Bigotry Goodbye; a campaign highlighting the positives of being a football fan in Scotland.
Now, students from Ayrshire College have been tasked with providing the idea for their 2016 campaign – which could take the form of anything from a poster to a product.
Nil By Mouth was established in in 2000 to achieve a sectarian-free society. They have previously visited Ayrshire College a number of times to deliver workshops raising awareness of sectarianism to students.
Nil By Mouth will produce the winning campaign professionally after it has been chosen by a panel of judges assembled by Ayrshire College.
The students taking part are from the 24/7 Plus courses delivered across all three of Ayrshire College’s main campuses. 24/7 Plus prepares young people for their next steps by giving them an overview of potential areas of employment.
Every student taking part attended a presentation delivered by Nil By Mouth to announce the competition. The group were told that sectarianism is – at its heart – “a fear of difference”, as they looked into stereotyping and how people may be too quick to judge others.
Student, Elicia Smith, 16 from Irvine, said: “This presentation has shown how dangerous judgements are and the effects they can have. It was scary to see how many lives can be ruined by what you say and what you post on social media. It really made me think.”
Nil By Mouth’s campaign director, Dave Scott, said: “This is an opportunity for people to learn more about other people, learn more about themselves and help get positive messages out across the rest of society. It’s about understanding that people are different.
“Sectarianism is not treated as a taboo issue at Ayrshire College, they’re wanting to talk about the subject. The college always goes out of its way to make us feel welcome.
“The students will get the chance to take an idea from the drawing board right the way through to seeing the finished product as they walk through their campus each morning.
:Kiss Bigotry Goodbye proved to be hugely successful with hundreds of people posting messages online, and we received funding from the Scottish government to take it on tours around supporters clubs.
“We’re always optimistic about what happens through the Pitch Perfect competition and we look forward to seeing Ayrshire College’s students present their ideas.”
Steven Fegan, the lecturer of the Kilwinning group, said: “It’s great for the young people of 24/7 Plus to get the opportunity, not only to explore their views of prejudice and learn more about the origins of sectarianism, but to feed into a national organisation and help spread their message far and wide.
“Using the Pitch Perfect competition for the young people is ideal as it raises awareness of differences and shows that they are not something to be afraid of.
“Rather they are something to be accepted and celebrated, which even on its own is an important life lesson, and lets them be creative in sharing this message.”
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