Sitting in the light-filled Hackney-based offices of Zetteler in June, with a spectacular view of the London skyline, ideas from POoR pinged around the table. Mentoring was crucial. What does co-design really mean? Why and how do youth centres make a difference?
POoR is part of a wider ecology of collectives and grassroots groups doing things differently. They have already made an important impact on the profession as a burgeoning, socially-minded organisation focused on getting young people’s voices heard. They know that young people hold great power and creativity, despite so often being marginalised or restricted – and that out of this restriction can emerge viewpoints and approaches that we should all pay heed to.
In our preliminary meetings, POoR shared with us the topics and themes that mattered to them. They pinpointed change-making individuals and groups making a difference: those they think the wider profession should learn from.
The AJ team then went about our journalistic work to investigate and share these stories with you. In the process, it has been a privilege to forge new relationships and make new contacts. A particular standout has been photographer and filmmaker Timi Akindele-Ajani’s photoshoot of POoR and their mentor Neil Onions.
POoR and Neil’s longstanding two-way relationship is an inspiring one: it has informed so much of the Collective’s refreshing approach and the way they have gone on to mentor others.
The whole AJ editorial team has had a hand in the October issue of the AJ, but a special shout-out to the AJ’s deputy architecture editor Fran Williams, for her project management par excellence; art editor Maria Rodriguez for her design flair; and production editor Alan Gordon for getting it all over the line.
Our many thanks to POoR for their enthusiasm, vision and ambition. They set out to spotlight, inspire and challenge the profession with their takeover issue – and we think they’ve done that, and more.