Monday, 23 December 2013

Paula on the 3 R's Re-imagining, Remembering, Reparations





Shake! intensive at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre
My name is Paula, I joined Shake! as a volunteer last August, and I have recently become part of the Shake! core team. Most of my work is around art and social change, be it as an artist, activist, or cultural manager. I am also, at the moment a research student at King's College London, working on the role of artistic performance within activism and social movements.

The following paragraphs present my reflections on how the words Remembering, Re-imagining and Reparations are already present in, and can be articulated into, our daily practices as artists, activists, and as members of our communities. These paragraphs also reflect how the ‘3 Rs’ are already part of what we do at Shake!, and how these concepts can allow us to think about what we do on different terms.

Monday, 9 December 2013

When Students Are The Teachers - Shakers are the Facilitators: Power Sharing

"Education as Freedom. 
Through dialogue, 
the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher (terminology) 
ceases to exist and a new term emerges: 
teacher-student with students-teachers...
The students — no longer docile listeners — 
are now critical co-investigators in dialogue with the teacher." 
- Paulo Friere 


 Shake! Mission Statement, Item No.4  
To unite the energy of artistic generations 
to creatively campaign on issues of race, 
power, environment and injustice 


I was very happy to finally have Shake! 's first ever Youth Led professional training session happen. And what a success it was. Previous Shake participants Adam Cooper, Khadiza Shahid and Selina Nwulu delivered their sessions with confidence, packed full of useful information and provocations for in-depth discussion.

What is important about these sessions is that those who attended were professional mentors, educators and facilitators who came along to hear what causes these young people are actively engaged in, why they chose them and how they, as the next  generation of activist, can inform the attendees understanding of the subject and their working practice.

Adam gave us amazing insight into our rights as citizens and as a young person when it comes to police stop and search. "Its about power, not so much about getting guns and knives off the street...just remember there is always a mirror question to the one the police ask you, so you can take back your power. For example, 'What's your name? I'm not obliged to answer that, but what's your police number? Where do you live? I'm not obliged to answer that but what's your station?... And it is 100% legal to record the stop and search. Record directly on to Ustream and it's recorded online so can't be deleted, even if they confiscated or smashed  phone."
Very very useful stuff.

Click the Shake! Twitter feed screen grabs  to enlarge.





Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Hamza on Shake! Showcase: The showcase that “Emboldens” and shakes the “Energetic Apathy -

Shake Showcase!
The third edition of the course was held in August 5-9th at the landmark Bernie Grants Art Centre in Tottenham and the theme was Power, Propaganda and Perceptions. What the bright young people (16-25 years old) produced from poetry, music and film was showcased at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on the night of October 29th. And what an amazing show and a stimulating experience it was. Talent at its purest and most engaging way with injustice and global issues! The young people, who come from different ethnic backgrounds, vividly proved that Art is not there to be an abstract form or simply to be for the sake of entertainment but rather as a powerful tool to face up urgent issues of our time in a creative manner. If you thought for one second that these young people have been dictated to what to write, compose or film, then you need to realise that the shake! course rejects the top-bottom approach of traditional educational forms and rather encourages the youth to develop their own ideas, express themselves through the medium of art and tackle issues they feel strongly about. Performers succeeded each other and displayed their brilliant poetry, music and filming skills. The spoken words were particularly eloquent and moving and touched on different subjects such as war, racism, celebrity culture, social injustice and addiction. Christianah, Onysha, Annie, Lucas, Lateef and Umaru were full of energy, fieriness, passion and dissent, a dissent that is much needed in these radical times. These young poets’ spoken words were so gripping, penetrating and carefully chosen. They were words that embodied situations we –grown-up- have been confronted to for a long time; Energetic Apathy is definitely one of them. For her turn, Anna gave an incredible singing performance with a beautiful voice that added poignancy and a sense of urgency to the song. .... The short film “Reach” that was produced in only three days with limited logistics was of excellent quality. The filmmakers wanted to depict the contrast between wealth and poverty in communities around London and how affluence and power are concentrated in corporations. The images that were accompanied by some narration were powerful and showed how these communities are affected by gentrification and how they are alienated from the wealth they produce themselves. This was obvious in the “irritating” presence of Barclays and HSBC’s buildings behind the estates and the frustration at the out of reach higher education in universities. When asked to summarise the film in one word, the young directors used the words: capitalism, reach, aspirations and motivational to break obstacles ...
The showcase was truly an exhilarating experience and instilled in me the belief that these young people can be a force for change. Shakers, you emboldened my optimism and surely you will find me, in solidarity with you, struggling against the Energetic-Apathy around us.
Read full blog here:

