Many people ask me, ‘what is it like to be sixteen Andrew?’ My response is, ‘ask yourself you were sixteen once.’ I can finally work and the money that comes from my work is actually mine. Its actually mine. I don’t have to ask my mum if I can have £10 to go shopping, all I need to do now is go to the bank and get some money of my own. But its not just about the money, it’s about the step closer to be a responsible adult. I finally got my national insurance number a few weeks ago which means I have the extra responsibilities such as applying for a driver’s licence or applying to vote. I would absolutely say I am shocked how quickly I am growing up, but I am definitely excited to get into the big wild world.

Growing up in the UK of someone of who is British but has some Spanish and Maltese descent I do get some comments from people asking if I am from Romania and I laugh and I am actually proud to say actually know I have some Spanish and Maltese blood in me, it makes me feel unique that I have something to tell people.

I think being sixteen is hard.  I’m not old enough to make political decisions but I’m not young enough to let it blow over my head.  It feels like there’s a deadline for life…there’s a lot to choose….a-levels, careers er. 

There are some good things too! 

Thinking about the future, I have so many different options, it’s hard to pick just one. I know I want travel to be a big part of my future. 

Living in another culture has taught me that there are people really struggling. It’s shown me that there’s not one perfect little bubble; I’ve learnt to look outside of that bubble.  I think I’m quite grateful and appreciative of what I have.  

It’s so different there, there’s a positive vibe there, there may not always be a richness in wealth but there is a richness in love and hospitality. I think my heart belongs to the world not just England. 

Having lived in Uganda for 5 years and then coming back to England it’s a whole different experience. 

I had such a creative and outdoorsy upbringing which has shaped me to this day which I wouldn’t have experienced if I was in the UK.

I felt homesick coming back,  because this isn’t truly my home. I reckon I’ll never be in one place when I grow up. 

I’m always going to be in a different part of the world and I have my childhood to thank for that. 

For me, 16 is that awkward in between age when your’e expected and able to make huge life decisions, like what job you want, what A levels and steps you’re going to take to get that job, and you can even ger=t married or join the army, but you’re still too young to do things like vote. People expect you to be both an adult and a child at the same time.

16 is also the time when you gain a social consciouness. As a black woman I know that it may be harder for me to do things than it would be for some of my white peers. I am also aware that colourist is prominent in today’s society so some things may be easier for me than someone with darker skin. 16 is the age I realised that I with the prove;de I have, have to fight for those who aren’t ads privileged as me.

Hey my name is Daniella Nero. I am 16 years old. I am mixed race with Spanish and Trinidadian. I also live in South East London (within the Bromley borough).

As a 16 year old in London I am grateful fortunate and privileged in many ways compare to other countries/places brackets (cities). Although I feel like__ there isnt much for the youth to do, which is personally why I feel is the reason why London, especially south, is so prominent with violence. The knife crime in London has become a huge issue and has had a huge impact on young people, family and friends. Living as a young person in London I know many people around me involved in gangs, and it’s scary how unfortunate that people you know get involved and could possibly die. I already have a friend who died being involved.

Being young in London can also be extremely stressful. I believe that we are pushed to grow up so quickly in terms of education choices, lifestyle and planning your whole life at just 16!

Being from 2 foreign countries and being very in touch with them in London is very vital to me. My nationality is Spanish and I’d like to keep it that way. I go to Spain often and all my family live there, so to me it’s my identity I would never want to lose because then I’ll lose myself.

I also love being half black and the culture that comes with it. I’m proud of who I am!

Turning 16 is the scariest and most exciting thing ever.

Exciting because I can start working properly and just the general factor of being 16. Scary because I’ve been pushed to do well in GCSEs, and decide on my future, but I’m still so uncertain and with us being the future generation it is a lot of pressure.

n.b.(am going to request some more text from Darcy)

My name is Tahlia Leo-Kelly and I live in southeast London. My favourite things to do are art and baking (on the rare occasion that I have the chance to do so). My family is of Guyanese and Jamaican descent. Although I have never been to either of these places, I would very much like to in the future. I love living in London as I feel that it is a much more diverse, interesting place to live, in comparison to the countryside, and as a black girl in today’s society, London gives a much better sense of belonging.

