Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Archived Articles - 2007

Notes on a Conflict

This weekend marked the 4th anniversary of the Darfur conflict that has killed over 200,000 people and left 2 million homeless and in need of aid.
In London, 3500 people have spent the day protesting against the horrific acts that are happening in the region but I'm not really sure what good it's gonna do. I've only really known about the Darfur conflict since last summer after accidently stumbling across a documentary that was shown at some awkward time of night, since then I have researched the conflict and tried to keep to date with what is happening. All I can do as an individual is to sign petitions and raise awareness - it's an area too dangerous for humanitrian groups to help so untrained individuals can do little more than sit at home and watch as it keeps happenening.
What is happening in Darfur isn't a one off event. It's become a way of life for the people that are having to live through it. The U.N can't help, governments around the world can't help, high profile celebrities have no power of influence, the public can't help... so what options does that leave?
It upsets me and I'm sat in the comfort of my own bedroom, I can not possibly imagine what those people are going through. I've looked into the possibilty of travelling there to help with the refugee camps but it's an area so dangerous that aid agencies are having to stop vital work. It's as if Darfur is in lock-down and the only way the terror will end is when the Sudanese government has rid the land of it's innocent natives.

Archived Articles

The Noise Festival

The Noise Festival is a unique innovation which is providing a platform for up and coming artists and designers who up until now, may not have had the chance to showcase their talent.
The really imaginative part of the Nose Festival is that you don’t even have to leave your own home to see it, so although it has visited areas across the UK such as London and Manchester, the Noise Festival is a one of a kind exhibition that is viewed primarily via the internet.
The interactive website allows viewers to peruse the art work at leisure and then allow them to vote for their favourites giving the artists a chance to get their work displayed on the front page of the website.

I caught up with Sara Leigh, from Scarborough, a designer whose work is currently being showcased via the Noise Festival:

How did you become involved with the Noise Festival?

I became involved in the Noise Festival when they approached me after seeing my work at a fashion show in Manchester. A photographer from the Noise Festival had taken some shots and asked if I'd like to submit them as part of the festival. I had heard a little bit about Noise around Manchester and on the internet and was impressed by the nature of the project so I submitted the photographs along with some illustrations and prints.

What responses have you had regarding your work since the festival?

I have had a few people seeing my work on the site and their congratulations and also positive feedback from the staff at Noise Festival. Even though it hasn't necessarily taken my work to the level in terms of National Press etc I feel it has increased the awareness of the existence of my work.

What is your overall opinion of the Noise Festival?

Very well organised, motivated and energetic project. I have been receiving updates on various Noise Festival news and exhibitions throughout the course of the festival. I also visited the exhibition in Manchester which was impressive and diverse. It's definitely something I would love to get involved with next year.

What are your future plans? T

o continue in my design work and to continue to get involved in such projects like Noise Festival in future!

You can check out Sara’s work at www.myspace.com/misslunapink

The festival is open to everyone and anyone, so if you need a platform for your work then check out the submissions guidelines for next year.

The Noise Festival has proved to be a hit both physically and virtually so if you want to check it out go to www.noisefestival.com

Archived Articles - Generation Why

13 November 2006
Why charity doesn’t always start at home

Sarah Goodwin explains her reasons for prioritising international charities.

I’m often asked why I don’t support charities or campaigns that affect the United Kingdom; why I choose to donate money to people in Tanzania instead of a charity that helps British people; or how I can walk past a homeless person in my own city when the plight of strangers in a far away country upsets me. These are questions I sometimes struggle to answer. However, whist I choose to support international projects, other people choose ones that are close to home, and whilst I choose to help disadvantaged people, other people choose to help animals. The best thing about living in a democracy is having the right to choose.

But what are my reasons for choosing international issues?

Well I guess in effect they chose me. My interest started during the Make Poverty History campaign in early 2005. I sat back, and for the first time, I watched, I read and I listened. Reading accounts of families forced to drink dirty water because they have no alternative, whist we sit here drinking the purest water we can find, is hard enough. But then seeing videos of malnourished children orphaned by AIDS, or watching as people die from illnesses we can cure by a trip to the chemist, really took it to a new level for me. So I took notice and decided I wanted to help. Whether that involved writing to MPs, signing petitions, donating money or raising awareness, I was in a position to help so why shouldn’t I?

I now spend time each day catching up with the latest developments from Oxfam and Generation Why, I read all I can about the Darfur Crisis, I buy fair trade, I donate money and I plan to do humanitarian work in Kenya. I do care about other issues but if I were to spend the same amount of time worrying about the homeless in the UK, needy animals and other causes, I’d have no time to sit back and enjoy my own life. I’m all for helping others but you need to live your own life at the same time.I find in this country a lot of people prefer to support local charities and that’s their choice. Who am I to question it? But I want to help and support Oxfam, so that’s what I’m going to do.


Archived Articles - Generation Why

08 December 2006
Why charity shops are cool

Following Victoria Beckham’s visit to an Oxfam shop, Sarah Goodwin tells
us how she was converted to the world of second-hand.

It’s not exactly rare to see pictures of Victoria Beckham out and about on a shopping spree, but the British media went into a frenzy a few weeks ago when she was seen buying a cocktail dress and a fashion book in the Notting Hill branch o Oxfam. Instantly, Oxfam shops were declared fashionable, and the profits for that particular store went up by a rumoured 70 per cent in the week following her visit.
I wonder if Posh had visited my local shop a few years ago would I have always thought of Oxfam as a cool place to shop?

During my school days, Oxfam was the shop in town that my friends and I avoided at all costs. It wasn’t really anything to do with the organisation as such, more the fact that it was a second-hand shop. We didn’t want to be seen in someone else’s clothes when we could be hot-footing it into Top Shop just a few minutes walk away. The opinion that charity shops were only for people who couldn’t afford anything else wasn’t just ours - in fact it was probably representative of a lot of teenagers at that time. Back then it was bad enough to have to stand outside while your mum popped inside, but to be seen actually coming out of a charity shop - well that would be social suicide!

But it all changed when at 18 I moved to London. The new people I met thought nothing of popping into the city and browsing through the rails of charity shop after charity shop. I’ve known fashion-conscious individuals rave about having an Oxfam Vintage in their local town yet shudder at the thought of stepping anywhere near New Look or Primark. It took me a while to come round to their way of thinking. I’d spent 18 years avoiding charity shops at all costs, but once I saw what a charity shop had to offer I was converted. What a delight to find that you could get beautifully crafted greeting cards along with old vinyls, coffee, chocolate and books. On a student budget, Oxfam was the place to be, especially when it came to fancy-dress nights at the local student union. Even now I’m no longer on a student budget I’m happy to browse through any Oxfam I come across, and I know where I’ll be buying my Christmas cards this year.

I’m sure that some of the younger generation still find charity shops an embarrassing place to be, but that’s just part of growing up and trying to fit in. However, Victoria’s latest trip may change their opinions for the better.
So why not grab a bargain while helping a worthy cause? It’s all in a day’s shopping, and if it’s good enough for Mrs Beckham, then it’s good enough for us!


Archived Articles

Archived Articles