Changing everyday discrimination

481. Paula Akpan
482. Harriet Evans

Two recent university graduates from Nottingham started a photography project to highlight the impact of everyday discrimination.

Artists Paula Akpan and Harriet Evans founded The I’m Tired Project to start a debate around the lasting impacts of everyday microaggressions, assumptions and stereotypes.The award was presented by the British Deputy Consul General in New York at the WORD arts exhibition where the photography project is being featured.

The project uses Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram to share photos of what participants are most tired of, which is displayed across their backs. Inspired by projects like the Humans of New York and Free The Nipple, the young women hope to create a campaign for social change. The two women wanted to create a positive space for people to share their personal stories and to initiate a social debate around daily prejudices faced by normal people.The project has attracted huge support, spanning 45 countries. Already, it has succeeded in reaching over 2 million people, with each photo reaching an average 23,000 people.

Inspired by projects like the Humans of New York and Free The Nipple, the young women hope to create a campaign for social change. Paula and Harriet hope the I’m Tired project will provide a positive space for people to share their personal stories and to initiate a social debate around daily prejudices faced by normal people.

Expanding to an international arena, Paula and Harriet are showcasing their project in New York’s Hudson Valley Centre for Contemporary Art, starting on 27th February. As part of the project, the women will invite the New York public to participate in a photo shoot, which will then be produced and hung in the museum’s mezzanine gallery as part of the WORD exhibition. The I’m Tired Project will also go into local schools in New York, where Paula will conduct workshops on anti-bullying and discrimination.

Paula and Harriet also have ambitious plans for expanding the programme in the UK. The young women plan to bring the campaign to schools and Universities across the UK as a form of an anti-bullying campaign, as well as exhibiting in London, Nottingham and Brighton. They have also collaborated with the Cambridge University’s LGBT society to highlight issues for the transgender community, as well as Oxford’s Skin Deep campaign.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Paula and Harriet have created an online space for millions of people to debate issues around intolerance and prejudice. The I’m Tired Project has given people around the world a creative and visual way to raise awareness of the everyday discriminations they face in order to challenge them and change the society we live in. I am delighted to recognise the impact of their project by recognising Paula and Harriet as UK Points of Light.”

Paula and Harriet said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be given the Points of Light award. It is extremely humbling to have our efforts recognised by the British government and it gives us even more motivation to continue our efforts to shed light on the discrimination that continues to happen in our society, and helping as many people as possible along the way.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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