In the future, I would like to be a lawyer in order to stand up for the people who need support. I understand that this could be hard as a young black woman in today’s society, as I lack the same privileges as someone who is white perhaps, however, I will fight to the best of my abilities to get the job I would like.

I think that life at 16 can be rather unfair, as you’re expected to be both an adult and a child at the same time. There’s a constant battle between being expected to stand up for what you believe is right and not being listened to by anyone, as you are ‘too young’.

Living in  London I feel  very blessed to be able to embrace my cultural background, both my of my parents are Nigerian. Being born and bred in London south east, I have always felt integrated.  However, as a 16 yr old in London, I do not always feel safe on the road as crime and violence among teenagers  on the streets is on the rise. I try not to feel vulnerable but it makes my parents overprotective. Although living in London has its problems I’m still very proud to tell people that I’m from south east because it’s still my home and has made me the teen I am today.

My background is mixed, but i mostly identify with Black British, but I’m fully aware of my roots, where I and my family come from and my ancestral sacrifices. Society will always see me as black.

Being a black boy in London in 2018/19 can be kind of frustrating as everyone thinks the worst of you. I feel judged daily, by everybody,  young and old alike. I’m expected to be a stereotype,  but I’m not and to be honest most of us aren’t. Basically some of us reform to what’s expected and others try to fight it. That’s the only two options we have. Society already places us in a box, before we’ve even said our first word. Sometimes I’m at school and I find myself wondering if I’ll make it home to my family because it’s a tough world out there.

You don’t have to be in gang activity to end up being a gang statistic.Sometimes its hard to understand where you stand as a child or young adult and that’s before you even take race into account.

There are so many distractions in life.  Your end goals can get fogged by all the distractions and destruction. I feel that I  will never get to test the waters, like my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles have. You have so many dreams, but you are told by a linear education system that u cant fulfill the dreams you have. You often think that it’s pointless, in the end you think to yourself, why am I still trying.

I feel like our generation are not being taught properly.

A lot of the information our elders were taught are not things that we are taught and so I feel like us millenials are being boxed in… only allowed to know just enough. Just like Brexit – the whole country is talking daily about Brexit and making all these decisions and yet, those who it will affect the most – we were not asked anything – no explanation – no communication – nothing.

I feel like we haven’t been included in decisions about our own future.

I like staying home, physical activities, sports, playing my guitar and playing games.

I would like to do some kind of engineering, product design  or game design.

My aim is to create and maybe rule my own destiny. I don’t know if I’m allowed to. But that’s my main wish.

Being a 16 year old in 2018

Hey my name is Tyesha Clark and I’m 16 years old. I live in South East London, but most of my family is Jamaican.

I love the fact that I’m Jamaican, it is a major part in my life and I would never want to change it. My granddad is fully Jamaican but my Nan doesn’t fully know her if ethnicity. I would like to find out fully where the other side of my family are from.

Family is also a major part of my life, they mean the world to me. Living in London in this day has both positive and negative aspects. Positively I am able to do and have opportunities that may not have been available 10 years ago. I am out more fortunate than some people in different cities and countries, I’m grateful for that however there are negatives.

For example the rise in knife crime and gang violence has gotten out of hand and needs to be stopped. Sometimes you can’t walk the streets after a certain time because it is not safe. Knowing people in gangs and people who have had their lives lost to knife crime is devastating and shouldn’t happen.

At 16 in some eyes you are seen as an adult but in others you are not. In the eyes of the law you’re not an adult but they force you to make decisions as an adult.

I’m currently in six form studying maths, further maths, biology and chemistry in the hope I’ll be able to do a veterinary medicine at Cambridge University. This has been my dream for a long time but for others they are rushed to choose ‘A’ level courses that will be a path for the rest of their lives.

“My name is Jay. I live in Rougham, Norfolk with my parents and my older sister. I go to a school called the College of West Anglia. I am currently studying a level 3 media b-tech. After school I would like to study media, physics or engineering at university. I would I would like to work in media production.

I was born in England but my grandmother is from Holland.

My main interests are physics and writing stories. I love playing video games and making music on the drums and radio. The team I support a Norwich City football club.

In the future I would like to be an astrophysicist, engineer or filmmaker.

