Posted by Chiara 50 days ago in Fast Forward

Our new team member Jemma and the Rebel Roots Project

Fast Forward has started an exciting new heritage project, Rebel Roots, in Edinburgh.

The project focuses on the history of local youth subcultures, fashion and music – it will enable young people to explore and learn more about local scenes, bands and styles since the 1960’s, and their legacy and relevance today.

By supporting young people to take the lead, the Rebel Roots project will improve young people’s connections to their past, break down generational barriers and give young people a chance to see what their Mums and Dads really got up to.

Jemma our new project officer for Rebel Roots, shares with us why she’s excited about this heritage project:

“Growing up in the eighties, I remember seeing punks hanging around on the street. I was fascinated by them. Their vibrant, crazy hairstyles, non-conforming clothes and a stick it to the man attitude. I couldn’t articulate this as a child. But, in a declining industrial town, where everything else seemed, dull they had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.

Not too long after this, the acid house scene exploded. I’d cry as by brother went to local raves. I was too young to tag along. But not to be deterred I’d still don the loose fitting, multi-coloured clothing that came with the music whenever I was out of my school uniform. I’d play the cassette tapes of bands like The Happy Mondays and The Farm on my Sony Walkman.

I wasn’t one to conform with the norm. When I hit my teens I was more interested in The Stone Roses and listening to Tom Wilson on the radio than Take That or Top of the Pops. My friends and I would fantasise about going to the Haçienda in Manchester or a dance-filled rave in Ibiza.

Like many of my peers before me, belonging to a subculture gave me an identity. Our uniform, a cast off from the football casuals and skinheads that had come before us had to be the best of gear. Most notably, always guid jeans and trainers.

Since the birth of the Teds and Judies (female Teds) in the ‘Fifties, young people have created their own sub-cultures, giving generation after generation ways to develop their identity and express themselves. These subcultures somehow convey their understanding of the world around them.

So I’m super excited about the Rebel Roots project. Not just because I get to reminisce about my youth every day at work, but because I get to explore all the myths about the deviants, delinquents and folk devils that came before me.

What’s even more exciting is that I get to do this with a bunch of young people.

I think what’s fantastic about this project is that it will give young people today a connection with the youth of the past. Each of these subcultures took, borrowed and evolved from each other and they were, generally, all working class movements. Also, for generations there has been media outrage towards young people. This has become more and more apparent to the young people we have worked with.

We have an amazing bunch of trips, events and workshops organised for the young volunteers over the coming months. Not only will they gain an insight into the youth subcultures of the past, they will also learn lots of new skills which they can put to use by creating a legacy for the project. What will that be? Who knows? But I’m pretty sure from seeing what young people have come up with already that the outcome will be awesome.”