Monday, 7 April 2014

Self- Reparations: Art, Activism & Well-being

"Creativity is the immune system of the mind..." - John Holt, founder of Artists in Mind (AiM)

Once again I was shaken by the Shakers!
Feel very honoured to be one of the facilitators on this project as the generosity, trust, desire to learn, share, give and work together for change is genuine and inspiring from all. This is now the 4th Shake! intensive I've been lucky to be a part of and each time we have refined the formula with the feedback we receive and the collaborative process with the participants.  The collaboration between the art forms of film, music and poetry was much more integrated than past Shake!s and this worked well with lots of ideas how this can be developed further. The intensive was intense and our guest speakers set the scene with some stimulating presentations, exercises and dialogues. Still things we can tweak and tailor to improve in the structure possibly but from the results the participants produced at the end of the week - it worked. Fired and inspired with ideas from the participants energy, passion and powerful art and looking forward to keeping in touch with these new Shakers as we implement the continuity programme, next Shake events, writing collective and more.
This latest Shake! had some very welcome additions I felt - especially the well-being workshop as mental health and artist/activist burnout has been a topic that has arisen naturally in discussion on previous Shake!s so incorporating a dedicated space and time for us all to skill-share our experiences and feedback coping strategies was extremely useful and productive. This was only possible due to the trust and safe space that had been built up during the week and this resource list will hopefully stand people in good stead for the future.

There can be a lot of ego and foolishness in the arts world so it's been very refreshing to work with such a fantastic giving team of artists/activists - learnt a great deal from their methods, approaches, fun warm up techniques and yoga breathing skillz. (Sai)

We did a pool of what we all do in our day to day lives to promote well-being in our art, activism and just generally. Here is what we came up with:
  • Stop and breath ( deep breaths)
  • Give without expecting even in our creativity 
  • Switch off from electronic pollution 
  • SMILE!!!
  • Surround yourself with safe networks 
  • Build a nice inner voice 
  • Meditate 
  • Remember things you are grateful for 
  • Remember the inner child inside of you
  • Be kind
  • Learning how to say NO!: unlearning expections 
  • Cleaning up and opening windows 
  • Scream into a pillow
  • Deactivate social networks for a while
  • Aromatherapy
  • Remember 'Life isn't a rehearsal'
  • Do what makes you happy 
  • Have a long bath 
  • Yoga 
  • Painting 
  • Exercise 
  • Re-defining our social environments 
  • Lionel Ritchie
  • Knitting 
  • Playing the keyboard - make music 
  • Pray 
  • Download a self-control app

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

DIY 11: 2014 Call for proposals

Want to run training for artists on race & intergenerationality? 

In partnership with LADA we are making a call for proposals on the following theme:

Let Go Of The Shore*
Shake! seeks proposals on live art, intergenerationality and race. You are invited to devise a project that brings together artists committed to thinking and making work against racism, and who want to learn, experience and create across and between the generations. The proposals should take into consideration the age range from 16 years to venerable old age.

[*from a poem by The Elders Oraibi]

DIY is an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run unusual training and professional development projects for other artists. DIY understands that the development of a Live Art practice is as much about the exploration of ideas and experiences as training in skills and techniques, and past DIY projects have proved to be invaluable experiences for project leaders, participants and organisers alike. We want to hear from you if have an idea for an exciting, innovative and idiosyncratic Live Art professional development project that offers something new and is geared to the eclectic and often unusual needs of artists whose practices are grounded in challenging and unconventional approaches, forms and concepts. If you think you can initiate and run a DIY professional development project then read the guidelines below and send us a proposal.

We plan to support a minimum of 23 DIY projects all across the country that will take place between July and November 2014. Each project will receive £1,000 support.
DIY projects may take any form, can be based anywhere, and can be loosely or rigorously focused on a specific theme/content. We particularly welcome proposals from artists from culturally diverse backgrounds and disabled artists, and artists working in other “politicized” territories.
Although DIY projects can take place anywhere and be about anything, this year we will again be looking for some projects to happen in the areas where the various partner organisations are based, and inviting projects that respond to a number of specific themes.

More info on LADA website page.

DIY is an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run unusual training and professional development projects for other artists.

Deadline for proposals to run DIY 11 2014 projects: Noon Tuesday April 29th, 2014.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Shake February 2014 sharing

 Another February half term. Another Shake Intensive.

This Shake was perhaps one of the most free-flowing organic Shakes we’ve had. The discussions were epic with Adam Cooper provoking us to think about policing when we are aware of our rights as citizens, while Mark Fisher’s discussion was a historical journey through social justice with an understanding of how capitalism and equality have evolved and conflicted over time. We were left asking so many questions to help us re-imagine. Esther Stanford’s (PARCOE)  talk on reparations was mind blowing, educational and so enlightening, opening pathways to how we think about the damage done through colonialism in the light of constructive repairing beyond the money. “There are some things money cannot heal.”  said Heritier.
The poetry created by our Shakers was reflective, moving, soul searching and invigorating. Our poets found a lot of voice through music with the help of Marcina. Best to let them speak for themselves. Here is a recording of three of you Shakers – Heritier, Orla and Zareen.

Heritier has a powerful vocal and his poem is translated by Selina Nwulu, one of our Shake participants from 2010 and now a strong poets and activist in her own right.

Orla’s piece, has a timelessness about it asking the listener to put themselves in her shoes how would they feel about the world they live in - 
 “I want to get lost on purpose…”

And Zareen, writes a hit with a great hook and a strong lyrical flow – 
“Hold on and not be broken,
intertwining, diving, rising, trying here
out in the open.”

