Thursday, 25 October 2012

what Nuha, Rotimi, Selina are doing...

Latest news in about three of Shake's brilliant young participants from 2010/11 programme! 

Nuha Baruti and Rotimi Skyers are taking part in Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust's 2012 architecture and design exhibition 'People & Places', held with Scott Brownrigg in Covent Garden. Nuha was a Bursary recipient at SLCT and has played a key role in curating and organising the exhibition of young talent. Rotimi is studying architecture at University of the Creative Arts, Canterbury, and has developed a close ongoing relationship with the Trust since Shake! 
It's on til 30 Nov so if you're in London, get over there.

Meanwhile, Selina Nwulu is responding to a challenge: to write a brand new 20-minute poem as part of Apples and Snakes event 'The Word's a Stage', 21st November, in Hackney, London. Selina's been mentored by Malika Booker along with three other up and coming poets. Should be a brilliant night.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Guerilla video of us, on creating the Mission Statement...

Watch it here, dug out from Eric's Facebook page at last! Video made on 25th February 2011, at Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, Deptford...featuring Rotimi, Eric, Sai, Zena, Jane, Selina in the flesh, and the ideas of Kavi and Nuha (who weren't in the room for some reason...)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Supporting Malala, supporting girls' rights to education

(If you want to go straight to her interview, it starts at 1min 4 seconds. She speaks in English)

Malala Yusufzai, 14, who has been campaigning for girls' education and against religious extremism since the age of 11, was shot in the head last week in Pakistan, by members of the Taliban.  This assassination attempt shows not only the intense power of young voices, but also the depths to which oppressive forces will go to get rid of intelligent protest. Malala is a highly effective campaigner who has shown incredible courage in the face of armed intimidation on her streets, day after day, week after week, for years. Through her acts and writings, she has galvanised thousands at home in Pakistan and abroad. The BBC picked up on the campaign in January 2009 and helped it gain international profile by publishing Malala's blog on their website. 

Malala is gravely injured and undergoing treatment here in England. There are some signs of improvement. Her cause must not be silenced. 


Join the protest called by EdEqual Foundation, in central London, this Saturday 20th, 12.30 - 3.30pm

Sign a UN petition on girl's education "I am Malala"
AVAAZ's petition "We Support You Malala" calling on the Pakistan government to arrest her attackers and end violent extremism in Pakistan.

Check out and support campaigns for girls' education like "Girls Education International

Friday, 5 October 2012

Shake! Stars Poetry

Happy National Poetry Day (for yesterday...!)

Yes we just missed posting about this by a few hours but we do have a good excuse as we're busy busy in the exciting recruiting process for our new Shake! coordinator.

A revamp of this blogsite is also needed we realise but in the meantime and with the theme of National Poetry Day being "stars" here is the link to discover all the posts on this site from our Shake! poetry stars:

Also a newly created playlist over on our YouTube featuring Selina's original poem and also Paris Kaur and Zodwa Nyoni from Leeds Young Authors at our 2011 Britain on Trial event:

Friday, 17 August 2012

Shake's 3-year programme starts...

Shake is GO! We are absolutely delighted that Esmee Fairbairn Foundation has awarded the project a £20,000 grant to underpin the project in 2012/13. They're particularly interested in any social action/arts projects the new youth participants might come up with so we're hoping this is the start of a long-term relationship. We heard good news from Arts Council England a couple of months back and now we've got the EFF grant it means we've got the green light and can now go ahead with the 3-year programme.

Straight away we're getting down to appointing a new dynamic Coordinator for the project who we hope will be recruited to start in October/November. Interested in the job? Visit Platform's 'Vacancies' pages for details which are going up in the next few days. Application deadline is 14th September.

Meanwhile three young people from Shake's pilot project are going to the Emergence Summit in Machynlleth, North Wales. This is a conference on arts and sustainability for artists and activists, technologists, environmentalists. It's organised by a great collaboration between Volcano Theatre (Swansea) and the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. Platform and Emergence offered bursaries to young people,  and Samia, Selina and Rotimi from Shake! have taken them up. Together with young people from Wales and London they will be co-creating the Youth Delegate's Group, facilitated by Project Phakama, ensuring that the voices and creativity of the next generation are loud and clear on key issues such as energy use, environmental issues, racism, the role of arts in social change. I believe there are still places if you want to come to Emergence.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The winners are... Yorkshire!

Members of Ralph Thoresby team at the regional heats
At yesterday afternoon's National Poetry Slam finals, the team from Ralph Thoresby High School in Leeds were hailed as the overall winners. This group works with Sai Murray, our very own poet-facilitator here at Shake! How well deserved it was, and how hard it must have been for the judges to decide.