http://platformlondon.org/2013/11/04/the-showcase-that-emboldens-and-shakes-the-energetic-apathy/#sthash.olX1t94G.dpuf
Since I joined Platform in July, I have seen the high-spirited Farzana passionately preparing for the “ Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power course”, organising its different activities and coordinating with other facilitators (Ed, Zena and Sai) in order to make it even better than the previous sessions. The third course was held in August at the landmark Bernie Grants Art Centre in Tottenham and the theme was Power, Propaganda and Perceptions. What the bright young people (16-25 years old) produced from poetry, music and film was showcased at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on the night of October 29th. And what an amazing show and a stimulating experience it was. Talent at its purest and most engaging way with injustice and global issues!
The young people vividly proved that art is not just there to be an abstract form or simply for the sake of entertainment but can also be a powerful tool to face up urgent issues of our time in a creative manner. If you thought for one second that these young people have been dictated to what to write, compose or film, then you need to realise that the shake! course rejects the top-bottom approach of traditional educational forms and rather encourages the youth to develop their own ideas, express themselves through the medium of art and tackle issues they feel strongly about.
- See more at: http://platformlondon.org/2013/11/04/the-showcase-that-emboldens-and-shakes-the-energetic-apathy/#sthash.GEmZIfCh.dpuf
Since I joined Platform in July, I have seen the high-spirited Farzana passionately preparing for the “ Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power course”, organising its different activities and coordinating with other facilitators (Ed, Zena and Sai) in order to make it even better than the previous sessions. The third course was held in August at the landmark Bernie Grants Art Centre in Tottenham and the theme was Power, Propaganda and Perceptions. What the bright young people (16-25 years old) produced from poetry, music and film was showcased at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on the night of October 29th. And what an amazing show and a stimulating experience it was. Talent at its purest and most engaging way with injustice and global issues!
The young people vividly proved that art is not just there to be an abstract form or simply for the sake of entertainment but can also be a powerful tool to face up urgent issues of our time in a creative manner. If you thought for one second that these young people have been dictated to what to write, compose or film, then you need to realise that the shake! course rejects the top-bottom approach of traditional educational forms and rather encourages the youth to develop their own ideas, express themselves through the medium of art and tackle issues they feel strongly about.
- See more at: http://platformlondon.org/2013/11/04/the-showcase-that-emboldens-and-shakes-the-energetic-apathy/#sthash.GEmZIfCh.dpuf Since I joined Platform in July, I have seen the high-spirited Farzana passionately preparing for the “ Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power course”, organising its different activities and coordinating with other facilitators (Ed, Zena and Sai) in order to make it even better than the previous sessions. The third course was held in August at the landmark Bernie Grants Art Centre in Tottenham and the theme was Power, Propaganda and Perceptions. What the bright young people (16-25 years old) produced from poetry, music and film was showcased at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on the night of October 29th. And what an amazing show and a stimulating experience it was. Talent at its purest and most engaging way with injustice and global issues!
The young people vividly proved that art is not just there to be an abstract form or simply for the sake of entertainment but can also be a powerful tool to face up urgent issues of our time in a creative manner. If you thought for one second that these young people have been dictated to what to write, compose or film, then you need to realise that the shake! course rejects the top-bottom approach of traditional educational forms and rather encourages the youth to develop their own ideas, express themselves through the medium of art and tackle issues they feel strongly about.
- See more at: http://platformlondon.org/2013/11/04/the-showcase-that-emboldens-and-shakes-the-energetic-apathy/#sthash.GEmZIfCh.dpuf Since I joined Platform in July, I have seen the high-spirited Farzana passionately preparing for the “ Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power course”, organising its different activities and coordinating with other facilitators (Ed, Zena and Sai) in order to make it even better than the previous sessions. The third course was held in August at the landmark Bernie Grants Art Centre in Tottenham and the theme was Power, Propaganda and Perceptions. What the bright young people (16-25 years old) produced from poetry, music and film was showcased at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on the night of October 29th. And what an amazing show and a stimulating experience it was. Talent at its purest and most engaging way with injustice and global issues!
The young people vividly proved that art is not just there to be an abstract form or simply for the sake of entertainment but can also be a powerful tool to face up urgent issues of our time in a creative manner. If you thought for one second that these young people have been dictated to what to write, compose or film, then you need to realise that the shake! course rejects the top-bottom approach of traditional educational forms and rather encourages the youth to develop their own ideas, express themselves through the medium of art and tackle issues they feel strongly about.
- See more at: http://platformlondon.org/2013/11/04/the-showcase-that-emboldens-and-shakes-the-energetic-apathy/#sthash.GEmZIfCh.dpuf Since I joined Platform in July, I have seen the high-spirited Farzana passionately preparing for the “ Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power course”, organising its different activities and coordinating with other facilitators (Ed, Zena and Sai) in order to make it even better than the previous sessions. The third course was held in August at the landmark Bernie Grants Art Centre in Tottenham and the theme was Power, Propaganda and Perceptions. What the bright young people (16-25 years old) produced from poetry, music and film was showcased at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on the night of October 29th. And what an amazing show and a stimulating experience it was. Talent at its purest and most engaging way with injustice and global issues!
The young people vividly proved that art is not just there to be an abstract form or simply for the sake of entertainment but can also be a powerful tool to face up urgent issues of our time in a creative manner. If you thought for one second that these young people have been dictated to what to write, compose or film, then you need to realise that the shake! course rejects the top-bottom approach of traditional educational forms and rather encourages the youth to develop their own ideas, express themselves through the medium of art and tackle issues they feel strongly about.
- See more at: http://platformlondon.org/2013/11/04/the-showcase-that-emboldens-and-shakes-the-energetic-apathy/#sthash.GEmZIfCh.dpuf
Since I joined Platform in July, I have seen the high-spirited Farzana passionately preparing for the “ Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power course”, organising its different activities and coordinating with other facilitators (Ed, Zena and Sai) in order to make it even better than the previous sessions. The third course was held in August at the landmark Bernie Grants Art Centre in Tottenham and the theme was Power, Propaganda and Perceptions. What the bright young people (16-25 years old) produced from poetry, music and film was showcased at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on the night of October 29th. And what an amazing show and a stimulating experience it was. Talent at its purest and most engaging way with injustice and global issues!
The young people vividly proved that art is not just there to be an abstract form or simply for the sake of entertainment but can also be a powerful tool to face up urgent issues of our time in a creative manner. If you thought for one second that these young people have been dictated to what to write, compose or film, then you need to realise that the shake! course rejects the top-bottom approach of traditional educational forms and rather encourages the youth to develop their own ideas, express themselves through the medium of art and tackle issues they feel strongly about.
- See more at: http://platformlondon.org/2013/11/04/the-showcase-that-emboldens-and-shakes-the-energetic-apathy/#sthash.GEmZIfCh.dpuf

