WHY? is Southbank Centre's biennial festival celebrating young people's voices and their right to influence social change. 

In 2017, Southbank Centre reinvigorated the festival programme to ensure that we address exactly what children and young people need and want. To fulfil this mission, we brought together a group of young artists, leaders, poets, musicians, performers and campaigners, who are creating work which promotes and impacts social change to be part of a week-long residential course at Southbank Centre in London during August 2017. 

WHY? Manchester took place in October 2017 at Contact.

Founded in 2014 by Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly, WHY? What’s Happening for the Young festival has welcomed thousands of children and young people to celebrate and explore their rights.

Inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and sponsored by family law firm Mishcon de Reya, WHY? has welcomed a plethora of artists and thinkers to inspire young people to engage in discussion and debates, workshops and performance focusing on their rights to arts and culture, play, education, care and freedom of expression and thought.  

Past festivals have included keynotes on What Makes a Good Childhood? from poet Lemn Sissay, authors Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo, and actress Meera Syal, as well as collaborations with leading children’s charities UNICEF, Barnados and The Children’s Society.

For 2017, we took the time to reflect and looked to the future, to ensure WHY? addressed exactly what children and young people need and want from a festival celebrating their voices and right to influence social change. In August 2017, we ran the WHY? Young Activists residential course and hosted the WHY? Summit.