As we approach the end of the year, we thought it’d be rude not to indulge in the cliche December ritual of reflecting on the last twelve months. In a year that saw us start January off in our various Covid-restriction-tiers (remember those?), we think it’s important to remind ourselves of the good stuff that we achieved in 2021.
The list below has been collated with the help of the brilliant team here at Beatfreeks who helped make it all happen.
#1 We worked with one of young people’s favourite social media platforms – TikTok
We were thrilled to work with TikTok in 2021 on an important campaign to tackle the sharing of misinformation online.
Beatfreeks supported TikTok to strategize and deliver the #FactCheckYourFeed campaign, with the aim of equipping the TikTok Community with the skills needed to critically engage with content, navigate the platform safely and guard themselves against potential harms.
The campaign was featured on TikTok’s homepage and has been viewed a staggering 14.5 million views (and counting!).
#2 Anisa won a pretty major award
Our Founder, the one and only Anisa Morridadi, was awarded the Asian Women of Achievement Award in Arts and Culture. And we couldn’t have been prouder.
#3 We told the world how Gen Z was feeling post-lockdown
A few months ago we published our latest National Youth Trends report, The 2nd Dose. Based on brand new data from over 2,000 Gen Zs in the UK, the report dug deeper into real data around their feelings around Covid restrictions lifting, the massive uptake in social media during the pandemic and what young people are really looking for in their long term careers. Call us biased but we think it makes for an insightful read — you can check it out here.
#4 We got more flexible (with our working)
In 2021 we continued developing and refining our company culture through a mix of interactive group sessions and anonymous surveys. From this, flexible working was born – available for every member of our team. Feedback on this change has been overwhelmingly positive in helping us to achieve that all important work-life balance, and we continue to collectively review our culture manifesto to let in new ideas and ways of working.
#5 We got young people to head to the park
We produced an exciting campaign for Groundwork, a federation of charities mobilising community action. The one week campaign, Reclaim Your Park, made up 75% of Groundwork’s overall digital outreach for the year – reaching an incredible 834,000 people.
#6 We did more of what we love – gathering loooooads of data
We won’t tell you about all the data we collected in 2021 because we’d be here until 2023, but to give you one interesting snippet – did you know that only 5.4% of young people are vegan? (according to our NYT research). Our research, data and insight continues to inform data-driven decision making both for ourselves and the organisations we work with.
#7 We partnered with the wonderful team at gal-dem
We have admired and loved gal-dem from afar for a long time, so we were very excited to deliver an interactive online workshop with them for People of Colour from marginalised genders within our community. They shared their editorial practices, experiences and tools for generating and pitching ideas to publications like theirs. From new or aspiring writers looking for ideas and inspiration, to those wanting to find out more about what editors look for in a story and keen to learn practical journalism tools and skills – it had something for everyone.
#8 We brought our National Youth Trends data to life through art
Beatfreeks collaborated with artist Antonio Roberts to create a series of digital art work, inspired by the insights we gathered for National Youth Trends from nearly 2,000 Gen Z’s across the UK. Antonio’s beautiful work showcased an innovative method of talking about research, data and insight as you can see here.
#9 We found a stunning new venue for Poetry Jam
The event that started it all, Poetry Jam, found a new home in 2021. Now hosted at Birmingham Symphony Hall (a B:Music venue), our Poetry Jam sessions are feeling more bougie than ever (have you seen how good it looks on the livestream!?).
If you fancy joining us for any upcoming events, you can grab your tickets on Symphony Hall’s website for 2022.
#10 We helped to share important messaging on COVID-19
As we all know, COVID has continued to affect our lives in 2021. We produced two user generated content campaigns (with Blackpool Council and the NHS) this year, led by young people who used their creativity to engage their audiences with important messaging on COVID and the vaccine.
#11 Over 11,000 people tuned into Poetry Jam’s 8th birthday celebration
February was a big month for celebrating when Poetry Jam turned 8 years old. Time really does fly when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? Streamed from Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, Poetry Jam’s 8th birthday party showcased stunning, thought-provoking performances from some of the best poets across the UK and Ireland. And 11,000 people tuned in worldwide to watch it. Pretty cool.