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Cost of War


THE COST OF WAR.
By Christianah Babajide

Did you actually know the cost of war
When you signed on to join the Army?
With your innocent minds and eager smiles
Did you realize...
The battlefield is not a playground


You've been brainwashed and fooled by the Old lie:
It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country.
All they talk about is the pride of fighting for your motherland,
but nobody mentions the drums of death that beat in the battleground.


Who says “it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country”
Who makes the decisions about these wars?
Who is profiting from them?
Who is slurping from the blood of the dead?
Who is playing God and at what cost?
Knowing fully well that death walks hand in hand with war.


They promised comfort, you're living like refugees,
In your own mind, in your own body, in your own land.
They promised laughter, you're drowning in your guilt
They promised success, you just lost half your men.
They said the war wouldn't change you...
just who is that man in the mirror?


Rapid fire! He sways,in shock, almost unaware.
Then drops like a hot potato
That was my brother. We all lost a brother.
I want him back, not his broken limbs or fractured nose.
I want the whole package. His eyes were hazel.
It should have been me.

Now you are consumed by this guilt...
Your heart sinks lower than the Titanic,
He joined the war, not realizing people would actually have to die.
He never realized the horror of it,
Until he'd lost himself,
A baby with a gun
Lost in the bloody nightmare.


God only knows what we're fighting for...
to live like animals even though we're men
for our own neighbours not to recognize us?
Or is it for their names to be in history books?

Well, if that's the compromise of war
it is not enough.
Your humanity is priceless
and losing yourself is unforgivable.


If I survive the stench of hell, they may praise me for my victory
but their cheers will never be loud enough.
They cannot praise me enough for what I have lost.
I have lost the very thing that made me human.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Latest Shake! Film: Reach



This poetic documentary set out to explore issues of aspirations, social cohesion, capitalism, gentrification, and the UK's growing economic divide, as identified by the young film makers.

The second Shake! film of the year was made by:

Nathaniel Chapman
Enayet Mannan
Umaru Saidu
Khadiza Shahid
Minhas Wariz

It was devised in a day, shot over 2 days and edited in 3 days by young participants of the August 2013 workshops at the Bernie Grant Art Centre. The film making was facilitated and supported by film makers Richard York and Hannan Majid The Rainbow Collective and Derek Richards from Hi8us South.  This arresting film is testament to all their incredible talent.



Film Makers Q & A

The film was so sophisticated. Stunning. - Jane 


The film was absolutely incredible
- Audience member from Shake Showcas
e

"Very sophisticated touches, the juxtaposition of the ticker tape of share prices and the fingerprinting news story, could easily have been missed, but matched the larger image of the HSBC building towering over the estates. Great film."- Sarah







Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mista Vee on Shake! Showcase #3 Propaganda! Perception! & Power!



