Hopebook is an exciting development that grew out of collaboration between Children North East and Live Theatre with the creation of 'Hope’s Diary' in 2011. Artistic Director Amy Golding took child poverty data, images and focus group information to a Culture Code Hack held at the Tyneside Cinema in 2012.
The CultureCode Initiative was an opportunity for north east cultural and digital communities to work closely together, increasing their understanding of each other’s work and the mutual benefits of collaboration, by connecting cultural organisations with software developers and creative technologists to see what amazing things would happen.
Hope explores issues of child poverty by placing you within a day in the life of a 12 year old girl called Hope. Hopebook mirrors the way in which Facebook is used. You become friends with Hope who posts about her life and experiences. The reality behind those posts can be revealed by clicking on an icon. Interactive games can be played which highlight the obstacles faced by children and young people growing up in poverty.
We have two aims for Hopebook - to place adult decision makers within the day in the life of a child experiencing poverty and the decisions that they have to face; and to encourage as many young people as possible to share with us their views and experiences.
Whilst playing Hopebook users are asked a few questions. Including what change they would like to see locally to tackle child poverty. We will use the data from this to inform our work on a children’s manifesto on poverty, that we are coordinating for the APPG Poverty.
This is an exciting development that we think has never been tried before. It has potential to engage large numbers of children and young people nationally in the discussion and debates about child poverty, using a medium that they already engage with, in their millions. We also believe it has the potential to influence policy makers and decision makers, who increasingly use mediums such as twitter.