Because it was an afternoon of amazing talent and some extraordinary moments. The stage crackled with energy, commitment, and craft. Too many fabulous moments from many groups to recall here, but for me one of the things that stood out about the Leeds group was the political content. A lot of groups addressed tough issues but something about the analysis that the Leeds young people brought seemed sophisticated beyond their years, yet so authentic.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

First Wave at 'Shake the Dust'

First Wave at 'Shake the Dust'
Last night's '100% Proof' event showcased the coach mentors for today's National Youth Poetry Slam final plus we also got to see an amazing performance by 'First Wave', a group from the Spoken Word and Hip Hop Learning Community course at University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA). 

This group, now touring the UK, used their own experience of race and racism in the US education system as the basis for this piece. It was mesmerising: a performance of such power, and such polish, and also such rawness, love, humanity. And great tenderness. I went with a friend completely new to this way of working with poetry, and he was overwhelmed by it. The slam groups from around the country filled the audience and you could have heard a pin drop from the concentration and appreciation. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

NEWS! Arts Council funds Shake's major programme!

Great news at Shake! 
ACE funded the pilot, and have now
come through for the major programme
With the Arts Council coming up with a major grant of £57,000, we are 50% towards our funding target to roll Shake! out at two London centres over three years. We'll be working intensively with 150 young people, 75 artists in training, 300 policy-makers, and gazillions of audience through our social media comms campaigns, online and live youth-made films, performances, publications and policy-changing documents.

After Shake's pilot project which started August 2010 at Stephen Lawrence Centre, we knew we had to do this again and do it BIG. So, after gathering a lot of ideas and feedback from everyone involved in the project, the team worked up a three-year programme. This involves doing two Shake! intensive courses a year, each with their own Continuity Programmes of mentoring and support work, based at Stephen Lawrence Centre and at exciting new partner Bernie Grant Arts Centre (Tottenham).

more great youth, arts and activism projects this summer

Organised by Apples and Snakes.
SHAKE THE DUST - the National Youth Poetry Slam final, (featuring Yorkshire heat-winners coached by Shake's own poet-mentor extraordinaire Sai Murray), is happening Saturday 7th July, 2 - 5pm, in London's Southbank Centre, supported by some fantastic events in the run-up.

Our Sai is performing on the Friday 6pm, as one of the 9 winning poet coaches from the UK-wide regional finals. Leeds Young Authors Artistic Director and dynamic poet-activist Khadijah Ibrahiim who we worked with on our 2011 event Britain on Trial is one of the judges...

There's a free screening of the award-winning film "We Are Poets" featuring a year in the lives of a group of Leeds Young Authors as they make their way through heat after heat to be selected to represent the UK in the internationally heralded Brave New Voices festival in the USA. Wonderful, inspirational. That's on Thursday 6th July, Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer, 6.15pm

Get over there for one or more of the great events. See whole programme here.

Youth, arts, & activism events everywhere this summer

There are loads of interesting projects coming up so I thought I'd pull some of them together in a few blogs...

It's still not too late to do this amazing project...

'So We Stand' - the dynamic popular education collective - are organising a Summer School in Community Organising and Social Justice. 7th - 14th July, London. Check out their launch event 'Reclaiming the Riots, 1 year on' here, happening this Thursday at George Padmore Institute, Finsbury Park.

And find out about the whole summer school and application process here! Get that application in by 2nd July. They want to make this an annual thing so you have a real chance not only to learn but to influence the way the whole project develops.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Zena Edwards in new video documentary on 'riots'

Check out a taster of this critical new film coming out soon, this one featuring Zena Edwards.

To follow what's happening with the film VoiceOver: Riots Reframed, go here.
They write: ‘VoiceOver: Riots Reframed’ is an independent documentary aimed at countering mainstream discourse on last year’s riots and riots that occur in poor, racialised and marginalised communities generally. Dominant media has towed the government line that August’s riots were about “criminality, pure and simple..."

Young people from Shake! worked with facilitators Ed Lewis, Simon Murray and Zena for their sell-out session "The Unheard" at the Rebellious Media Conference last year, and at the natonal Shake! event "Britain on Trial" in Leeds. Zena is involved in several youth initiatives combatting stereotypical, biased and racist responses to the uprisings.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Soul-food - what I savoured from the Remembrance Service for Stephen Lawrence

I sat, moved, with 200 others in a church in central London yesterday. It was a service of remembrance for Stephen Lawrence, in the year two of his accused murderers were finally convicted, 19 years after his death. It made me think a lot about how we sustain ourselves in long struggles for justice. It made me think about the work of Shake! and also Platform's campaigns on issues in the Niger Delta about London-based oil company Shell and environmental racism. Here is what I wrote. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Videos of Shake! at Rebellious Media Conference

Those good people at RMC have now put up a great compilation of videos from Shake's session "The Unheard: Youth, 'the riots' and the media" at the 2011 conference in London.

Watch recordings from the session itself, plus interviews and poetry performed by Rotimi, Samia, Selina and Kadish (Leeds Young Authors).

Also watch interviews with Shake! poet-facilitators Sai and Zena from Ceasefire magazine's Adam Elliot-Cooper over on our videos page.