                                            

"Shake is a sensational experience based on a program that encourages young people to take to the stage and let their voices be heard. I was blown away by the talent. Shake sparks a spirit of inspiration and imagination that shakes you to the core and leaves you wanting more - just like an earthquake waking you from slumber. Shake is poetry in motion from start to finish, a procession of powerful, hard hitting words that enlighten, enthral and inform. The experience enraptures and 'emboldens', a new word introduced to my lexicon. It embodies the next generation of artists standing up for their rights, declaring their voice must be listen to and demanding that change must come to this unjust and unequal world we are living in. It promises to shake the foundations of power relations, bringing new meaning, hope and love to our communities. Watch this space the revolution is coming, and Shake is at the forefront of this positive force for good. I highly recommend you get involved..."

Thank you Mista Vee aka Freddy Vanson!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Rave Reviews of Shake! Showcase#3 Power! Propaganda! &Perceptions!

Since last night’s mind-blowing Shake! Showcase –Power! Propaganda! &Perceptions, we have been bombarded with amazing feedback via twitter, email, fb and from showcase attendee feedback forms. Thank you to all those that joined us yesterday and for the love and support. Apologies to those that were unable to attend because we reached full capacity. Watch this space for more showcases, more shaking things up and more EMBOLDENING!

Shaking things up! with Lucas Kelly's "Messy Python"
“There are no words that can describe tonight, words that come close are: intense, dynamic, exhilarating, WOW, some fiery talent witnessed tonight- damn, thanks to everyone who listened and enjoyed my poem, thank you for sharing your poems with me, and hope we can meet again and colab…1 love to my activist brothers and sisters” -Lateef



“ Loved all of it! Ideal and perfect to give participants confidence to perform” - Shake! showcase enthusiast



“That was WONDERFUL !!! So inspiring - thank you for such a great evening .... Thank you for all the wonderful things that you bring into my life ... eye-opening, arresting” -James



“It ended too soon”- Shake! showcase enthusiast



Thank you shake really took it up a level this year!” -Annie



“Fantastic show! So Inspired! Thank you so much to all involved for giving me an opportunity to be inspired “- Shake! showcase enthusiast



“Shake! Youth Arts and Activism showcase last night at the Free Word Centre, one of the most inspiring events i've been to this year" -Ishan



"The Shake showcase provided an astonishing array of talent, insight and passion. There was a really electric atmosphere as the audience was treated to stunning performance after stunning performance, to the point where I was moved to tears (Requiem). It was an amazing testament to the emboldened young people who'd taken part in the course, the mentors and Shake! as an institution itself."- Kevin

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Showcase#3: Power >> Propaganda >> Perceptions @ Free Word Centre, 29th October, 6-9pm

Shake! Showcase#3: >> Power >> Propaganda >> Perceptions is the explosive showcase from the participants of the third Shake! course. Featuring freshly created poetic, filmic and musical responses to injustice, the showcase will present an original and inspiring mix of political creativity. So get on down to the Free Word Centre  in Farringdon on Tuesday 29th October, 6-9pm and join us for what promises to be an electric event.

Check out this trailer of the film made by the Shake! participate during the Shake! course in August at the BGAC. The full film will be premiered at the showcase.

Get your tickets here: 
(The event is free for students and unwaged)


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Absent from Academy

With so few black faces in academia, particularly at the top level, Absent from the Academy looks at what effects this has on black academics, black communities and Britain's ability to gain from the global perspectives and knowledge formations which diversity in scholarship can offer.

 A new documentary has just been made on the state of Black British academia, feat. Adam Cooper

http://vimeo.com/76725812

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Power in Numbers: Free one day Event feat. 'Professor' Ed

Free one-day event for young people interested in social movements this Saturday at City University, feat. Shake! facilitator Ed Lewis. Free but places are limited - email demandimpossible2013@gmail.com to book. Not to be missed!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Ceris Aston: Thoughtcrime: censorship in the UK


A piece by Ceris on censorship in the UK, originally published  for Cafebabel- original link here






As the UK government proposes increasingly more draconian censorship laws, fears grow in Britain over the rights to free speech and assembly
On 3 September, the British government presented the transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill to its parliament. This bill, dubbed the ‘gagging law’ by critics - and there are many - proposes new measures curtailing political action on the part of non-politicians in the year running up to any general election. While this is ostensibly in order to limit and regulate funding from trade unions or wealthy lobbyists, any campaign or other political activity which might affect the result of an election would be strictly regulated. The bill proposes limiting spending to just over 450,000 euros for non-party-political campaigns and to introduce criminal sanctions for those exercising their right to free speech.

MINISTRY OF TRUTH 

 

Trade unions, campaign groups, charities and other political parties have condemned the draconian measures. If the bill were passed, it would constitute a severe infringement of civil liberties in the UK and would leave political parties free to deliver their propaganda unchallenged in an election year. In effect, groups would be unable to speak out against any of the major issues of the day for fear of becoming tangled up in the new law, which has met charges of being both overly complex and too vague. The conservative-liberal democrat coalition government is being accused of attempting to rush the bill through. Campaign group 38 Degrees is urging constituents to write to their politicians in protest at this disturbing proposal.