Well done all. Will be posting more of February 2014 Shake poems soon!

Art of Nature - by Grainne and Orla

As part of Shake! continuity Orla and Grainne attended a training weekend on the art of nature. Here are some of their reflections on the weekend.

The Art of Nature event featured many artists and environmental activists who discussed their own projects. These projects really blurred the boundaries between art and environmental activism demonstrating how artists do have a role very much beyond art for arts sake.  
Below are some of the highlights of the weekend and projects you might be interested in:
 Shelly Sacks had given a talk about “The university of the trees”. This encouraged the use of alternative thinking such as using intuition and experiential learning to bring people together to discuss ideas and question our concepts of knowledge. After the talks there was time to split into groups and discuss issues further or to go outside and practice the 'University of the Trees' concepts. We were given free reign to how we did this.  so she proposed to the group that she was going to have a wander outside to find a tree and welcomed members of the group to join her as a place to discuss and think about some questions. As It was a sunny day and I was getting tired sitting indoors I joined her groups:

The questions:

·       What are the key issues regarding the relationships between people and nature?

·       How do social cultural things relate to nature?

·       How do we build a knowledgeable active population to protect nature and ourselves?

Some of us stayed behind in the meeting room where we transformed the space into an interactive sculpture using the chairs and paper.
 The tree our group chose, in a playground, just outside Greenpeace HQ. The tree had two basketballs lodged in its stumpy branches, had been chopped back quite a bit, but still stood tall through the close approaching tarmac.

It was an interesting experience going out together to find a tree, once we had found a tree and put the banner around it we all felt a different connection to the space and each other. Passers-by also stopped for discussion. We all noted how we noticed the other trees nearby from the space a lot more now and felt better connected to the nature in the area. When asked how I felt I mentioned that in a forest the trees act as a network, helping each other out and I had heard that if a tree becomes weak the other trees help it out through their connections to each other and build it back up through the forest network. This relates to everyday life, and the tarmac and the fences around this tree are disconnecting it from the other trees and sometimes we can become disconnected form each other in built up areas too. The stronger connections we have with each other the stronger we become, and we can learn form nature that way. When we came back into the building and into the room with everyone else,
it seems artists don’t like being kept sitting on chairs for too long! it drives them a bit crazy! - Some of the group had responded with an art installation involving all the chairs in the room and ripping up sheets of paper! It certainly ended the day on and ice-breaker ready for the next day! :)

   Clive Owen- Soil Culture

   Clive’s talk was very useful! I (Grainne) am working with an not-for-profit community interest group LESS in Lancaster at the moment on a game they have got funding to develop / which is a social, experimental game that aims to get people engaging more with their environment, each other, and thinking about their everyday choices in a playful, yet eco/ethically minded way.In Clive's talk he spoke about a project “Games people Play” which was a series of activities and exhibitions put on by ‘Soil Culture’ and ‘The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World’. He said how “Games can tell us a great deal about human nature” He gave some great examples of games that are all ready out there that get us to question our everyday choices and ethics:

·     PaulaOwen- Eco action trumps

·     Evoke– social network game “10 week crash course in saving the world” 

·     Phonestory – an educational app that shows the dark side off where your phone came from 

·     FeeRice – Play to help world hunger

He also discussed sport and our emotions in sport – territorial control, attachment to a team, triumphs, despair, confidence, and anxiety. He showed some Photography by Newsha Tavakolian that emphasise sport emotion.
There was a lively discussion after his talk and lots of focus on the gaming side of his talk. It was pointed out that there is a big “generation of gamers at the moment that we need to tap into”. There was also a quite amusing heated debate about the game ‘Candy Crush’, one group member was discussing how her teenage son wastes so much time on the game, another group member fired back that she doesn’t see why it is a problem for people to play Candy Crush if they want too, especially on a tube journeys where time is wasted anyway and she felt that sometimes games are a good tool to disconnect us from ourselves and society.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For…Shake! 2014

Shake! intensive course as per usual - INTENSE and immense. 
Thank you to all the wonderful participants and facilitators who created such an imaginative, trusting and powerful space to be in last week. As Sai would say "Hold tight and hug tight" for some upcoming blogs on the week, our Shake! film and of course our Shake! Showcase.

Before then, enjoy this poem Maaike shared as part of her concluding thoughts on the Shake! week.

We Are the Ones
We've Been Waiting For

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.

Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.

And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?

What are you doing?

What are your relationships?

Are you in right relation?

Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.
—The Elders Oraibi

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Marcina Arnold: Poetry and Music

The multi-talented Marcina Arnold is joining Shake! for the second time to collaborate with our poets, helping turn their work into beautiful and powerful musicalised pieces of spoken word or song.

As a contribution to our reflections on our current Shake! themes, “Remembering, Re-imagining, Reparations”, Marcina shared with us her poem Common Rumour, which was featured in her first album.

Common Rumour speaks of the struggles of being of multi heritage and dealing with other people’s perceptions and projections. Marcina’s poem, enhanced by a mix of enchanting sounds from across the globe, proposes that we re-imagine multi heritage, eliminating prejudice and assumptions that define how we see each other.

“It was a common rumour, that being mixed would be confusing…”

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Applications open for #Shake2014 at Stephen the Lawrence Centre

Our next shake up >> 17th-21st February 2014 << at the Stephen Lawrence Centre Charitable Trust.

facebook event

Applications now open for our FREE! 5 day course on Art/ Race/ Media/ Power for 16-25's.

See below for more info & how to apply