MEET THE NEW GENERATION OF PIONEERS OPENING UP THE OUTDOORS
Outsiders, a three part short form social doc by Pi Studios that explores diversity, access and inclusion in the outdoors, launching this week on the BBC.
Outsiders is a three-part BBC short-form social series following a trio of UK trailblazers in the outdoors space. The three, all people of colour, are actively sparking change in the Great British countryside through their shared goal of making the outdoors a more open, inclusive and safe environment for a new generation of explorers.
We start with Amira, who was inspired to create The Wanderlust Women, a hiking group for Muslim women of colour, while working at a beauty salon in Bolton. As a veiled Muslim woman, she found zero representation of people like herself within the world of hiking. Discussing the issue within her community, many people reported feeling excluded from hiking, unsure how to access trails and unconvinced they’d be welcome if they did. 18 months and 4,000 members later, Amira has quit her job and is training to be an outdoor leader in the Lake District, working hard to open up hiking to UK women of all cultures and backgrounds.
When Temi, our second explorer, decided to cycle from London to Lagos, he didn’t spot a single other Black cyclist during his training rides around the South East of England. Determined to see change, he created the Black Riders Association, aiming to show people of colour that cycling is a sport available to them and a wonderful opportunity to explore rural, open spaces. Understanding that cost is a hugely prohibitive factor for many potential cyclists, Temi now helps children and adults get their first bike through partnerships and initiatives, as well as co-running the annual Black Unity Bike Ride, a carnival-like ride across London every August.
Omie, our third explorer, was introduced to wild swimming at a young age by her Irish father, spending her childhood swimming in rivers, lakes and reservoirs. But, after becoming aware that her Gambian mother couldn’t swim, she soon realised that virtually all of her non-white friends weren’t being taught to swim either. Now, working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, she runs numerous outdoor swim clubs to encourage both adults and children of colour to help debunk the damaging and untrue myth that ‘black people can’t swim’.
Each episode follows our lead explorers as they take people of colour on their first adventures either hiking, cycling or swimming. The resultant discussions on the challenges faced by many people of colour trying to access outdoor sports, and the benefits they experience once they do, are moving, important and confronting.
The series was developed and produced by Pi Studios, which has a proud history of making documentary films that highlight underrepresented voices. Outsiders was inspired by the 2020 We Are Pi cultural research paper, ‘New Society Rules’, which featured an interview with UK outdoor sports legend Phil Young and reported on ways in which the UK and European outdoors scene is being enjoyed by historical underrepresented communities.
Outsiders is much more than a doc series. It is part of a bigger conversation about opening up the outdoors that we’ve been having with community and industry leaders across the UK and Europe since we published our ‘New Society Rules’ research last year. We hope this series encourages more people to enjoy the great British countryside and expands the dialogue about access and inclusion for all.
The series was directed by Adu Lalouschek, himself an avid outdoor explorer whose eye for storytelling has taken him to rural parts around the world. Born in Austria with Ghanaian heritage, Adu has also felt displacement during his outdoor adventures, making him acutely aware that these pursuits are not always as accessible for people of colour.
Access to the outdoors opens up a whole other world of opportunities that should be freely available for anyone. Outside belongs to everyone, after all.
Every single person involved in the production has been drawn to the subject matter, and has collaborated with Pi Studios because they believe these stories are ones which should be told. Working on an incredibly small budget the series was shot on an Alexa Mini, Super 8, Go Pros and multiple drones across UK-wide locations ranging from Blencathra in the Lake District to Divers Cove in Surrey.
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About WE ARE Pi
We Are Pi is an award winning Creative Innovation Consultancy that partners with clients to build brands worthy of thriving in changing times by initiating transformation programs. We Are Pi Client partners include Amazon, Nike, IDFA, Heineken, Intersport, Pepsico and Patagonia. We Are Pi was named Small Agency of the Year 2018, 2019 and 2020 by Creative Pool and Ad Age.
We Are Pi cultural research platform, New Society Rules, helps brands navigate cultural change. We Are Pi content arm, Pi Studios, produces ground breaking stories about cultural change. We Are Pi is proud sponsor of Black Strat, Plus Plus One and Creative Jam Session.