Spark, Baytree’s leadership focused youth club, has teamed up with Taking Up Space, a female led not-for-profit design agency on a mission to design a better world for all women. Taking up Space is running a two month project called Information Exchange with the girls looking at how we can use design to tackle social injustices, especially those affecting women. The sessions are being run by Co-Directors of Taking Up Space, Laurie and Rachel with help from their Youth Worker Ria as well as the Baytree’s team.
Information Exchange is a new, free information service created with and for women and girls. Taking Up Space are working with groups to identify the issues that matter to them, then co-producing information resources that provide the answers to the questions women and girls have. In Spring 2020 the service will be launching as an online information hub and peer to peer community outreach service.
Rosanna, Youth Projects Manager at Baytree said ‘We do a lot of social action projects with the girls in Spark but this is a really different approach. It’s getting the girls to think outside the box and simultaneously introducing them into the world of design which is something that is a really career aspiration for one of them.’
After debating lots of different social issues (one of their favourite passtimes) that affect the girls, it was not long before they settled on the issue of sexual harassment, an issue that sadly effects every single one of them. Over December the girls will be working closely with the design team to develop resources in form of leaflets providing information about girls and women’s rights and advice on what to do when they find themselves being a victim of sexual harassment. These resources will then be shared across the UK in an attempt to spread their message and empower women and girls to speak out, challenge and report sexual harassment.

Laurie and Rachel, Co-Founders of Taking Up Space said, ‘It has been brilliant working with the girls and staff at the Baytree Centre. The girls in the group are smart, and funny and so switched on about politics and the issues they face in their day to day lives. We have been working together to make resources about street and sexual harassment- topics that the girls picked. Their decisions about the content to cover and about how to present the information so it’s both sensitive and empowering for their peers have led to a really powerful design. While the project has been hugely enjoyable, the experiences the girls have shared, especially around the volume of street harassment they and their friends face, have reinforced why we’re doing the project and why it’s vital that women and girls are well informed about their rights and have access to spaces like Baytree.’