Contact and Southbank Centre join forces to present the second edition of WHY? What’s Happening for the Young festival, happening concurrently in both Manchester and London.
The free Manchester event, hosted by Contact, is taking place on Saturday 24 October and is the first time the festival has been held outside of London.
This free festival of talks, debates, performances and workshops is inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. WHY? festival tackles topics including young people’s right to education, culture, freedom of expression, the issue of sexual consent and the right to a safe childhood.
Festival attendees will meet policy makers, TV personalities, inspiring young people, social activists and academics to investigate the rights of young people today.
Panelists include Rachel Morris (Cosmopolitan), Julia Farrington (Belarus Free Theatre) and Ben Faulks (CBeebies’ Mr Bloom’s Nursery) and the event involves a number of Manchester based organisations including RECLAIM, Hideaway Youth and the Manchester Youth Council.
Events include:
20 Stories High present


An insight into the lives of Liverpool’s young people through a series of gritty, challenging and humorous, contemporary urban monologues.
How to say NO to Sex You Don’t Want to Have
by Dr Rachel Morris

A workshop exploring the reasons behind our feat of NO in ( and out) of sexual context, how to overcome it and how to recognise it in others and 
A Letter to the Prime Minister
Led by Nathan Crossan-Smith

Poetry workshop
Drop into this poetry workshop to contribute to our mass-participation letter to the Prime Minister.

What Makes A Good Childhood?

Panel event
Discussion including young people, academics, TV artists and front line care workers.

The Political Future of the Youth
Panel event

A panel of young political pioneers, MPs and charity professionals discuss the ways that young people engage with politics and how this can inform the future.

Suzie Henderson, Head of Creative Development at Contact said 
“This is a really important new event for Manchester. WHY? festival gives a platform to young people to discuss and highlight the big issues that face them with each other and those that have influence over their lives. We’re excited to welcome a broad panel of speakers, performers and audiences for what will be a really compelling event for all ages.”

The co-presentation of WHY? festival builds on the relationship between Contact and Southbank Centre following the success of Fuel’s critically acclaimed The Spalding Suite, co-commissioned by the two companies. 

WHY? festival is an initiative of Southbank Centre, London and is in partnership with Mishcon de Reya.
Tickets for WHY? festival on Saturday 24 October are free but need to be obtained in advance via Contact’s Box Office on 0161 274 0600 or online at


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