Steve McQueen Year 3 billboard at Finsbury Park station, London
and learning losses for children are feared – ones that affect the educational development of a generation. Who could have predicted that Year 3 would come to represent so much? The project has been very much in my mind during the times we are living in.
GY A few months ago Lewis Hamilton broke the record for the most Formula One Grand Prix wins. He is from my hometown of Stevenage. I later saw that Stevenage Borough Council had decided to step in and pay for free school meals during the half-term holiday. What struck me was that, as Lewis Hamilton was being celebrated, there are kids in his hometown who are going hungry. I was on free school meals. And how do you create a future? Well, you look for potential and you invest in it. So, there is a degree to which we, as a country, may be knee-capping our future…
When I reread our previous interview for the Guardian in November 2019, I was drawn to your final quote. You said, ‘This is the future, they have to make it work – they don’t really have a choice ’. I just wonder whether some people with influence don’t want to make it work?
SM One of the only reasons why I’m talking to you now is because there was an art teacher who gave me a chance. I applied for Chelsea School of Art but didn’t have the grades. At my interview, the head of the foundation course looked at my portfolio and was impressed. He said: ‘You can draw – that’s what we care about.’ He saw something in me and decided to let me in. The funny thing is, about 15 years later, he got in touch to ask me for a reference to go and teach in the United States. I reminded him of what had happened and, of course, I gave him a glowing reference.
GY The way that I have seen or experienced the Black Lives Matter period, is that there was this upsurge of awareness, and then there was this kind of pollination of confidence and militancy, and it landed in different places – in people’s places of work or unions or communities. Tracing the difference that it has made is difficult, but, in a range of ways, it has emboldened people. I know it’s in a different period of time, but maybe, like that guy who helped you, there are people around now that think, you know what, actually we need to do this, we need to
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