The efforts of a Cumbernauld student to encourage people to stand up and be counted in the battle against bigotry has been recognised by a leading national charity.
City of Glasgow College student Scott Canevy, teamed up with anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth to create the ‘Sing Something Else’ campaign which has been running across the 2017/18 football season with the aim of encouraging fans to stop chanting sectarian songs and slogans both on and off the terraces.
‘Sing Something Else’ was the winning entry in the charity’s ‘Pitch Perfect’ competition which sees students compete to devise a campaign aimed at raising awareness of sectarianism.
This year’s winning entry was selected by a panel chaired by internationally-acclaimed Lanarkshire comic book writer and filmmaker Mark Millar.
Scott, who attended Greenfaulds High, wanted to highlight the real impact sectarian behaviour has on lives and remind people that they can support their team or express their culture without deliberately provoking others.
He scripted and produced three hard-hitting short films which highlighted the physical, emotional and legal consequences of sectarian behaviour on individuals and wider society and created a special ‘Sing Something Else’ song contest which Nil by Mouth took into schools across Scotland.
The winning entry, from pupils in two high schools in Gourock, will be performed in the Scottish Parliament next month for an audience including the Minister for Community Safety Annabelle Ewing MSP.
Scott’s campaign has also been featured across a range of media platforms including BBC Radio Scotland show ‘Off the Ball’ show where hosts Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove asked listeners to come up with their suggestions for a song to unite football fans.
Scott said: “I was really eager to create something impactful for this campaign. Not only because it was my first time pitching an advertising campaign but because I believed I could come up with something a bit different.
“We see a lot of campaigns against sectarianism which focus on violence and football, I wanted to show how sectarianism affects everyday life and how it affects other people.
“Scotland is full of people who are passionate - passionate about sport, passionate about their culture and heritage – that never needs to change.
“But bigotry and hate should have no place in society, the challenge is to simply sing something else. I’m really grateful for being given the opportunity to share my ideas on a public platform.”
Nil by Mouth was set up by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson in response to the brutal sectarian murder of her school friend Mark Scott in 1995 as he made his way home from a football match in the city – targeted simply because of the colour of his scarf.
Since then it has campaigned against bigotry in schools, colleges, workplaces and communities across Scotland working with tens of thousands of people.
Nil by Mouth campaign director Dave Scott said: “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 films and the clarity of the message produced by Scott was exceptional.
“Mark Millar is someone who works at the very highest levels in Hollywood and he was raving about the quality of Scott’s presentation afterwards.
“We have greatly enjoyed working with him and have no doubt he will go on to do big things in the future.”