IT’S OFFICIAL. AS of August 2006, my last youth-related engagement ends. For nearly a decade, I have worked on youth-related arts and media projects – often cynically describing myself as a “professional token youth”. Having reached my early thirties that description has reached its use-by-date and I feel obliged to resign from the niche before the gap between my experience and what I am being asked to represent becomes too apparent.
Over this time, I have learnt through accident and experience that youth can be a very effective tool if you are young and confident enough to wield it. It is only slightly shameful to say that I have used it to level the playing field whenever the opportunity has presented itself. I learnt that combining youth with prefixes such as regional and disadvantaged can legitimise many purposes. The understanding of that power is rarely appreciated by young people themselves, but is readily exploited by those who seek to use it on their behalf.
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