Student art project highlights child poverty and calls for change

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De Montfort University students have urged Leicester to invest in the future of local children as part of their end of year event.

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An installation of a child's bedroom is designed to highlight the lives of children growing up in poverty

Final year students on the communication arts degree at De Montfort University released a manifesto for change at their expo event on Wednesday (8 May).

The event featured a number of works, including a documentary, two immersive installations, including the bedroom of a child living in poverty, and a series of observational photo essays.

The event, titled ‘It Takes A City To Raise A Child’, urged local communities to help improve the life chances of children.

More than 34,000 children in Leicester are living below the poverty line, according to organisers, equal to one in four.

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Another installation highlights how a poor diet can affect the lives of children

Spokesperson Rebecca Hardy said, ‘We have worked hard as a group to come up with creative ways that we can draw attention and awareness to a topic that we are so passionate about.

‘The life chances of children in Leicester are important to us and we are enthusiastic to use our skills to help start change for these children.

‘I myself am from Leicestershire, as are several of my course mates, so this topic is something close to our hearts and I think most people have some experience with this, whether it’s themselves or people that they know.’

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Artworks and an installation from the exhibition

The keynote speaker at the event was Matt Lilley, director of Leicester-based young people’s charity Focus.

Mr Lilley said, ‘The idea that “it takes a city to raise a child” has never been more relevant than it is today.

‘The isolation and loneliness that so many children and young people experience now, as support services are being withdrawn at an alarming rate, parents fear allowing their children out on the streets, and social media and the appeal of the online world are taking over their lives is a huge concern.

‘We all have a role to play and a responsibility to act to support them in feeling that they are part of a supportive and loving community.

‘At Focus, we are delighted to be involved in this Expo and hope that it will be a catalyst for change.’

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