A look inside the new anti-knife crime exhibition in Barking & Dagenham

We explore the amazing new anti-knife crime exhibition inspired by Jodie Chesney and Ben Kinsella, two teens that tragically lost their lives to knife crime

Exhibition in Barking and Dagenham

Room 1 is the exhibition’s ‘Introduction to Choices and Consequences’ room; it contains an interactive cartoon that plays out the story of a young person who is bullied, who then chooses to go to a party where he knows the bully will be in attendance too. As they are fearful, they decide to take a knife, which they believe will protect them. The workshop then takes attendees through three different scenarios, all of which do not have the desired outcome.

What the room and cartoon emphasise is that a series of choices led to these undesirable outcomes. There is always a choice: a choice to carry the knife, a choice to tell someone, a choice to attend the party, a choice to drink at the party, a choice about who your friends are, and so on. Good choices are what keep you safe


In Room 2, Ben Kinsella’s life is introduced. The room contains a collage of photos from Ben’s life: from family holidays, to his DJing, to birthday parties. ‘Ben’s room’ demonstrates that Ben was just like any other young person before he died: he supported Arsenal, he had a dog he loved, ‘Teddy’, and he had aspirations to become a graphic designer.

The ‘Cinema Room’, Room 3, is the first point at which the Exhibition introduces Ben’s death. The film shown is a difficult and emotive watch, but it is not intended to upset. The footage gives attendees a glimpse into the aftermath of losing someone to knife-crime. There are normally lots of questions (such as how did Ben survive for around 5 hours after the event?), and the workshop aims to answer those questions.

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