The bill is only the latest of a series of worrying instances concerning limitations upon civil freedoms in the UK. In May Edward Snowden, a former national security agency (NSA) contractor in the USA, revealed classified information about how both the USA and the UK’s government communications headquarters spy upon their civilians using the internet, and spend thousands of pounds in attempts to break encryptions on private information. American journalist Glenn Greenwald published the leaked information for the British left-wing newspaper The Guardian. In August, Greenwald’s Brazilian partner David Miranda was detained at a UK airport for nine hours and had all his electronic goods confiscated under the terrorism act. He was returning after visiting one of the other actors in the NSA revelations, documentary maker Laura Poitras. It was subsquently revealed that the UK government had ordered The Guardian to destroy the hard-drives containing the Snowden files.

Pornwalls

 

In other developments, the 'con-dem' government plans to make internet service providers block online pornography by default, turning porn into an ‘opt-in’ service. While this action may at first seem relatively innocuous, governmental censorship of any kind sets an alarming precedent. It seems likely that other types of ‘inappropriate’ sites may also be automatically blocked if prime minister David Cameron’s 'pornwall' is set up, such as extremist and terrorist related content or esoteric material. Many of the categories are disturbingly open to state interpretation. George Orwell's 1984, the blueprint of dystopian state control, put it thus: 'Who controls the past,' ran the party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past'.

While the government couches its proposal in terms of safety and of protecting children, it is dubious whether governmental organisations should have the power to censor and filter the information available on the internet. For those who argue that the 'innocent' have nothing to fear, the UK government’s proposed anti-social behaviour, crime and policing bill may give some cause for concern. This bill would criminalise anyone who ‘engages or threatens to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person'. That’s pretty broad. Many of us would argue that the bill could potentially violate our freedom of expression. It may also remove the lawful freedoms to assemble and protest. The UK government is attempting to pass measures which would both increase state power and severely curtail civil freedoms in at least England and Wales. The fear is that the public won’t notice, won’t seize their right to protest these authoritarian and oppressive new bills until they are enshrined in law and their right to protest no longer exists. As Orwell said, 'In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.'

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

AmaZulu Free Write Review


Last Thursday we held a screening of AmaZulu –Children of Heaven at the Platform office. As usual at Shake! we don’t do things normally, after watching the film, we all participated in a short free write. Free writes are exactly what they say they are; free writing. No thinking, no processing, just pen on paper.  We find free writes are a great creative tool and an easy way to get all the thoughts floating in our heads out on paper, they even help frame some interesting discussions. 

Post film discussions with Jordan and Nathaniel

 Here are two examples of free writes by  Shake!r’s Umaru and Lucas after watching AmaZulu:

AMAZULU- CHILDREN OF HEAVEN
When I see life lived the hard way, the other side of living, the other side of life itself, which I don’t have to go through, its hard and I do count myself blessed for the things I take for granted… a home, family, friends even food.  Its taught me that it is hard but you have no choice but to follow your dreams, because if you don’t its like the Amazulu children going to school without singing their song. What’s the point? But It’s great when you can leave a place of labour where you have made great friends for life and hear the words  “well done”you have done your job, mission accomplished, yeh mission accomplished.  In South Africa there is a long way to go before we hear those words- mission accomplished but the children of Amazulu showed us that it is a start.  Its massive steps back when guys spread HIV to girls without even thinking about the consequences, but children of heaven keep singing your song, because we all need to hear it. -  By Umaru Saidu
 
AmaZulu  warriors are children from above supporting people and singing as they go into exams is truly real love. I am amazed by their personalities and warming attitude. They are really inspiring and compel me to muse. Similarities and differences form their country to ours, their cheerfulness is really contagious and makes me want to give them flowers.  The ins and outs of African lifestyle is truly sublime and I love to right about them paper with a lot of rhymes. –By Lucas Kelly

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Young Writers’ Competition

Young Writers’ Competition

Win £100 and your writing published in Red Pepper 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2013

460x300-writers-comp

Calling all young writers, activists and aspiring journalists! If you're aged between 16-25 years old then why not enter our young writer's competition? Entries will be judged by George Monbiot, author columnist for The Guardian; and Kara Moses, environment editor at Red Pepper.

The winner will get their work published in Red Pepper, receive £100 and get a one years subscription to the magazine. We will also publish some of the runner up entires on our website. Just answer the following question:

How can we make our world fairer and more sustainable at the same time? 

Write up to 800 words about an inspiring project or policy which is tackling the environmental crisis and addressing social or economic injustice at the same time. Where has this initiative been discussed, developed or adopted? Could it be applied elsewhere?

