This was a speculative proposal based on a brief from West Midlands Police: to design an anti-knife carrying campaign in response to a sharply increased number of stabbings in the region, where young people have lost their lives or been handed a life sentence. The campaign was intended to support operational activity aimed at reducing the number of knives on the streets, educational inputs in schools and direct collaboration with communities and parents in tackling knife crime. The key campaign aims were to showcase the realities of knife crime and the significant impact it can have on peoples’ lives.
My initial approach to this brief took its inspiration from museums and memorials – specifically Budapest’s Terror Háza, and the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Straße, Berlin. Both sites utilise the respectful use of photography to create impactful installations, highlighting the individuality of the victims while simultaneously emphasising their sheer numbers. I looked to combine this approach with the original content created for WM Police’s existing ‘Life or Knife’ campaign, opting to reframe the existing content with the tagline ‘There is a choice’. This slight shift was intended to counteract a potential feeling among young people that there is no alternative to carrying a knife for protection. I also referred to similar anti-knife crime campaigns and academic studies into the efficacy of anti-knife campaigning amongst young people.
Key features of the re-imagined approach included expanding the selection of potential touchpoints to include outdoor as well as online media, including 48-sheet or wildposting (on authorised sites) around key physical locations, near shops, clubs and bars and also on public transport.