Humour Over Hatred: New Anti-Sectarian Awareness Campaign Launched

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March 23rd 2017

The college team join Keara Murphy at the launch

Don’t be a Clown’ when it comes to bigotry: that’s the message from a new campaign aimed at tackling sectarianism in Scotland.

Students from City of Glasgow College have teamed up with Nil by Mouth to devise the campaign which aims to encourage people to think about their language and the line between ‘banter’ and ‘bigotry.’
The students Jane Scott, Mia Henderson, James Wan and Ilda Csonka scripted and produced a cartoon showing two men morphing into clowns as they continue to use sectarian language in a pub. Along with supporting artwork the animation will become part of Nil by Mouth’s nationwide ‘Beyond Religion & Belief’ workplace training programme which has been delivered to more than 10,000 staff across 95 workplaces since 2012 including councils, government departments and FTSE 100 companies. The charity uses these sessions to discuss the link between language and attitudes, highlighting the consequences of verbal abuse for user, victim and often employers.

The campaign was launched at a special event at the Blythswood Hotel with comedian Keara Murphy providing real laughs with a set focusing on how humour can be used to break down barriers between people.

Don’t be a Clown’ is the latest campaign to emerge from the charity’s ‘Pitch Perfect’ collaboration with the college which sees students compete to design a campaign aimed at raising awareness of sectarianism, with the winning entry being selected by a panel of prominent media figures and charity leaders.

Jane Scott hopes the campaign will encourage people to think about their attitudes

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘For most of the twentieth century many people were quick to dismiss sectarianism in Scotland as ‘banter’ and even in 2017 there are those who excuse their own behaviour and attitudes by hiding behind the idea that abusing others is somehow funny. Real humour is laughing with people, not at them and this campaign seeks to encourage people to reflect on the type of language they use.

We have always found that our most effective campaigns are those which harness the creativity and imagination of young people and the quality of the artwork and the clarity of the message produced by the students was exceptional. Their campaign isn’t about preaching or pointing fingers but highlighting the difference between humour and hatred. We will use it in workshops right across the country to stimulate debate and get people thinking.’

Jane Scott  one of the campaign creators, said
‘Scotland is rightly proud of its reputation for humour and banter but during the course of this project we became increasingly aware that too many people often cross the line between banter and bigotry. We wanted to get people thinking about their words and actions and give individuals a chance to look in the mirror and see how their behaviour doesn’t just impact on others but also on how they themselves are perceived. We are delighted that the campaign will now be rolled out across the country as part of Nil By Mouth’s workplace training programme.’