The ICAN Street Talk project was a youth Art Project in collaboration with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), tackling anti-social behavior and developing meaningful relationships with neighborhood officers. The Street Talk project worked with young people from loyalist, nationalist and protestant rural areas, giving them creative ways to express their identities, explore sectarianism, anti-social behaviour, hate crime, burglary and each community’s relationship with the PSNI.
Young people from Magherafelt, Derry~Londonderry, Strabane and Limavady were introduced to new opportunities, through graffiti, DJing, animation and light box art, to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, and to build relationships with each other and their local community police.
Young people achieved OCN accreditation and were awarded certificates of completion. Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie described Street Talk as a project “which has changed perceptions both on the part of police officers and young people”. She affirmed a hope to see the work replicated in other areas across Northern Ireland. The project was Highly Commended by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children & Young People in 2013.
“I’ve learned that working together has brought communities together, and there is not going to be fighting or violence since we’ve interacted with each other.” Street Talk project participant
“The attitudes of the police officers had to be challenged as well. Having such frank conversations with the young people and opening up as an individual was definitely a thought-provoking element of the project because that’s not part of our training. Nothing prepares you for the questions you get from a group of teenagers.” Sgt Sam Young
“As the youth support worker and a former Republican prisoner, the Street Talk project on a personal level enabled me to take risks in the interest of promoting a shared future.” Youth Worker