Young Campaigner Award

I’m Not Your N****

Issues around race and racism are complex, intersect with class, religion, gender, and locality, and cannot be wished away.

The Campaign

I’m Not Your N**** is a campaign of around 80 young people across London exploring race, class and identity. Highlighting how structural inequality impacts everyone, and encouraging its audience to have difficult conversations, the project explored different takes on the N-word, questioned the relationship between class and race, and picked at the concept of race itself.

The project started in 2018, at Bollo Brook Youth Centre in South Acton. There were several catalysts: arguments over the use of the N-word in lyrics recorded at the centre’s music studio; racialised language used between young, diverse friendship groups; and young people’s own lived experiences of school exclusions, disproportionate stop and search, and structural inequalities.

I’m Not Your N**** has grown from a series of interviews at Bollo Brook into a multimedia art project, with audio-visual, sculpture and photographic works being displayed at the Seventeen Gallery, the Tate Modern and online at

The Change

100% of participants surveyed said I’m Not You N**** improved their critical thinking, speaking and ability to be heard about social issues. 81% felt it had improved decision-makers willingness to listen to them, and 75% agreed it had supported them to make social change.

The campaign received significant media attention throughout. A meeting held between 25 young people and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty was covered and followed up in-depth in The Guardian.

Following the first national lockdown, I’m Not Your N**** took its art online, with the young artists releasing during the peak of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests. It was well-received by educators, researchers, decision makers and the media, and informed the thinking of both schools and thinktanks – it even encouraged one group of students to create a gallery in their own school.

Nearly three years on from the start of the project, discussions around race at the youth centre continue. I’m Not Your N**** is an ongoing invite to take part in uncomfortable and complex discussions, learning from each other’s lived experiences, as the best way to work towards meaningful change. 


The Future

Young people from Bello Brook now sit on Ealing Council’s Race Equality Commission, and the centre puts out a regular podcast on SOAS Radio. continues to exhibit art, conversations and resources about race, class and equality.


Who else was involved?

Bello Brook Youth Centre, Yasmin Dosanjh (art tutor), The Equality Trust, Peter Griffiths (artist)