Thursday, 30 May 2013

Shake! in the Metro newspaper.

Yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to find Shake! on the London Metro newspaper. We were selected as Rahul Verma's podcast picks. For those who missed it, check us out. Thanks Rahul :) 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate - Suli Breaks

Great Video about how some young people are wise to some of the failings of the education system. 
Virtually every line hits a point of observation to provoke thoughts about how education catergorizes people, and lacks true bearing to the current affairs in the real world. 
A serious comment on the future for young people.

Thanks to Nathaniel Chapman for the heads up on this one

A Messy Picture - By Nathaniel Chapman

Sometimes life is just raw. There are not pretty edges. There are no get out clauses. This poem speaks directly  to an experience that many young people feel today. It rolls with clarity, "no frills" but hard hitting and heartfelt. It asks for someone to take notice that young minds searching for answers. What response do you have?

A Messy Picture

Now I’m Just Sitting Here Reminiscing,
Feeling Out My Mind But Locked In Its Prison,
While The World Spins It Feels Like Its Drilling,
A Whole In My Soul While Its Slowly Killing.
Me, got my mind racing every time I see police
My head hurts and my heart aches I mean
How much pain does it take for a heart to break?
I mean look around you can see what’s up for stakes
No matter what the coppers state I will not be locked away
The systems a game but we don’t want to play

We have a life but with every second spent
We try to fit it
But for once can we please make our own decisions
Why does life hurt?
Feeling scared my emotions turn
Got me feeling anger because the system needs to learn
But it won’t
I’m just saying

You got the male youths spraying nines griping knifes taking lives
You got the female youths looking left looking right opening legs pregnant by
A boy who isn’t ready so he decides to leave because he don’t want what’s in her belly
She crying saying she’s messed up her life already
This could get messy

She turns to alcohol
He turns to weed
She goes to parties
He gives up his dreams
She takes drugs
He does a robbery
She’s feeling alone so she decides to cheat
He finds out and smacks her into next week
Now stop and think
What might become of their unborn seed?
I can see reality fading washing away
It’s not our fort we was raised this way
So we come to the question
Who’s to blame?

You could blame the dad who didn’t show his son how to treat a lady
You could blame the mum who didn’t show her daughter how to treat a baby
You could blame the police who didn’t give him a chance to explain maybe
You could blame the government for taking food away and stopping money daily
But I look at the world and I say
All this made me

Written by Nathaniel Chapman©

Monday, 20 May 2013

Shake! vs School?

Ed Lewis is part of the Shake! team, focusing in particular on political education. Here discusses the significance of the project for him and reflects on the most recent Shake! course, held at the Stephen Lawrence Centre this February.

I spend most of the working week as a teacher in a secondary school. I experience the pressures, challenges and limitations of working in compulsory education, as well as the rewards and pleasures that can come from doing so. Experiencing Shake! alongside my working life has been hugely interesting. Schooling can encourage teachers to have a restricted view of the capacities of young people – when their engagement is limited and their answers are one word long, cynicism can easily develop. Some teachers, myself included, are also disappointed when they encounter many of their students approaching their education in a fairly narrow way, seeing it ultimately as an economic investment, and the value of time in class to be judged in terms of how it will contribute to their exam results (there is a tendency for teachers to see things in these narrow terms too). There are a range of reasons why this is the case, but part of the answer is to be found in education itself. An obvious but too easily forgotten fact is that the content of formal education is overwhelmingly externally imposed – students are not encouraged to pursue their own interests, to develop intrinsic motivation around learning. And the mechanics of schooling – such as the relentless focus on target grades – and the rhetoric employed – such as the use of sports-style aspirational language – encourage the investment-oriented outlook of students.

So my first experience of Shake!, back in 2010, was a liberation. In a context devoted to thinking, learning and exploring in its own right, defined in many ways by the participants themselves, fusing political inquiry with creative activity, I saw an energy and engagement from several of my own students that I hadn’t encountered before. As an educator, it was a release to have the freedom to discuss and explore ideas without the confines of a highly prescribed curriculum. What’s more, I felt that I was able to utilise my skills – for all its problems, formal schooling does equip one with some valuable knowledge and capacities – in the service of critical political education in a way that is very difficult to achieve in school.  I’ve worked on Shake! ever since, buoyed by the energy of that week, and looked forward to re-launching the project, which we finally did this February (not that things were quiet in the interim – we did loads!).

Friday, 10 May 2013

Shake!r's Recommendation: Venus/Mars a play by Patrice Etienne


I hope you are well and enjoying the sporadic sunshine!

The theatre company I run (New Movement Theatre) have collaborated with Act Up this year and we are proud to present Venus/Mars by Patrice Etienne. The play hits the stage from 28th May-15th June at the Old Red Lion Theatre - I have pasted all the details below for you. Venus/Mars will also have an exclusive soundtrack made for it by BBC Radio 1 DJ Dev. It is an amazing play with a very unique script. I would love to see you all there!

Please find all other info below including the trailer to the piece - enjoy!

A World Premiere from Patrice Etienne
Directed by Rikki Henry
Produced by Gemma Lloyd
Exclusive Soundtrack by BBC Radio 1 DJ Dev
28th May - 15th June 2013

Buy Tickets Online:
Box Office:
0844 412 4307
This play has been developed with the support of Arts Council England.
                         *Captioned performance on Thursday 13th June.

"Sexual attraction soon gives way to negotiating the complexities of a grown-up relationship; toward a definition of what it really means to share your life with someone...

Look forward to hearing from you,

(*Any group bookings of 10 + people are eligible for £10.00 tickets)  

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Guest Blog by Saara: Review of Riots Reframed

Hello! My name is Saara and I’m going to be helping with the continuity workshops at Shake! Particularly with the monthly film screenings. I am really excited to get involved and learn from everybody!  I recently graduated from Leeds Uni in International Development and Spanish and am now a freelance journalist and learning to make my own documentary films. I think the film screenings will be a great opportunity to get together and share ideas, whilst also getting the chance to see really interesting films.  I look forward to meeting you all :)

Here is a review I wrote of Riots Reframed by Fahim Alam. We watched this as part of the Shake! continuity program at Platform.

Riots Reframed demonstrates the power of documentary in its true form. Raw and intelligent, it challenges the superficial mainstream analysis of the 2011 riots. We were told that a swathe of ‘mindless criminals’ took to the streets, a bunch of dangerous rebels running wild without a cause. Mainstream coverage created the impression that we as a society should point the finger at these young rioters, and that they alone should be blamed for what happened that August.