Tate Collective member Steven introduces their latest collaboration with artist Ruth Ewan, a publication exploring the perception of youth in Liverpool

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  • Tate Collective Liverpool
    You feel like a threat, don't you?
  • Illustrations from You feel like a threat, don't you?
    Illustrations from You feel like a threat, don't you?
  • Pages from Tate Collective Liverpool's publication
    You feel like a threat, don't you? Publication pages

As a member of Tate Collective Liverpool I was given the opportunity to collaborate with artist Ruth Ewan to produce an artwork for the Art Turning Left exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Our outcome, You feel like a threat, don’t you? takes the form of a publication which expresses the various ways we feel that, as young people, we are perceived and treated in Liverpool.

Our first meeting with Ruth took place at the Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition at the British Library. I knew Ruth produced works that often had a political edge to them, so collaborating with her provided us with a unique opportunity to delve deeper into ideas of perception and explore visual ways of telling our stories. For me, a large part of being young is the ability to be carefree, mainly wanting to laugh, and sometimes not giving a second thought about other people around me. But how might this come across in a public space? I know I’m not a threat, but maybe I feel like one?

Over time we gathered quotes from anecdotes about our experiences as young people in Liverpool. Where are the spaces allocated for young people with the city? Why are the spaces that young people choose to inhabit so often given negative connotations? With so much content, we decided a booklet provided the best way of sharing our stories and ideas with the public. However, we needed some serious design guidance, so joined forces with Åbäke, who helped us pull the print together.

Though the booklet veers from subject to subject, I think this chimes with the frenetic nature of youth, and with the whole exhibition of Art Turning Left itself – artists trying, in many different ways to find their best means of expression within an environment they are not completely comfortable in.