#12 Our CEO went on a sabbatical and came back with loads of inspiring and exciting ideas
After eight years at the helm of Beatfreeks, Anisa took a well deserved breather to go and dream, play and work on some new stuff for herself, the company and the team. She’s come back with some incredible ideas and we’ve got so much in store for 2022 – more on that soon…
#13 A new puppy joined the Beatfreeks team!
We welcomed Project Manager Joyti’s new puppy, Pablo Esco-Bear, into the team. Need we say more?
#14 We partnered with Jam Sessions and found some brilliant Brummie talent
Beatfreeks partnered with Jam Sessions to host a live open mic in-person event in Digbeth, showcasing the amazing talent within the city. Together we sold 130 tickets but more importantly, we created an all-important platform for artists and donated to the homeless too.
#15 We continued to put young people at the heart of what we do
Throughout 2021 we continued working with 14 amazing young people to support us with our decision making – our Youth Steering Committee. Young people continue to be at the forefront of our work as we head into 2022.
#16 We told untold stories
November marked the launch and celebration of the Roundhouse Birmingham by Night exhibition. Alongside the event was the launch of a non-traditional guidebook in a Zine style format, created by a fantastic group of our young cohort on the Don’t Settle project.
The aims of the exhibition and the Zine were to unearth and reveal histories and stories that rarely get a place within heritage – by exploring Birmingham’s night time economy over the last 200 years. This shed light on those who work when we are all fast asleep and their experience as nighttime workers. The Zine and exhibition were received so well and we hope that the work will be the catalyst for other heritage organisations to practice more forms of meaningful representation.
#17 We taught young people how to Be Internet Citizens
A continuation of a project from 2020, Be Internet Citizens, a national programme delivered by us, supported by Google.org and YouTube, addressed the knowledge and skills gap by deconstructing complex topics including fake news, scapegoating and emotional manipulation. We delivered workshops to teachers and youth workers, held a 15 event digital festival to raise awareness of digital citizenship and ran a two week digital campaign to spread the Be Internet Citizens message to those who need it most. Look out for more Be Internet Citizens coming in 2022.
#18 We recruited new team members – 12 of them in fact
2021 saw us say some sad goodbyes but even more hellos. We recruited 12 new team members to the Beatfreeks team! Technically 13 if you include Joyti’s new puppy…
#19 We made history at Aston Hall
In August, a group of four passionate young Women of Colour from Don’t Settle saw their hard work and planning throughout the pandemic come into fruition. They radically transformed Aston Hall’s Boudoir, which belonged to Lady Sarah Newton who was involved in the enslavement of Black people during the 18th century, into a young Black girl’s contemporary dressing room.
To celebrate the exhibition’s launch, we hosted a market space featuring local Black-owned businesses, spoken word performances, a panel and discussion around the theme of ‘Healing and Overcoming’ led by Black women.
It’s safe to say the event was an overwhelming success. Attendees asked if it could become an annual event, and Aston Hall said they had never received so much engagement from People of Colour before (which reflects the communities mainly surrounding the heritage site). We can’t wait to host another event just like it. Watch this space…
#20 We gave young people £13,000 of funding to make change
In 2021 we funded more than 20 young people’s FUEL projects with the support of EPIC and the Martin James Foundation. FUEL is a pot of funding that young people can access throughout the year, designed to empower them to have a voice, uplift communities, take a stand and spark real change. Project themes ran from mental health in ethnic minority communities and exploring culture and race, to creating resources for young people with chronic illness and disabilities and documentaries/video content on current affairs. You can see some of the results of these incredible projects on our social media channels.
#21 And finally, and most importantly, we impacted the lives of thousands of young people
Throughout 2021, despite its continuing, lingering uncertainty, we were still able to support over 16,000 young people by giving them the chance to share an idea or story, and we gave over 13,000 young people the skills to influence something. We hope that through working with us, we made their 2021 just that little bit more impactful.
Seen something in this list that piqued your interest? Fancy working with us in 2022? Drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have a chat!