When I look at politics at the moment I think it’s confusing and changes to quickly.

My thoughts about Brexit are that it is been drawn out too long and needs to be just over with already. My main worry is for the future and that the older generations have already irreversibly ruin the climate and economy so we can’t fix it. My hopes for the future and that we can fix the climate and economy, achieve peace and equality and overall have a better life than the one we do now.

My personal goals and dreams are to work for NASA as an astrophysicist or become a famous director.”

As a sixteen-year-old living in Chelmsford, Essex, I feel privileged to be in the
position I am in. It enables me to have an amazing opportunity in life to do
whatever I want to do.

I go to King Edward VI Grammar School where I am currently studying
English, History, Geography and PE at A-Level. Being at one of the best
schools in the country is fantastic and something that I don’t take for granted,
but I feel the pressure put on us at what is still a young age and the
expectation placed upon sixteen-year-olds is unnecessarily high.

My grandfather migrated from Ireland when he was still young. He came over
to England to give himself a better chance in life and I feel this is still very
prominent today with many young, economically active people seeking the
best possible chance in succeeding. Therefore, I want to make sure that I
make the most of my opportunity that many don’t have.

I spend most of my free time playing football and cricket. I enjoy playing sport
as it relieves stress from a busy week at school and gives me time to meet my
friends and have fun.

Hi, my name is Sophie Warner. I live in long Sutton, Lincolnshire with my mum, dad and my Nan.

I go to a school called The College Of West Anglia and I am currently studying photography level 3. After school I would like to study photography at university and I would like to work as a photographer and travel the world.

I was born in England, but my nans’ cousin is from Italy.

My main interests are photography and acting and in the future I would like to be successful in both the photography and acting industry.

I am not particularly bothered by politics although my view is why change things that aren’t already broken?

My personal goals and dreams are to be in a west end show and to have my own photography business or to have a successful career in photography.

My name is Marcus Raudnitz. My mother’s maternal family are originally Iraqi Jews, however they settled in Calcutta. After Indian independence, they migrated to England. My dad’s family were Czechoslovakian. Sadly many of them were killed in the Holocaust. With only my grandad’s immediate family surviving, they moved to Manchester.

Recently I came across an image of Kurt Raudnitz, potentially a family member.

I wrote this in reaction to seeing his image…

My right knee quivers nervously. My hanging jaw sucks in one long deep breath and I hold it for a while, very aware of my own life. I feel the position of my back, the blood in my fingers and every one of the evaporating tears on my crusting face. Every hair on my head, every tension in my swirling stomach, every swelling pressured infection under my teenage skin and every reddening spot that consequently erupts out in a mask of grease. Every corrupt, innocent, greedy, selfless thing I’ve ever thought. Every single wave of septic spit that my mouth swallows and replaces in a continuous cycle.

What is life, when what you leave behind is death?

And then I breath out again…peace.

I feel numb.

The cavernous solitude of my echoing thoughts resonates through every hollow casm inside. I’m not afraid of dying. What is death, when you leave behind an ever blossoming family? What is death, when what you leave behind is life?

So for now I am to enjoy life.

I am to enjoy the pressured bends of my fingers into a guitar string.

I am to enjoy the oceanic waves of music, fulfilling my ears’ every need.

I am to enjoy the smell of dog hair as it softly glides through every untouched part of my hand.

I am to enjoy the fixated gaze into my girlfriend’s beautiful eyes and to enjoy the wonder of holding her in my arms.

I enjoy life.

Roy Mehta

Roy’s versatility and finely crafted use of light and depth of field are the hallmarks of his work. This extends across a broad range of genres from portraiture to food, still life, and nature. Whether photographing people or objects he works intuitively combining composition and details to create acutely observed, quiet images that hint at wider concerns. Alongside his commercial practice for high profile companies he engages in longterm personal projects, particularly on ethnic diversity and he is currently working on a series of portraits in Mumbai, India, focusing on a younger generation, to open up ideas about cross cultural fluidity.

Roy collaborated with young people from London, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire for SIXTEEN, inviting those who have a connection with a country outside the UK, whether through a parent or grandparent or who have lived outside this country for a while, allowing them to reflect on changes within the UK. He invited them each to chose an outside location to make his intense, beautiful portraits.