Inspirational changemakers to share experiences at Festival

Some of the country’s most inspirational young people will share their experiences of driving change in society at the University of Dundee’s Festival of the Future next week.

‘Making the Difference - Young changemakers’ takes place at Bonar Hall from 3pm on Friday 19 October and will see Chelsea Cameron, Alex Muir and Kirsty Stevens tell their stories about overcoming adversity, raising awareness and influencing changes to policy and perceptions. The event will be chaired by comedian and presenter Fred MacAulay, a Dundee graduate and former University Rector.

Festival Manager Anna Day said, “In Scotland’s Year of Young People, this event will give an insight into the lives and work of some of the most inspirational young people in Scotland. Chelsea, Alex and Kirsty have had very different life experiences but what they have in common is a determination to make life better for others.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to hear from young people who are making a real difference in their communities. Rather than impassively accepting the perceived wisdom and the decisions made by an older generation, they are helping to drive change and create the type of society that young people want for their futures.”

Chelsea Cameron won both the Young Scot Award and Young Scot Hero prize last year. The teenager captured the hearts of the nation when a breathtakingly honest open letter to her drug-addicted parents went viral. Chelsea explained the impact their drug abuse and criminality had on her and, by showing how other people’s choices do not determine your destiny, she hopes to continue to inspire the young people of Scotland to achieve their potential in spite of the negative experiences they face.

Alex Muir is a University graduate currently studying Fitness Health and Exercise at Dundee and Angus College. He is an LGBT+ activist, focusing on barriers to health care and sports for transgender people. At the Festival event, he will highlight his own journey and his work within the University to try to raise awareness of the issues faced by Trans students in order to encourage more people to participate in sport.

From debilitating illness to empowering design business Kirsty Stevens, V&A Dundee’s first Design Champion, has refused to let multiple sclerosis stop her from achieving her goals. Under the Charcot brand, Kirsty creates beautiful designs using MRI scans showing lesions on her brain as source material in order to raise awareness of MS. She will talk about her experiences, work and determination to put a positive spin on her diagnosis at the Festival.

Festival of the Future takes place from October 17-21 and will celebrate how collaboration across the scientific and creative spheres is helping to address the biggest issues of our times, from the local to the global level.

Each features workshops aimed at children, young people and adults, debates with academics and external speakers and high-profile events featuring prestigious figures from the worlds of science and culture. Dance, theatre, music and comedy performances will also take place and a series of ‘supper clubs’ will bring members of the public into areas of the University usually behind closed doors.