VIRTUAL REALITY VS GANGS

CHANNEL 4 NEWS

Deaths among teenagers and younger children have reached a 40-year-high in the West Midlands, with up to 280 knife-related offences a month [Home Office statistics].

Research shows correlation with gang culture and knife crime and our young people are vulnerable to exploitation by gangs every day. Education and out-reach has a key part to play in fighting back.

Birmingham-based theatre and arts company Round Midnight and technologists BDH Immersive created an interactive virtual reality experience, simulating a youth gang scenario.

“WITHOUT EXPERIENCING IT, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO KNOW HOW YOU WOULD REACT IN THE REAL WORLD.”
– JASON FARR, DEPUTY HEAD, PLANTSBROOK SCHOOL.

"EVEN IF WE’RE GOOD PEOPLE, WE CAN STILL MAKE BAD DECISIONS TO PROTECT OURSELVES."
– AMIRA, TEENAGE STUDENT.

students_headsets_2.jpg

"WHAT’S BEAUTIFUL ABOUT A PROJECT LIKE THIS IS THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN TEACHERS, THEATRE COMPANIES AND TECHNOLOGISTS… AND WE SHOULD CARE. THIS IS OUR PROBLEM AS A COMMUNITY."
– KWESI MILLS, YOUTH WORKER.

The narrative can be controlled by the viewer, showing that split-second decisions can have a lasting impact on a young person’s life. As part of this innovative out-reach programme, Round Midnight take the VR experience into schools and run PSHE workshops with young people to spark conversations that are often difficult to approach for teachers.

We interviewed pupils, teachers, youth workers and police to see if this kind of VR experience can offer young people a safe-environment to explore subjects of peer pressure, violent behaviour and gang culture.

Client: Channel 4 News
Commissioner: Louise Turner
Director: Reuben Armstrong
DOP: Jamie Neale
Exec Producer: Lynn Barlow
Additional Camera: Reuben Armstrong
Sound Recordist: Jamie Frye
Editor: Reuben Armstrong
Music: Skepta ‘That’s Not Me’ & Curtis Eugene Cross II / Pablo Love / Campbell E Browning ‘Never Knew’
Special thanks to Round Midnight, BDH Immersive and Plantsbrook School