Steven Sutherland, an Open University in Scotland student, stars in MTV’s new ‘Generation Change’ campaign. Steven, 27 from Kilbarchan near Glasgow, is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws Honours degree with the OU. An established disability rights campaigner and former member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Steven is determined to use his qualification to progress in his career.
'Generation Change: Ones To Watch’, is a co-branded docuseries with the OU and MTV. In each episode, host Henrie Kwushue meets the OU students that are not only changing their futures – but are busy tackling global issues related to the environment, equality and health. Steven was chosen for the campaign due to his work advocating for the rights and equality of people with disabilities.
Steven, who is visually impaired, had a stroke six months after being born and found his passion for supporting others while volunteering with charities such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
He’s since gone on to represent visually impaired people in Scottish Parliament. But to create lasting change, Steven realised that gaining a degree and a broader understanding of how policies affect people could open even more doors. That’s why he chose to study Law with the OU.
“Law was something that I was interested in doing because it goes hand in hand with politics and you can't really have one without the other,” said Steven.
“Having Law on my CV will give me an advantage in terms of being involved in politics. It will be good to have that legal knowledge so that I can hopefully put forward new ideas that may strengthen current or future policies that don’t benefit people who are disabled and don’t create equality.”
“Disability is something that can affect literally anyone, regardless of race, regardless of gender, regardless of anything else,” he said. “It’s about mitigating some of those unnecessary barriers and taking those away. The system can be very easy to fall through if you don't have that support.”
Now part-way through his degree, Steven is setting his ambitions high.
“I’m under no allusion that it’s going to take some time, but eventually I would like to try to become an MSP where I can advocate within Parliament. If I do get elected in the future, then I want to continuously make the public aware of issues that affect people with disabilities.
“I want to work my way through the ranks and hopefully get as high as I can. Who knows, maybe one day I could become First Minister of Scotland!”
"It's great to have been chosen to be involved in filming with MTV and being able to represent the OU. It was very unexpected and I am truly grateful.
“My hope is that it encourages more people to join the OU and cannot stress enough how much it can change a person's life. A huge thank you to the OU and MTV for selecting me to take part in this exciting project!"
Find out more about Steven by watching his film below, which will be shown over the next five weeks on MTV’s digital and online channels.