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looking at in the project is pissed off people in East London, with the creative community coming in and taking over and completely putting up barriers, barriers that shouldn’t exist.” Hemsley’s attitude is extraordinary. Despite being out of hospital less than a year and adjusting to life confined to a wheelchair, the 22-year-old possesses a sophisticated level of empathy that is totally humbling. But he rejects praise, modestly saying, “Anybody would do the same.” He simply feels that with all the publicity generated it’s his duty to channel it constructively. “When I was in hospital trying to comprehend what had gone on, I could just put it down to me being very privileged in comparison to some people, and them not having opportunities and not having support and that kind of thing,” shrugs Hemsley. As well as collaborating with CoutureLab in the future, hosting events like Broken Biscuits – a workshop with concept chef Caroline Hobkinson – and board meetings with local authorities to help represent the interests of young people in the area, Hemsley and Dawe have been working on a community project closer to their hearts. Slap bang in the middle of Shoreditch, literally a stone’s throw from where

Hemsley was attacked, the project, temporarily called ‘Our Space’, is simply a space for young people in the area to design, run and use as they please. Art Against Knives will fund the project but that’s it. They don’t want press attention and they don’t want credit. “We’ve just been exploring how to turn this into something that’s not about me,” asserts Hemsley, and the first workshop was a huge success. He explains: “Looking at photos of these chalk drawings done by the kids, they’re so cute, and it’s just amazing to see children doing creative things in the most creative part of London, which is kind of lost to the people who actually live there most of the time.” Both Dawe and Hemsley will return to Central St Martin’s in September to finish their degrees in the subject that motivates and inspires them the most: art. But they will continue to oversee Art Against Knives with a determination to help improve the future for young people in East London, a future that was so nearly stolen from Oliver Hemsley just two years ago. Looking at the pair laugh and finish each other’s sentences they seem like any other students; resilient, enthusiastic, without a care in the world Shelley Jones

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www.artagainstknives.com

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The Dream Factory  
The Dream Factory  

The Dream Factory

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