We had more good news from RMC organiser Gabriel Carlyle recently. He told us that once they'd digested all the written evaluation forms, Shake's session got the most number of glowing reviews. People were energised by hearing directly and unmediated from young people, and they loved the structure (a mix of poetry, commentary, and discussion).

This was the fruit of all that brilliant planning from the team: Selina, Samia, Ed, Sai, Rotimi, Jane. And big thanks to Ed from New Left Project who kept the team cooking across 4 cities in the run-up...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Don't throw activist histories away: The Huntley Conference on Arts & Activism, Culture & Resistance

El Crisis
There were over a 100 artists, activists, community workers, young people, archivists & conservators, educators, parents, grandparents, policymakers......taking part in talks, creative "Groundings" sessions, a parallel youth conference, music & poetry performances, from the fabulous El Crisis, younger talented artists, and the more experienced......discussing race and power, creativity and resilience, protest and activism.....and feasting on delicious food from Jollofpot, book stalls, all in the great facilities of London Metropolitan Archives.

Eric and Jessica Huntley
What was brilliant and so rich about this day was we were learning about art, activism and Black struggle through the legacy and networks of the two activists Jessica and Eric Huntley, now in their 80s, who arrived in London from Guyana in the late 1960s.

Stephen Lawrence film: 'Time for Justice' screening, 10th March, 6.30 - 8.30pm, London

This looks like a very special night.

A screening of the Panorama documentary and a chance to hear from Doreen Lawrence and others.
Buy tickets here.

"In aid of The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. Bafta and non-Bafta members are invited to a special screening on Saturday 10th March 2012 at 18:30 of the recent Panorama special, Stephen Lawrence: A Time For Justice.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Doreen Lawrence, Stuart Lawrence (brother). Imran Khan (family solicitor) and BBC reporter Mark Daly. The discussion following the screening will cover the struggle of the Lawrence family, institutionalised racism and the power of investigative broadcast journalism to effect change, chaired by TV correspondent, Rageh Omaar."

Location:  Bafta, Princess Anne Theatre, Piccadilly, W1J 9LN

Ticket Price: £10

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

'Arts & Activism, Culture and Resistance' event, 18th February, London

Just booked tickets to this event for young people, artists and activists at London Metropolitan Archives near Farringdon. LMA have a big collection on anti-racist struggle in London in their Black Caribbean Community Archives*.

Looks really really interesting, with great artists running sessions including Roshini Kempadoo, Jean Joseph, Errol Lloyd, and includes a youth conference. Step Forward Youth with Gus John, Akala and others.

Spread the word.

*Eric and Jessica Huntley gave their collection to LMA and set up these annual events there. They are political activists from Guyana who came to Britain in the 1950s. Among many other activities, they set up a radical publishing company Bogle-l'Ouverture, promoting Black writers, thinkers, political activists. 

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Conviction of two of Stephen Lawrence's murderers: a new chapter

4  days ago, after 18 years, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of killing student Stephen Lawrence in a racially motivated attack, while he waited with a friend at a bus stop in Eltham, London.

Young women perform a piece for Stephen at
Shake's event 'Britain on Trial', Leeds, Oct 2011
Artist: Pati Bongani
Everyone involved with Shake! stands in support of the momentousness of these judgements. This case has changed the way in which Britain sees itself at a fundamental level. It laid bare a deep, shameful sickness within certain parts of our culture. While this has not gone away, the family's battle for justice for Stephen has revealed the way in which institutions at the heart of this culture have operated, and how they must change.

Stephen's father Neville Lawrence said that for him, these two convictions were only one step in a long journey to achieve full justice - the bringing to account the rest of the group of young white men who fatally stabbed Stephen that day.

Stephen's mother Doreen spoke of being able at last to get on with her life. She has reiterated her criticism of the police for their early appallingly neglectful handling of the case, which among many other impacts, meant that instead of grieving for her lost son, she had to go into battle against the institutional racism which prevailed and disrupted the course of justice.

Anyone involved in the struggle for justice can only be struck with awe and amazement by the fortitude and grit that the family have had to find for each wave of this terrible story. I try to follow this timeline and consider what it must have taken, what it must have cost, for each person who loved and was close to Stephen to reach this moment.

Separately from her legal campaign, Doreen founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust specifically to create a constructive force against social injustice and to combat racism through fostering creativity, especially in design and architecture.  Shake! is proud to have been involved with the work of the Trust and to be able to spread its word.
Performance for Stephen at
Britain on Trial
Artist: Pati Bongani

All of us who believe that art, social justice and activism are intertwined can take courage and learn lessons from Doreen and SLCT: the legal battle, the battle for a change in culture, and the use of culture and the arts to change minds, change behaviour, and rebalance privileges, readdress entitlements to opportunity.

What an incredible act, incredible activism to have put all this into the world.

Thank you Doreen, for changing the course of history for all who are to follow in your footsteps, and thank you to all at SLCT for your dedicated and crucial work.