The team have also recently launched Dystopia Now!, a spin-off project of Utopia Now! funded by the Maudsley Charity, which aims to improve life for young people in Lambeth and Southwark during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dystopia Now includes three online activities for young people to get involved in that aim to shape research, policy, and practice in the local area. Activities include This is the Year, a poetry and spoken word workshop and competition that invited young writers (ages 11-16) to write or record a poetry or spoken word piece exploring their life during the pandemic. The young writers were also invited to join an online workshop with local published poet Belinda Zhawi at Theatre Peckham to develop their entries.
Aspiring town planners, architects, and Minecraft enthusiasts (aged 6-16) were invited to take part in a Dream Lockdown Minecraft Workshop to build their ideal lockdown neighbourhood in Minecraft. While budding filmmakers (aged 16-19) could take part in the Life in a Day of Corona film challenge, supported by an online resource page to help them get started with creating their 1-minute submissions. Selected films created as part of this activity will be woven together to tell the story of a single day in Southwark and Lambeth during these unusual times.
The work from all three activities will be published online later in the year on the Dystopia Now! Time Capsule. The time capsule will also be shared with local policy makers and the Maudsley charity, which is linked to the local NHS mental health Trust. All participating young people will receive a certificate from King's College London to thank them for their contributions.