The Snake Project

How taking a risk shifted power between young people and public transport authorities

The project

When they were 16, Jane and her friends would ride the trains all night, aimless.

Most evenings it was the transit officers vs the kids. The kids wanted to see how far they could push. It was a game. The transit officers say they were just doing their jobs, but the young indigenous community felt they were unfairly targeted. Power imbalance defined the relationship, until they had an idea to change the game.

Jane and her friends wanted a way to put everyone on an even playing field and start some conversations between people who thought they wouldn’t possibly have anything in common.

Millenium Kids stepped in and taught Jayne and her friends how to safely handle snakes. The kids then used these new skills as a mediation tool between transit officers and young people.

The kids and the transit officers all participated in a series of snake handling courses where everyone was the same. Everyone was scared. And everyone had to work together.

The message was this. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Do it together.

Relationships have improved and understandings have been reached. It wasn’t conventional, but it worked.

Think outside the box. Share a weird experience. Find common ground.

  • Identity groups within your community where there might be tension (It could be students and teachers; police and young people; drivers and cyclists)
  • Think of a way to bring them together and get them out of their comfort zone
  • Think outside the box. Is there a local community organisation you can work with?
  • Need some funding to get this off the ground? Apply for Propeller funding.
Make it, fly Copy this project, or do your own thing.
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