Deadline: 22 November 2013

Friday, 20 September 2013

Samia Aziz: Two Pennies on the Veil 'Debate'

Two pennies on the face veil ‘debate’

img-20130917-wa00011 (1) 

There is no doubt that the issue of the  veil, niqaab, worn by some Muslim women is increasingly featuring in Politics and the media. An MP refuses to see members of his constituency if they wear such a garment, a University Student Union calls to ban it, and the Home Minister insists we have a “national debate” around the issue.

Some commentators have spoken out on the issue, arguing the freedom to wear what we want in public needs to be respected. Simon Jenkins rightly explains a national debate is mirroring the actions of states like France, who made a national decision on the issue. If women wearing the niqaab were committing more crime, if such a garment was genuinely linked to security threats, or if it was counteracting integration, I’d be among the first to support a national debate about the issue. Let’s be honest: as it stands, it just makes us feel a bit uncomfortable.

The majority of Islamic thought describes the niqaab as an additional act of worship, and this has meant different things to women in different lands over time. In the end, women are left to make their own choices about the way they choose to dress, and the results of using our intellect is reflected in the diversity of clothing Muslim women wear on the streets of Britain today. We can’t hide from the fact that some women choose to wear the niqaab, nor should we desire to. What we fail to understand is that this simple act, which causes no harm, is an act of attempted integration. People who stay at home all day and don’t interact with people need to give no thought to what they wear, simply because they are not in the public eye. The niqaab, which is an act of worship, is also the mechanism by which some Muslim women create the right conditions for themselves to interact in, experience and contribute to their societies. Living in a country where the majority of the population is not Muslim, such a decision does not come lightly, and reveals a strength, passion and commitment to their values. Being denied the right to dress how they want, these valuable women will simply retreat from the society which will only benefit from them being active within it. There are certain situations which allow for Muslims to compromise their position on issues, for example, a woman being seen by a male doctor, but beyond exceptional circumstances, they will not compromise. Why should they?

Liberal arguments in favour of banning the niqaab centre on protecting the freedom of women, and emancipating us. Such a stance would stand strong in a society where the niqaab is a symbol and tool of oppression. It makes little sense that such a tool of oppression would be worn publicly by women who are out doing things – working, shopping taking children to school, addressing conferences, changing the world… Again, if it was proved that the niqaab is forced upon women and used to oppress them, I would be among the first to call for a national debate. Admittedly there are cases in the World where the niqaabl is misused, but I think we would struggle to think of any form of practice or idea that hasn’t been misused for personal gain at some point. Those issues need addressing differently.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The 7th Black & Asian Writers Conference

We will be heading down to this great event, come join us!

Networking heaven and a thought-provoking experience for UK Black and Asian writers and budding writers — and those interested in their writing.

The 7th Black & Asian Writers Conference & Festival will be the biggest yet. Major
writers including Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, Malika Booker, Fred D’Aguiar, Sujata Bhatt, Bali Rai, Samuel Shimon, Dorothea Smartt, and Thomas Glave will be participating as well as Penguin publishers.

Also featuring young writers’ sessions, three book launches, information stalls, plus
a Festival in the evening featuring Slam Champion Stephanie Dogfoot, J P Cooper,
the Speakeasy band, Young Identity, and many more...

 For more info check out the official page:

MLF2013: The 7th Black & Asian Writers Conference (daytime)http://contactmcr.com/whats-on/6033-the-7th-black-asian-writers-conference

Monday, 9 September 2013

Selina at Numbi


Shake!r Update:




Just seen this lovely write-up of Selina's performance at Numbi Arts back in July by Funmi Adewole, one of the author's who'll be reading at tomorrow's Numbi Arts book launch with Sai https://www.facebook.com/events/574821395910749/?ref=22

Monday, 2 September 2013

Sai Murai - Book Launch at Numbi, Sept 10th


September the 10th marks a very special day for our very own super shake!r and awesome facilitator Sai.
 
The official London launch of Numbi resident poet Sai Murray's debut poetry collection: "Ad-liberation"  Delighting in cut-n-paste wordplay and following in the committed political footsteps of Gil-Scott-Heron and Linton Kwesi-Johnson, Sai's poetry offers personal takes on racism and challenges the inevitability of corporate power, consumerism and ecological blight. “wit and joyful engagement with language carries these poems to the heart”

As well as this Sai designed the beautifully crafted Scarf magazine which will also  launching on the evening. 




Check out  Sai here performing, 'Lament of a Suicidal Ad Man'



Come on down to Rich Mix on Tuesday , show your support and celebrate with us.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Shake!r's recommendation: Nathaniel's Top 5 Spoken Word Poems

Here are Nathaniel's top 5 spoken word poems. Check them out and let us know what you think? 

5. YOLO - George The Poet
This Made Me Think Once Again People Just Fall Into Place And Are Made To Believe They 
Have No Real Value.



