Koki Tanaka - Liverpool Biennial callout for striking students from 1985

Did you take part in a UK Youth Training Scheme protest in 1985, in Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow or elsewhere?

Dave Sinclair, Youth Training Scheme Protest, Liverpool, 25 April 1985. Copyright Dave Sinclair

Japanese artist Koki Tanaka is creating a new project for this year's Liverpool Biennial by leading a walk through the city from St George’s Hall to the Pier Head, retracing the original route taken by 10,000 children who, in 1985, who took to the streets of Liverpool to protest against the Conservative Government's Youth Training Scheme (YTS). The scheme, which withdrew benefits in place of on-the-job training for 16-17-year-old school leavers was criticised for exploiting school leavers by paying them little money while also providing little genuine education.There were protests across the country but the Liverpool strike was the largest.

Inspired by the photographs of Dave Sinclair, who docuemented the original event,Tanaka invites people to join him on Sunday 5 June at St Georges Hall from 1pm – the time the original march started – where he will begin a walk through the city. The invitation is open to those who took part in the original protests in Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow and beyond, their children, current students, and those interested in being part of recreating this iconic movement. As well as walking the original route, original participants are encouraged to share their memories of 1985 and reflect on how the strike relates to both the present and future. The artist will also be passing on the role of interviewing participants to students. Everyone is invited to bring placards with text or images revealing their current social or political concerns.

The event will be filmed and shown at Open Eye Gallery throughout the Biennial.

If you were involved in the original 1985 strike, are a current student, or are just interested in being part of this work, then please contact:
Jennifer Watts
+ 44 (0)151 203 3578

13 May 2016