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Lost and Found Exhibition: Young People In Care Tell Their Stories

'Lost and Found' Postcard, by Trevin

‘Lost and Found’ Postcard, by Trevin

Young people in care staged a creative intervention inside the Watershed to explore things they have lost and found. 

What do Harry Potter, Superman, Cinderella, Batman, Lyra Belacqua, Jane Eyre, Matilda, Luke Skywalker, Oliver Twist have in common? All of them were fostered, adopted, or orphaned. This is how poet Lemn Sissay opens his Ted Talk on being a child of the state. ‘It seems,’ he says. ‘That writers know that the child outside of family reflects on what family is more than what it promotes itself to be.’

Yet it’s important that, like Lemn Sissay is doing in adulthood, young people in care have a platform to write their own stories about their own experiences. From 28th October, young people in care are taking over the Watershed for a two week creative intervention.

Preparing 'The Knowledge Tree' at the Lost and Found Exhibition

Preparing ‘The Knowledge Tree’ at the Lost and Found Exhibition

Calling themselves the Lost and Found collective, they explained, ‘We want to tell you the truth of what it is like to be looked after, through lost and found objects, collage and a paper-blossomed tree’. By displaying both fictional tales of objects lost and found, and making postcards for things they have lost and found themselves, the Lost and Found Collective aimed to combat some of the misconceptions others have about young people in care.



‘It’s about having someone who loves and respects you for who you are.’ – Trevin

Trevin's 'Lost and Found' Card

Trevin’s ‘Lost and Found’ Card


Cheyenne's 'Lost' Postcard

Cheyenne’s ‘Lost’ Postcard


‘I’m normal just like you.’ – Cheyenne

Cheyenne's 'Found' Postcard

Cheyenne’s ‘Found’ Postcard


"I do have a mom. I just don't live with her." - Shaquana

‘I do have a mom. I just don’t live with her.’ – Shiquanna

Shiquanna and Cheyenne wrote an intense trilogy. After a lost bunny called Princess is retrieved by an old couple who dwell in a dumpster, the story behind Princess’ disappearance turns into a winding journey of a young girl’s attempt to escape from a Nazi concentration camp with a shocking twist at the end.



‘Not all hate foster care, some think it’s a new start!’ – Suzie

In her story, Suzie wrote about Mittens, the nickname her character Claire has because she’s never seen without her favourite mittens. So when the mittens get lost, it’s imperative that she gets them back.

Suzie's Postcard

Suzie’s postcard



‘I’m not an alien! I’m just like you!’ – Kiki

Kiki’s keen bird collecter finds a feather, and goes on a journey to an island to find a yellow breasted paddle bird and a blue breasted blubber bird.

Kiki's story art

Kiki’s story art



‘Fostered and adopted are not the same.’ – Macy

Macy’s tale features a utopian future where pigeons are now rare birds on the brink of extinction because our generation over fed them with pasties. Their feathers are incredibly rare.

Macy's story art

Macy’s story art


Gary's 'Lost and Found' Postcard

Gary’s ‘Lost and Found’ Postcard

"My carers helped me find a job." - Gary

‘My carers helped me find a job.’ – Gary


"Sometimes, there is a happy ending." - Simone

‘Sometimes, there is a happy ending.’ – Simone

Simone's 'Lost and Found' Postcard

Simone’s ‘Lost and Found’ Postcard

In their story, Simone and Trevin wrote about a young woman who loses her nail kit that is then found by a strange, fragile old man. What starts as a simple tale to retrieve it becomes a paranormal horror with strange flying objects and only one, deadly outcome.

Simone and Trevin's story art

Simone and Trevin’s story art


"I now have a voice!" - Mandy

‘I now have a voice!’ – Mandy

As Lemn Sissay says, ‘The fostered, adopted or orphaned child in our midst: it’s not our pity that they need, it’s our respect.’

To read the fiction stories in full, find the lost items, and see what knowledge The Knowledge Tree holds, visit the ‘Lost and Found’ exhibition. You can even share what you’ve lost and found yourself.

The Lost And Found collective is a group of young looked after children. The project was run by award-winning YA author CJ Flood, Rife content creator Leo Jay Shire and in partnership with the organisation Reconstruct

The exhibition will be running from Wednesday 28th October for two weeks in the Watershed Cafe/Bar.

What have you lost and found as a result of growing up? Tweet us @rifemag