A former cell provides one setting for engagement in the NJM's new exhibition with Ben Kinsella Trust

National Justice Museum partners with anti-knife crime charity

Alex Stevens, 05.07.2019
Choices and Consequences workshops are run in partnership with Ben Kinsella Trust
The National Justice Museum (NJM) in Nottingham has started hosting anti-knife crime workshops for schoolchildren aged nine to 14 in its new permanent exhibition developed with the anti-knife crime charity Ben Kinsella Trust (BKT).

The workshops, called Choices and Consequences, are also run in London where they have been delivered to more than 14,000 young people. They take participants through five rooms, where they are led by actors and facilitators to explore the ethical, emotional and practical implications of knife crime, the criminal justice system, and loss of life.

The space is in an Edwardian former police station previously used by the museum for visiting schools and sometimes hosting temporary exhibitions.

Its new use sits appropriately within the NJM’s aims, said Gill Brailey, the head of learning at NJM.

“Our learning programmes aim to enable young people to be able to understand the justice system and how they can take an active part in society," she said. "We are developing this idea to look at choices and consequences more widely – young people need this knowledge in order to make good decisions and need to understand the consequences of any decisions they make.

“We feel that Choices and Consequences is a vital programme and this use of the police station is ideal.”

The museum and BKT jointly recruited facilitators and actors, and existing BKT practitioners observed a pilot programme at NJM in order to ensure that key points were delivered.

The development process took 16 months, said Brailey. One important task was to persuade local organisations and community groups that a museum was the right type of institution to be involved in such a serious issue as knife crime.

“We are really clear that we are working on early prevention,” said Brailey. “We do not do intervention, because there are professional organisations out there that do that.

“But nobody is born carrying a knife; it is a learned behaviour. At some point it is a choice that you make, and our programmes are about the consequences of making the right or the wrong choices.”

BKT was set up by the family of Ben Kinsella after he was murdered while celebrating the end of his GCSEs in 2008. The organisation delivers workshops at NJM and at Finsbury Library in north London, as well as campaigning and providing resources for young people, parents and teachers.