North East youngsters head to Parliament

Alex Dobbing, who heads up the teen delegation Alex Dobbing, who heads up the teen delegation

Teenagers from Newcastle are heading to Parliament to tell MPs how special their home region is.

Alex Dobbing (17), a pupil at Ponteland High School, will act as youth ambassador for the Portrait of a Nation project, and travel to Westminster on Tuesday 21 October to meet Culture Secretary Andy Burnham and other influential decision makers.

The two year-long project, headed up by the Liverpool Culture Company and the Heritage Lottery Fund, has seen hundreds of young people from 17 cities across the UK look at what culture and identity means to them and focus on their hopes for the future.

The youngsters from each of the cities will talk to politicians about their experiences so far and what work they plan to showcase at the finale event which will form part of the closing ceremony for Liverpool Capital of Culture in December.

The deputy chair and creative director of the Liverpool Culture Company, Phil Redmond, will be taking part in Tuesday's event. He said: "The Portrait of a Nation project has given hundreds of young people a great opportunity to look into their heritage and talk to this country's decision makers about what cultural heritage means to them.

"What young people bring to any debate is a fresh insight and challenge to the validity of established wisdom. "Their work on the ‘Portrait' project is a relevant, positive and representative portrayal of youth culture which will give many policy makers an insight they may not have had before."

The North East's contribution to the project is three short films about the region, produced by the Northern Stars young filmmaker's academy at the Tyneside Cinema. Before the young filmmakers head to Liverpool, their work will be premiered in Newcastle on 30 November 2008 as part of the Northern Lights Film Festival.

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