Monday, 30 August 2010


On the second day of SHAKE! we asked the participants to bring to the session something they considered to be a piece art that had Activist connotations. Hannah Brought in the The "Resistance", part of the The Declaration Trilogy by Gemma Malley. Set in the future in a time when human being has found the  means to live forever! However, they had not considered the consequences of this, socially, politically or psychologically. We asked Hannah to right a review.
So in Hanna's own words...


A guilt trip when you think about it. Our generation quests for eternal life, and we dare not think of the consequences. This book braves this taboo territory and explores the year 2140. The world is, literally, failing to support the immense population. There's little fuel, little food and little countryside. There is also very little crime, very few terrorist threats (unless you count those performed by the 'Underground' and groups vying for cheaper 'Longevity' drugs). What of families? Well, any parents who decided not to take Longevity are... dead. When you take Longevity, you forfeit the right to have children. Any children you may bear may be found and will be forced into either: slave labour or 'consensual' labour', raised to hate you and themselves.
The protagonist is Anna, a stubborn girl who is determined to 'Earn Her Place'. Life is looking up for her: she doesn't know her parents, she's a Prefect, her Work is usually Excellent or Perfect, and she's nearly sixteen which means that she will be a Valuable Asset and will soon be working in a House on the Outside.
Then along comes Peter, a boy who doesn't Know His Place. His mischievousness, cheekiness and Outside Knowledge drive Anna to think differently about her Place and whether or not her parents do actually love her.

It's quite an interesting read, and it challenges you to think about the consequences of our actions now. There's very little mention of race, although it can be assumed that everyone is white because the adult characters appear to be far more nationalistic than we are 'today'. Power is quite obvious- the adults have it all. One man, in particular, has a lot of it: Richard Pincent.
Stars out of five? Four.


The second book of the Declaration trilogy. It's a slow burner, and quite predictable. The protagonist has switched to Peter so that you find out more about him because, in the first book, he was this mysterious character with an aura of wonder. In this book, you just want to cuddle him. He's harder, but he's easily led. We're also introduced to Jude- Peter's half-brother. I like Jude. He doesn't take crap from anyone and is his own man. He's cool like that. We also get to know Richard Pincent, the man with all the power. He owns the company- Pincent Pharma- which produces Longevity drugs. Nice one, Richie! Or so it would seem, because he is really the most 'Selfish' character. He leads Peter to believe everything he says, nearly forces Anna to sign her Declaration, and locks away Jude :'( The Underground are far more active, which is a good sign because Pip was also one of my favourite characters. He reminded me of one of my teachers- if any of you know Mr. Bolton, you'll probably like Pip as well- and I don't know what that says about me, but whatever.

Predictable, gets you where you're going and has a beautiful climax. Almost like going on a business trip to a beautiful island.
Stars out of five? Three and a half.

The Legacy:

The final installment of the Declaration trilogy. Set one year on from The Resistance, the world is rapidly running low on energy, food and water with ridiculous rationing schemes having to be enforced. To make matters worse: a deadly virus is sweeping the country. Richard Pincent, the head of Pincent Pharma we met in The Declaration and got to know in The Resistance, knows this but withholds the information, blaming the Underground for the mounting bodies. Peter- in Scotland with Anna, their daughter Molly and Anna's brother Ben- travels to London after receiving a message that he is needed only to discover that Pip, the lovable leader of the Underground, has turned himself in. In a race against time (and a few grammatical errors along the way, which were annoying and distracting from the story) Peter, Jude, Anna, and newly-free Sheila  fight to save the children from riots and attacks on their lives, and make a startling discovery that draws the perfect end to the trilogy.
Stars out of five? Four and a half.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

THE BOY WHO CRIED JUSTICE - A poem by Tanya Parthipan

 I was inspired to write a poem about Stephen Lawrence through Shake explaining in detail the prejudice and injustice in his death. What touched me most is how the Centre dedicated themselves in respecting and protecting his memory, showing that Stephen Lawrence did not die in vain. He created a centre that helps many people. For me that is true dedication. - Tanya Parthipan


Ana and Kavi
This week has taught me so many new skills. I have learned film-making techniques, how to tell a story on screen, and make it effective for the viewer. I loved that we were capturing  moments of inspiration, passion, and emotion from people that cared about life and the world we live in. This experience has made me realise that I can become a filmmaker and raise awareness about injustice and positive people in my local area. Shout out to all the shakers that helped us make a wicked film! 
Lets Shake this world to become a better place Winking smile Peace


Hi all!

