Mishcon de Reya and the Southbank Centre launch WHY? –

 What's Happening for the Young? Festival


20th October 2014:  This week sees the launch of the Southbank Centre's latest festival: WHY? What’s Happening for the Young? - the UKs first festival dedicated to children's rights.


Developed with the support of law firm Mishcon de Reya, WHY? was inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and will ask big questions about what’s happening for the young, what rights children really have today and how we can inspire and equip children and adults to become champions for children’s rights in their own homes, schools and communities.


WHY? will take over the entire Southbank site for four days of talks, debates, performances, free participatory events and workshops exploring all aspects of the current protection and promotion of children and young people’s rights in the UK. Topics covered include politics, young people’s access to culture, immigration, career advice and sex education and many of the discussion panels include at least one child or young adult. Highlights include:

  • A chance for children to make political banners and learn protest songs before taking to the Southbank Centre streets to participate in the BIG PROTEST for children’s rights.
  • Events with leading policy-makers, figureheads, teachers and artists including Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England; writer and Kids Company Director, Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE; Coronation Street star, Charlie Condou; actor and director Femi Oyeniran who starred in Adulthood and Kidulthood and artist and banner-maker, Ed Hall.
  • An interactive session led by UNICEF for adults and children to openly discuss and explore the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Bryony Kimmings’ That Catherine Bennett Show – an interactive show for families challenging today’s role models for eight-year-old girls.

Lawyers from Mishcon de Reya will be hosting seminars throughout the festival, addressing topics such as what young people should know about their online reputation, what employers look for, and issues arising from parental conflict.

Commenting on the decision to launch the WHY? Festival, Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “All too often children and young people’s rights and creativity are sidelined so at WHY? What’s Happening for the Young? we seek to provide an open platform for urgent conversations about how the needs and ideas of children and young people can be properly included in the world.

“In this country we no longer take seriously the adage ‘children should be seen not heard’, and we don’t send youngsters up chimneys or down mines or into the mills or fields to earn their keep. With the number of toys, games and clothes aimed at the children’s market other societies might even accuse us of becoming too indulgent of children’s perceived tastes. However, we know from research that too many children don’t experience basic levels of happiness or a sense of belonging. They suffer from pressures at school, online and from notions of ‘fitting in’ that can cause real worry or sadness for them – and too many children still have to deal with violence and neglect inside the home. Once they reach teenage years they are often expected to behave like adults, but without enough support.”

Barbara Reeves, Partner in Mishcon de Reya's Family Practice, added: "This festival will provide a forum for children, young people and adults to debate, probe and question ideas around children’s rights and raise awareness, an issue that we feel extremely passionate about. Our objective is to put children – specifically their wishes, needs and wellbeing – at the forefront during parental disputes and separation. As a nation, we rarely consult children on issues that impact, shape and influence their lives. At Mishcon, we believe it's important to lead a national debate about this critical issue."




Notes to Editors:


Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, comprising three iconic buildings (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery) and occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Building on its heritage, Southbank Centre has evolved an approach to artistic programming through a series of annual and one-off themed festival. Within this festival structure, the artistic offer is wide-ranging, covering contemporary and classical music, performance, dance, visual art and spoken word. www.southbankcentre.co.uk


Mishcon de Reya

Mishcon de Reya is a law firm with offices in London and New York. Founded by Victor Mishcon in a one-room office in Brixton in 1937, we now employ more than 500 people, with over 300 lawyers offering a wide range of legal services to companies and individuals. In every area of the law that we operate, Mishcon de Reya prides itself in providing a best in class service to its clients. Specifically we offer the following legal services: corporate; dispute resolution; employment; family; private client; and real estate. An entrepreneurial spirit - where candour and involvement are key - characterises our ability to develop and execute the strategies required to achieve our clients’ goals in all these areas. We are an independent firm with an international footprint that extends far beyond our offices in London and New York. A large part of our business is advising on multi-jurisdictional transactions and disputes; established links with overseas practices help serve the needs of our increasingly international client base. Our clients are dynamic and sophisticated and we reflect that in our belief in challenging the conventional or accepted ways of working. We like to solve problems quickly. We fiercely guard our clients' interests, recognising the significant nexus between business affairs and personal affairs and the ways in which this affects our clients. We appreciate the privilege of sitting alongside our clients as a trusted advisor. Building strong personal connections to our clients and their businesses is important to us. It is for these reasons we say 'It's business. But it's personal'.


UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The UN Convention on the Rights – to which the UK is signatory – is an international treaty that sets out universally accepted Rights for Children. It sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children and is a benchmark against which a nation’s treatment of its children can be measured.