4. Spoken Word - Dirty God
This Poem Made Me Think That People Just Fall Into Church And Religion With Out Believing 
Or Having A Reason To Be There. 
                                                      

3. Rap 101 - Doc Brown
It's Funny But The Message Is To Show The Difference Between Lower Class And Middle 
Class.




Sunday, 18 August 2013

Coming to a #Shake2013 Showcase Near You Soon!

Coming soon...!

Here's the atmospheric trailer for the forthcoming new short created by participants on the summer #Shake2013 one-week intensive course:


The theme for our summer Shake! was #PowerPropagandaPerceptions and this teaser gives a flavour of what to expect from the final film - you'll have to wait our showcase for that so stay tuned for the date of that exclusive release.

The Summer Shake2013 filmmakers are: Nathaniel, Khadiza, Umaru, Enayet and Minhaz who worked to cut this trailer in the last 2 hours of the workshops with Hi8us facilitators Hanan Majid & Richard York aka The Rainbow Collective.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Annie and Onysha performing for fundraiser 17th of Aug.

Here's event details of the Poetry Night featuring Shakers Annie Rockson & Onysha - Aug 17th Fundraiser for students in Kenya, Rwanda & Dominica.  Attend and show them some support :)


Monday, 12 August 2013

Few words from Zena post Shake!"13 @ BGAC

Zee grooving to Lucas Kelly's poem "Messy Python"
                                           
I am speechless. I can't even talk about tired after an intensive week of youth arts and activism because I've been so inspired by the voices of the young people on the this weeks Shake course. It has been empowering, emotional.... oh I could go on and on but I'm supposed to be speechless the resonance of the participants voices run so deep there are no adequate words (don't really cut it.)

Thanks to Farzana Khan, Edward Lewis, Sai Murray, Derek Richards, Marcina Arnold and Hannan and Richard from the www.rainbowcollective.co.uk for making it soooo easy to bring this dream project to fruition and to aaaaall the young people who invested so much of themselves to produced some incredibly powerful poetry and film. Am feeling blessed and honoured. I know I keep saying it but I must again - "I love my job!"
Big Love and Thanks to all.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

#Shake2013 at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre - photos

Whooo! There are never enough words or emotions to express what the Shake! intensive does to us. Minds officially blown! Thank you to all our wonderful facilitators and participants.

And in lieu of words - here's a first look at some of the photos from our summer Shake! up.
 
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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Idle No More by Umaru

Umaru Saidu  deliberated hard over this poem during the Shake course in Feb. A passionate reading at the Shake Voice, Verse, Power Showcase at the AlbanY, 23rd June 2013.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Human Trafficking by Khafi


A moving and thought provoking poem by Khafi Kareem filmed by Media 4 Youth at the Shake! Voice, Verse and Power showcase, Albany, 23rd June 2013.


Friday, 26 July 2013

Applications Open for Shake! Arts >> Media >> Race >> Power

Monday 5th – Friday 9th August 2013


FREE 5-day course for 16-25 year old's

Shake! is a dynamic youth initiative using art as a powerful non-violent force for change and a celebration of youth voices. Each day Shake! creative workshops will provide space to imagine what justice looks like, experiment with new ideas, learn new tools, work with incredible artists and inspire your imagination!

You can get a flavour of how it went from the pilot of the course that took place in 2010 in the trailer that was made by the young people who took part in the course, click here. To see the full video check out our videos sections.

Over the five days, the course will include:

>> interactive workshops, stimulating dialogue & skill-shares with practicing artists/activists/educators ZENA EDWARDS, SAI MURRAY, ED LEWIS, FARZANA KHAN, MARCINA ARNOLD, HI8US SOUTH to creatively campaign for change.


>> practical hands-on techniques in spoken word, online media, film/video and music technology to develop your ideas around injustice and power. 


>> access to a/v equipment, workshop spaces and refreshments at the landmark
Bernie Grants Art Centre Tottenham.


>> opportunity to showcase your work and continued involvement in the Shake! and Platform network.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Zena and Sai's Tributes to Jayne Cortez

Shake!'s poetry facilitators for our upcoming August course pay tribute to Jayne Cortez.

We've previously posted about John La Rose being an inspiration for Shake! together with New Beacon Books and the George Padmore Institiute - tonight these organisations are putting on an event paying tribute to the influential poet and activist Jayne Cortez with our Zena appearing on the bill.

Details here.

For those who were at our #VoiceVersePower showcase last month you will also have heard a poem from Sai that was written during a Jayne Cortez workshop. You can read the full poem over on Sai's blog and watch a performance of this piece on our showcase video together with interviews from the night and performances from the Shakers.










Tuesday, 16 July 2013

And …Where Do You and I Fit In?- Reflections on Coordinating Shake!