I have great news for anyone who's doing the IB Diploma (I know a couple of you are, but I can't remember who)! SHAKE! counts as CAS! You can claim 60 hours for it if you attended for the whole 5 days and can prove what you've done and which group you were a part of.

You get 30 hours for Creativity and 30 for Action, which means nearly HALF of the requisite 150 wiped out in one week!


Friday, 27 August 2010

HEY STEVIE - A tribute poem for Stephen Lawrence by Rotimi Skyers

Reviewed by Zena 
A hard hitting poem by a young man who had never written poetry before but found his voice in less than a week!! Another piece that successfully communicates the waste of life to race hate as Rotimi almost puts himself in the place of Stephen. He shows respect to UK Hip Hop Artist Sway too, for his contribution of positivity to inspire the black youth, young boys just like Stephen.
Click here to listen to some of Sway's music.
Click Podomatic mediaplayer to hear the  poem read by Rotimi. 

INJUSTICE - A poem written my K.K Johnson

Stephen-Lawrence died before his time.
His death brought about the creation of this centre.
A charitable trust created in remembrance of him.
He was an architect in training.
And a brave and intelligent person. - K.K Johnson

Review by Zena -  K.K writes with an uncomplicated style that penetrates and provokes thought. Her poetry resonates on many levels.

 Click and Listen


What could possibly happen to you whilst waiting for a bus?
Should you expect the worst?
Fear of murder because of the color of your skin…
Fear that that day would be your last day?
What could possibly happen to you whilst waiting for a bus?

Should you run when you see people coming?
Should you have a ‘gut feeling’ that something is wrong?
Is there a voice in your head that tells you something isn’t right?
Innocent, young and bright…
What could possibly happen to you whilst waiting for a bus?

Would five other youths murder you?
Would these youths get away with this murder?
Would the police sit back and fail to take the right action?
Would your name be disrespected and disregarded in this way?
Is this the outcome of waiting for a bus


Kavi,  Thank you for this eloquent and insightful piece of your mind, as always, this group never cease to amaze me, how interesting the way each participants picked up differents things during the Shake Week.
As you come to know, aint nothing weird about caring for others. I would say its even odd so few actually do in today society...maybe our society has been made to become more individualistic than we truly suppose to be...hence we are no longer at ease seeing inequality, suffering and injustice while being desensitize at the same time, like we have to accept this is the norm...well, SHAKE showed us that we can look at this differently..
In Africa we have a word that is hard to translate in English. A word use in Southern Africa, East Africa and many other region. The word UBUNTU!!! Look it up on google, it will make sense to you am sure.
Take care and keep in touch.

Peas n light

Hannah: Amongst all your skills and accurate world views, I think you are hiding a talent for comedy...your line in my farewell cards was JOKES!! I burst out laughing in the bus by myself...
:-) LOL

Nuha: As Knaan says, you come from the hardest place on earth but your words are the most beautiful...there must be something special in the air of Mogadishu that turns you into such natural, smart and great people....yea must be something in the air lool

Hope all the others are well,
here are a few links to some of the music and artists you ve been discovering during the workshop:
Check it out, absorb the music, try to locate them geographically, appreciate and comment.


Fela Kuti - Music Is The Weapon from Green Grin on Vimeo.


Tony Allen BLACK VOICES / Image Olivier Taïeb
Uploaded by oliviertaiebrealisateur. - See the latest featured music videos.



Thank you for everyone for making last week an extraordinary experience, fun and motivating to actually never say that 'there is no point because no one cares' because the week was a testimony that people do care and want to create a positive impact and change.


Hi guys wow it was wonderful being a part of this workshop, I hope you guys are well and hope to see you all again.

Here's a link from a woman called Louis Bennet, a poet, an author and activist who me and people proud of our language known as Patwah (jamaican creole).
Hope you guys find this informative and be proud of your culture.

THOU SHALT NOT KILL - Poem by Selina Nwulu

I wrote, Thou Shalt Not Kill, as I was really struck by how despite the fact that Stephen Lawrence was murdered, there is so much of him still alive somehow. And after spending a week in the Stephen Lawrence centre and seeing his pictures in the reception area, I wanted to pay tribute, not only to the people that pushed for Stephen's case to be brought to media attention and to the centre, but also to the strength of the human spirit, that can still reign despite every injustice.

It's so easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged after hearing about injustices such as the murder of Stephen Lawrence, mainly because it often is so overwhelming and discouraging. But I wanted to use this feeling and take inspiration from Stephen Lawrence to create a poem that highlights that together we can be much stronger than any gang, knife or racist crime and the injustices that arise as a consequence.  - Selina Nwulu

Thou Shalt Not Kill
 a  poem for Stephen Lawrence who would be 36 on 14th September 2010.

Here is the image of a man-child
Eyes wide,
Future Full
Black and white lines on his shirt
Snapped hope ‘93

Political gangsters
Squat on humanity
As it sinks further,     deep
In pain and misery
Swirls in red tape and the queen's democracy

Democracy becomes
Blood drenched
Stabbed, five inches          deep
Justice made blind

Moral imposters
Banking on flimsy legislation
Minds behind those black and white lines
Blood on their hands,
Drip drops a trail on the ground
Swirls turn justice monochrome

Stephen Lawrence
You miss the colors
You miss the freedom love can bring
You miss
Everything an 18-year-old saw and you didn't

Impotent fools
Loaded with steel hatred
Unaware that
The pen will forever trump the blade

The power you crave from that
Phallic metallic stick…
We are repelled
Powerless powerless fools

Thou shalt not kill
A battle waiting to be won
Thou shalt not kill
Words from a mother to a son
Thou shalt not kill
The wisdom to walk away
Thou shalt not kill…

My peace. Your Peace. Our Peace

Friday, 20 August 2010

Early reflections on SHAKE!

Monday 16th sees 14 participants aged between 16 and 25 meet with artists DJ Eric Soul, poets Zena Edwards from cV:iD and Simon Murray from African Writers Abroad, and Ana Tovey from Chocolate Films at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford, for SHAKE! Ben Amunwa, Jane Trowell and Ed Lewis from Platform are the  coordinators  of Shake!

This week-long course is a central part of our year-long residency with SLC called "Shaping the Future". Click to go to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to see more of the work they do.

Lots of unknowns - we'd registered a big group of participants but who would turn up? Would our collaboration between the artists work? Would we get the balance right between serious politics, art, and hope: our case studies are heavy. We are focusing on the Ogoni struggle for environmental justice in Nigeria through the life and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, and considering it alongside the conditions that led to the murder of Stephen Lawrence at a bus stop in Eltham in 1993, and all the wider ramifications.

So all of us were pretty happy to meet the group and hear from them...quiet-seeming, very switched on and thoughtful participants who know why they were doing the course and what their stake in it is. 9 women and 5 men, the majority describing themselves as of African-Caribbean descent, with some young people of Kurdish, Chinese, Sri Lankan, and white English backgrounds. London in all her glory.

They brought up a range of political concerns coming out of the themes, from sex-trafficking to youth crime to unemployment to racism to capitalism to combatting apathy. There was a lot to take in on day 1 and by the end I hoped we hadn't asked too much.

Day 2... had it been too much? who would return?
But... everyone from day 1 showed up on time and we were off again. The vibe was keen, looser, and good. For this morning session, the group brought examples of something in culture which they found powerful and political. Music from K'Naan, Lowkey, Bashy, Within Temptation, Jill Scott, personal photos, photographs of life in Somalia, Anansi stories, a book by Gemma Malley... This built on what we had done yesterday where the artists had presented some work they had been influenced by, followed by discussion on how it works, why it works, for whom it works (or not)...

Then into artform groups - video documentary, music/DJ, writing/performance poetry. This was the moment we'd all been champing for - an outlet for all the talk, all the politics, and all the feelings that had been aroused... I participated in the first writing workshop. Free-writing which led to an outpouring of responses. Really powerful to be witness to it. Some tears, lots of applause. Cool calm encouraging comment from Zena and Simon and others in the group. Kernals of ideas that would be worked on, worked up. Me, I'd written a splurge about skinheads... got me going...

This post was written by Jane Trowell of PLATFORM
Images by Zena Edwards