Some 9 months since joining Platform, I wanted to offer some reflection on working on Shake!, which is  the project I co-ordinate and what I largely work on. This piece is extracted from my concluding remarks at our last Shake! Showcase , slightly paraphrased for the blog reader. Shake! is a project that brings together young people, artists & campaigners to develop creative responses to social injustice. Our next Shake intensive course is running during 5-9 of August, info below.

Shake! intensive at the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust 22/02/2013
Whenever anyone asks me about Shake! and what is that we do, I always struggle and the more I get involved with Shake!, it becomes increasingly  harder. You’ll often find me deferring the responsibility and cheekily inviting the rest of the Shake! team or Shake! participants to answer, probing: “What is Shake! to you?” though this is often because being Voices That Shake!, we are conscientious  about ensuring people’s voices come through and each person has an opportunity to speak for themselves (especially seeing as everyone contributes and takes from Shake! uniquely and differently). It is also because I’m avoiding the responsibility of answering such an enveloping question, I find I can never express or do justice to the fullness of Shake!  However, now seems right to try.

I don’t know if you remember, a couple of years ago there was advert on T.V., I think it was some sort of banking advert, lets just suppose it was. It went along the lines of “Most banks offer you this service or this service, however we offer you this and this.”  Shake! in an entirely different sense evokes an and for me. Every time I describe what Shake! is, I find myself saying: “Shake! engages with: race and media and environment and power and social justice issues. It is a youth project but not just for young people, it informs activists and artists  and educators and older generations through its youth-led policy seminars and youth-led continuing professional development workshops( CPD). Shake! aims to diversify and inform art and activism and education and academia and social policy …” More than anything else I am saying and.  That being the case, I have come to realize that Shake! does in three definitive and profound ways embody an and for me.

Monday, 8 July 2013

News Flash: Shake! in the Red Pepper 'Summer of Action

Woop! Check out Shake! in the Red Pepper 'Summer of Action' http://www.redpepper.org.uk/summer-of-action/
More details on how to get involved with the shake! intensive this summer at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre below:   Spread the word :)

Friday, 5 July 2013

Shake! Update: Hannan Majid and Richard York, from Hi8us South join Shake! intensive.


EXCITING NEWS UPDATE: this Shake! we will have film makers Hannan Majid and Richard York, from Hi8us South. Derek Richard from Hi8us tells us:

Richard and Hanan tend to work together and/or interchange themselves across the duration of a project. This might seem unusual, but it always works for us. Here are links to recent projects of theirs which will make it clear why they're right for this work. They'll bring a lot to the week in general through the work they've been doing.

The Trailer for their most recent feature doc, The Machinist. It was released before the Rana factory collapse in Bangladesh, but has since been attached to campaign to raise money for the victims in addition to its original role as an awareness raising film about working conditions in garment factories in Bangladesh: 


The second is a short made about Adidas for War On Want on the same issue: http://vimeo.com/67196013

We are so excited to be working and learning with them.

If you are a budding film maker, or interested in film join us for our Shake! intensive, email farzana@platformlondon.org for an application.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Shake! Film: Perceptions



 

Here is the final edit of the film made by Shake! participants during our Shake! 2013 at the Stephen Lawrence  Charitable Trust, Deptford in February. The film was a response to a range of political discussions that took place during the week ranging from; power, race, media, misogyny, environment etc. Sam Liebmann and Derek Richards from Hi8us South supported Shake! participants to create, shoot and edit the film.

"It seems that during this time of need the work of our sector is looking more at how we can empower young people as social activists. Young people aren't just in need of support, they have perhaps the strongest desire to act for change and, as we've witnessed, produce some of the most creative socially engaged work.

Shake!  in February was like a breath of fresh air in the smog of negativity that many of us are experiencing. With Platform we're getting ready for the second run of 2013 in August. More news coming soon in the meantime check out this short piece, one of many outputs from the February workshops." 
- Derek Richards, Hi8us South

http://www.hi8us-south.co.uk/2013/05/shaking-perceptions/

Film by:  Ceris, Christina, Dershe, Holly, Ifthekar, Nathaniel.

For  more info on our summer Shake! August 5-9 at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, email farzana@platformlondon.org

Friday, 28 June 2013

Official: Shake! Showcase At Least 18% Better Than Glastonbury

Gender issues get a lot of discussion here at Shake! so it was with interest that we saw this article today on the representation of women on the line-up at festivals.

We thought it only fair that we checked ourselves and with a hasty count-up and re-design of our Verse/Voice/Power poster from last Sunday's event we were pleased to find that we seem to have got the balance about right.


52% of our advertised line-up defined as female (a whole 18% better than Glastonbury) and if you factor in some unavoidable abscences on the night together with the closing performance from Shake! co-ordinator Farzana this is boosted to 64% - yes, by these statistics we're almost twice better than Britain's iconic festival.
 

Nudge to Billy Bragg for a Shake! slot for next year's Left Field maybe? :)

Check out some of the performances of the night here: