Monday, 21 November 2011

Solidarity and justice for Stephen

Doreen speaks at the Shake! Preview, Feb 2011
'I can't tell you what art does or how it does it, but I know that often art has judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten. I know too that the powerful fear art when it does this, and that amongst the people such art sometimes runs like a rumour and a legend because it makes sense of what life's brutalities cannot, a sense that unites us, for it is inseparable from a justice at last."*    (writer and activist John Berger)

On 16th November 2011, the re-trial finally opened against two men accused of taking part in a racially motivated fatal stabbing of Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago at a bus stop in Eltham, London. 

Doreen Lawrence, family, and supporters have campaigned long and hard for this moment, not only fighting on multiple fronts to take on the system, but also bringing creativity and hope through the work of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. The demand for justice for Stephen has been a central issue for Shake! and everyone at Shake! offers our solidarity with them in this intense and urgent process of re-trial.

Shake! sees what happened to Stephen that day as symptomatic of a deep psychosis at the heart of Britain that must still be confronted and countered daily. Equally symptomatic is that the police investigation was negligent to the point of racism. This was

Friday, 11 November 2011

More on Britain on Trial

See an interesting review by a participant in Britain on Trial - Gloria Dawson - on the Platform blog.

And here is some feedback from Shake! young poets Rotimi Skyers & Selina Nwulu:

What did you get out of the whole thing? What was the most interesting aspect for you??
Nathaniel reads

ROTIMI: There was a lot more of a connection between two generations. Normally we get preached at and hear what they are saying, but we don't normally listen to what they went through. My parents grew up in that generation but it's not like I really listen to them and I didn't realise we have more in common than i thought, especially when we saw visual images - the films - that hooked me. 

The whole asylum seeking thing - I didn't realise it was that bad. In school they don't speak about them in a good way and I didn't see it a major issue or how it relates to racism, but today it helped reinforce the fact that racism is an international issue which needs to be put on trial.
SELINA: To see the journey an idea takes from the Britain on Trial poem to the event was really cool, Hearing different perspectives on topics that I didn't previously know about  was really interesting. The mini-lectures were the most interesting for me. I liked all of them but I really really liked the third one on displacement. All the speakers complimented each other complemented really really well.

What did you learn that was important for you? Or surprised you?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Zodwa Nyoni - A Letter for Mama Oluwale

One of the most successful aspects of Britain On Trial was the coming together and sharing of experiences between active, articulate, dedicated young people from two different parts of the UK and from two different artistic organisations - Leeds Young Authors and Shake!.

Zodwa Nyoni, a Leeds Young Authors alumni (Leeds Superheroes of Slam winner 2011 & Voices of A New Generation winning poet coach 2011 just the latest of her long list of acolades...) was a part of the 15 minute speed-lecture on "Racism, Young People and the Police" and followed poetry from Shake!'s Rotimi and Selina - who opened proceedings with Britain on Trial and her response to Stephen Lawrence's murder, Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Zodwa provided the perfect closing contribution to this opening speed-lecture by bringing the topic back home to Leeds with a dedication to David Oluwale - a Nigerian killed in police custody back in 1969 and still, over 40 years later, the only case ever of criminal convictions for officers involved in a police-related death since records began in 1970.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Esther puts BRITAIN ON TRIAL for Libyan War Crimes

AFRIKA SPEAKS with Sister Ekua
Weds 8-10pm
We were incredibly fortunate to have Esther Stanford-Xosei feature on our Britain On Trial programme and the Verdict she delivered to bring together all the issues of the day was a powerful, fitting and marvellous close to the event. Audio up on the blog soon...

As ever, Esther continues her amazing campaigning and activism for global justice and her show tonight picks up the Britain on Trial theme concentrating on Britain's war crimes in Libya.

You can listen to her show Afrika Speaks on Voice of Africa radio tonight and every Wednesday from 8pm-10pm.

Full details below:


The barbaric summary lynching of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on October 20, 2011 and the circumstances leading up to it raises some serious questions about who should be held to account for the war crimes and other violations of international law committed by the Western-backed National Transitional Council (NTC) rebels and NATO forces.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Introducing Britain on Trial Court Sketch Artist: Patricia Bongani

As well as a packed programme full of poetry, speed-lectures, film, workshops, creative writing, discussions, dialogue, movement, presentations, food, tea, exhibitions, intergenerational & interdisciplinary dialogue - phew! - we were also able to commission the artistic talents of a young poet to be our Court Sketch Artist.

Here is a preview of one of Patricia Bongani's sketches featuring doctor, academic, author, writer, activist, organiser - and after his successful debut on Saturday - now performance poet!!! - Dr Carl Hylton. 

In addition to being an artist, Patricia Bongani is also a poet - and was in fact Team Captain for the Leeds Young Authors team that hoped to travel to Brave New Voices in 2011 as well as being a successful member of the LYA team that won the UK National Slam in 2010 and also a two-time winner of the UK's longest running youth team slam & literature festival with Ralph Thoresby school at Voices of A New Generation in 2009 & 2010.

Check Pati performing her powerful poem "The Loudest Silence"which speaks to many of the themes discussed at Britain On Trial:

BRITAIN ON TRIAL- The Charge - Young Voices Speak Out!


The first photos are up on flickr featuring snapshots of the first order of the day - THE CHARGE:

Welcome by: Esther Stanford-Xosei
-co-Vice-Chair of PARCOE (the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe)

Outline of the day by: Jane Trowell
- Shake! coordinator/ Platform Education coordinator

+ on the gavel/ strict 5 minute time keeping Tibetan chimes!!! - Khadijah Ibrahiim
- Artistic Director Leeds young Authors

Mini-lectures by young people and activists/academics on:

> Racism, young people and the police
Selina Nwulu - poems: Britain on Trial/ Thou Shalt Not Kill 
Rotimi Skyers - poems: Ignite/ Hug 
Zodwa Nyoni - A Letter for Mama Oluwale - poem dedicated to David Oluwalwe

> Consumer Capitalism, advertising, and young people; Media portrayal of youth
Sai Murai - overview of consumer capitalism + powerpoint presentation on evils of advertising 
Samia Aziz - talk on women & consumerism (ref: UNICEF report + Consumer Kids book)
Paris Kaur - poem: Barbie Girl

> History of displacement; contemporary refugee/asylum seeker realities
Dr Carl Hylton - overview of history of displacement: trans-atlantic Afrikan enslavement 
Dr Stuart Hodkinson - Britain's immigration system on Trial inc. powerpoint presentation
Germain Naruhana - harrowing personal testimony of asylum seeker experience

Monday, 24 October 2011

Britain on Trial: Young People Speak Out: Full Programme details

The Carriageworks, Leeds, this Saturday 29th October, 11.30 - 7pm

Anyone wanting to listen to young people and discuss with us how to take a stand and foster creative resistance to institutional racism – you should come to this. The re-trial for justice for Stephen Lawrence is beginning in November. The country is trying to pretend the ‘riots’ never happened. In Britain on Trial, we ask “where are we now” through a day of workshops and an evening performance to expose Britain’s injustices. 

Hosted by an incredible coalition of Leeds Young Authors, London’s “Shake! Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power” and Leeds University academics from the MA Activism and Social Change, with collaborators from Leeds Bi-Centenary Transformation Project, and Leeds Black Film Club. Chaired by outstanding activist and speaker Esther Stanford-Xosei of Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition of Europe.


This day is a unique rich mix of politics, art & creativity, and history, driven by young people's own experiences and analyses in collaboration with leading artists and campaigners. Don't miss out.   

Book now, email

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Unheard: more great feedback

Ro, Kadish, Selina on the panel
The emails are still coming in about Shake's event "The Unheard: Youth, the 'riots', and the media" at Rebellious Media Conference on 9th October.

"...I was over at the Rebellious Media Conference and caught the discussion on the London riots that you  guys were involved in facilitating. It was fantastic....."  From Rabble Magazine  (Dublin)

"...I went to your session about the media and the london riots at the Rebellious Media Conference and I can honestly say I cannot rave enough about the session and the issues discussed.  I have literally told every person I've seen since then about how impressed I was!  Since getting back to Glasgow I spent my whole morning at work learning about the the work you do and about all the people involved, this has only increased my admiration for the organisation and makes me a little gutted that I don't live in London to get involved..."
Samia tells it
 Cairsti (Glasgow)

We're waiting for some audio, and video... keep an eye out.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Nigeria Festival, and SLC in the news

The Nigeria Festival looks amazing, happening next week. Get over to The Albany, Deptford if you can...Check out the varied arts and culture programme

And it was great to see Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust featured in a whole page 'top story'  in yesterday's Daily Mirror, promoting the bursaries scheme. 

The Mirror is partner for this year's SLCT 18:18 Gala at London Zoo on 20th October, which marks 18 years since Stephen's murder...

Praises for Shake event at Rebellious Media Conference

Well, we seemed to have totally hit the spot on Sunday with our session "The Unheard: Youth, the 'riots' and the media" at Rebellious Media Conference.

+ here's one of many praising tweets, and an extract from same person on a blog review of the conference:

Best workshop of the RMC, many thanks...

...On Sunday I went to the forum on alternative voices from ‘the riots’ this was a focused and well organised session; probably worthy of the trip in itself.  A number of young people talked about their experiences of the riots, their interpretations of mainstream media as well as their analysis of the causes.  They expressed themselves in a variety of ways, including using video and poetry.  This was the ‘rebellious media’ I was looking for, not mirroring the current inadequacies but finding common ground with others and allowing their own expression to be the media.  Concerns of those close to events were raised, not mediated through some elite journalist with a decontextualised catchphrase. This is what a radical media conference should look like as voices from the heart of relevant issues command centre stage while networking and organising follow...  

Monday, 10 October 2011

Mainstream Media Coverage of UK "Riots" compared to War Reporting: John Pilger & Greg Philo at the Rebellious Media Conference

We had an amazing and inspiring experience at the Rebellious Media Conference this weekend and a full house and lively discussion for our session on Unheard Voices: Youth,‘The Riots' and the Media. A proper write up and review of that event and more links soon but for now here is the discussion on the mainstream media's coverage of the UK August uprisings featuring John Pilger and Greg Philo. A more complete video featuring the same discussion is also available here.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Come to "Britain on Trial", Saturday 29th October, Leeds

Enough is enough
Back in June, Platform, Leeds Young Authors and University of Leeds academics from the MA in Activism and Social Change put in an application to the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2011.  Unlikely context for Shake you think?? Well, talking with Shake's Simon Murray who also works with Leeds Young Authors, we realised that Shake! and LYA are in fact not just doing 'social science' but creating it.  The two groups of creative young people have loads of analysis, loads to teach the world about Britain's rough justice and countless injustices, north and south. On top of that, another incredible step in the search for justice for Stephen Lawrence had just been announced: a re-trial of two defendents due to start in November 2011, testament to the extraordinary determination of Doreen Lawrence. The Festival was also a great opportunity to have conversations with Leeds' radical academics about the work.

What with the chance to get Shake! out of London and in touch with an award-winning group of young power-writers from a great Northern city, we decided to go for a slice of the cash.

Then we heard we got the money....

UpRise Anti-Racism Festival was amazing

It really felt like this...

On Sunday, various Shakers were revelling in "Community is Home", UpRise's 2011 Festival happening across 14 venues in Dalston, Hackney. The day was bright and warm, and the vibe was fantastic.  Boris Johnson's decision to remove funding from the original "Rise" Festival did not deter the many committed individuals and organisations from making this incredibly important festival happen for the second year running. Huge noise for Paul Richards and the team..Yay! 

From hanging out in the Eastern Curve Garden eating stone-baked pizza among the vegetable beds...

Monday, 26 September 2011

What is Shake's 'Continuity Programme'?

So, the unique thing about Shake! is that each course is followed by a programme of support, training and serious opportunities for young Shakers. We call this the Continuity Programme. The artists, Platform and Shakers are always on the look out and share information.  This leads to a lot of activity... And more and more, Shake! is also on the wanted list for lots of initiatives, generating more opportunities than we can take up.

Here are the some of the major things that happened in 2010/11:
Thinking through our Mission Statement

Mentoring, Training and Networking
- 3 separate trainings with the young people on Fundraising, Communications, and Social media, held in Platform and facilitated by Shake's artists and Platform.
- Creating a Mission Statement together - what's it for, why it's needed, how to get it right.
- the artists and Platform acting as mentors through formal meetings at Platform, and one-to-one contact by email or phone.
- Regular general communications sustained through email, blog, FB, Twitter and newsletters.
- Shakers are self-accessing blog, drafting and publishing the newsletter

Opportunities and Career Development
For our first year out, there were also masses of opportunities for Shake! participants, learning and working alongside Shake's artists and Platform:

- 2 young people were subsidised by a Platform bursary to participate in a course "Women, Creativity and Dissidence" run by writer Nawal El-Saadawi at Goldsmiths, Nov 2010, organised by African Writers Abroad. 
- 3 young people were ambassadors for Shake! and Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust's launch night "Switch On", 17.2.11, meeting and talking with over 100 people about Shake!
- 3 young people from Shake! were videographers on "Afro 1" at BFI and "Afro Too", both Railroad 7 showcases celebrating a Black Cultural Leadership (BLC) programme, held at the BFI in March and RSA on 30.3.11, supported by Shake! artist and BLC award winner DJ Eric Soul.
- 1 young woman performed with Apples & Snakes for the first time (July 2011).
- 2 young people performed at the UpRise Anti-Racist Festival fundraiser "UpRise Live" at Proud Galleries, Camden, 31.5.11, supported by 2 Shake artists
- 1 young man, training to be an architect, has taken up volunteering at Stephen Lawrence Centre and will be speaking at a major event there in the Autumn
- 2 young women took part in weekend creative workshops for women called "Travelling Light" 24 & 30.7.11 a project by Shake! artist Zena Edwards 

There's more coming all the time. 

Zena’s Travelling Light sessions

Shake! participant Samia Aziz reflects on her experience during Travelling Light, run by Shake! artist and facilitator Zena Edwards

Over the 24th and 30th July, Zena Edwards facilitated two exciting and fun-filled days of discussion, debate, creativity and writing around the issue of female identity. The aim was to unpack the baggage we, as young women, have bestowed upon us from a very young age. A group of young women aged between 17 and 46 worked together over the two weekends, answering the fundamental question: “Why does my gender hold me back?”

The first session consisted of writing, meditation, talking and drawing time lines. In the session, we spoke about things and memories we hold dear, specifically as women. We shared experiences of feeling targeted and intimidated by the media, and made full use of and enjoyed the range of ages in the room! Together we made a timeline which showed how some experiences are specific to some ages, while at the same time celebrating those we all share. One of the most moving parts of the workshop was a session of meditation, where each participant was asked to take on the emotions which we possessed at different ties in our lives: our childhood, adolescence, and those we hold now. While this was a very deep and intense task, the feedback from individuals was heartening and enlightening.

In between the two workshops, there was a six-day break where we were encouraged to micro-journal. In short, this was so we would develop a habit of recording our thoughts and feelings, or those things, which particularly struck us. We were gifted with small notebooks, and encouraged to write a little everyday, or draw or take pictures.

We met again 6 days later, eager to share our thoughts and feelings. The final day of workshops consisted of the sharing of stories, wisdom of our loved ones and lots of laughter. We sat admiring the lives of cats and toddlers, who seem so unaffected by the world around them, and can just “be”. There was ample opportunity for creativity, with people writing and scrap-booking.

The workshops were an incredible opportunity to take some time out of the usual busyness of life and explore issues very personal to us. It’s amazing how something can have such a big impact on your life, and you not realise.

Youth, Media and Riots - we need to hear from you!

Shake! is very excited to be part of the Rebellious Media Conference, which will be taking place in Central London on 8-9 October. The event will feature speakers such as Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Laurie Penny and will bring together writers, activists, journalists and students, to raise rarely asked questions about the relationship between the mainstream media, power and democracy. These people are seeking, or making, their own forms of rebellious media.

Shake! will be hosting a workshop on the civil unrest of 6-10 August, titled 'The Unheard: Youth, the "Riots", and the Media'. While there has been an outpouring from the media around these events, very little of this actually takes into consideration the views of young people – despite them occupying centre stage. Moreover, the media seems to present every young person as the same, ignoring the uniqueness and individuality of every person and different social contexts in which events took place. So let us hear from you! Fill in our online questionnaire and tell us what YOU think about the civil disturbances, and in particular how the media portrayed them. And please circulate it to others!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Shake! one year on

We recently asked some participants in the August 2010 Shake! course for some reflections, one year later, and this is some of what they said. In light of the recent 'riots', we are more determined than before to make Shake! the most effective project it can be...

"One of the first things Shake helped me do, was to find confidence in my writing. This helped me personally record and write about my experiences of the student movement - pieces of writing which I am sure will remain with me for some time. Since the course last summer, I have maintained contact with facilitators and artists, who have offered insightful workshops around fundraising and social media. The artists have helped shape and improve my poems, which has been invaluable. I have also worked on producing the Shake newsletter and maintaining the blog."  Samia

"I initially joined the shake project with an interest in the video workshops that were being held for a week.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Story from South to North


Is this glitter or is this glass? Is this the shattered hope of a nation now so preoccupied with its economy that we have now been reduced to the burning of public policy?

Burn, bright lights, burn. Illuminate the faces of those who are guilty and shed light upon those who died victims of the deeper political unrest.

Once we stood together, now we are forced apart. The money will always talk, but the heart will always scream. The conservation of liberty has become a joke for those above who feed on the lower man’s wallet. A yacht for heart surgery.

In the background, as this is typed, the news and far-off cries of anger are heard. Car-alarms blare. The greed of the forgotten has reached its climax. What began as a call for peace and remembrance fell into despair.

Only here could rioters be this young, this greedy. They attack the companies from which they can reap material benefits. A school has been hit. The attackers laugh it off, a sport for them to enjoy.

Only this in the city where anything can happen. A city where all are free? They call this a ‘battle’, but watch the videos on YouTube and the pictures which appear on Facebook. Tomorrow I will venture into the ruins of the city I must call my home to document the ravages of a war yet to begin.

This is an attack on the government, but what do they expect in return? Money, a job, an education? The government has to be intact for any of this to be available; so they destroy the city, cost the country millions in repairs. A country already in debt from borrowing and bailing. Whose fault is this really?

The nation watches as its capital slowly destroys itself.

Is this London?


If one could observe from a purely impassive point of view, then it is likely that one would consider a myriad of thoughts and opinions on the matter. One such opinion would be that, whilst it is understandable that there have been riots, the level of the violent acts committed is in no way justified by any excuse, ideal nor idle thought that any of the participants in Croydon burning can argue with.

The bright blaze flashes through my eyes brightened by the television screen I see through. It's too bright, too hot, too light, people are in danger and risking their lives, doing the jobs they're paid to do whilst the children run riot and fight. What will happen when morning light arrives, and there is nothing left but dying embers and wailing sirens?

I cannot, with good nor bad faith, say I condone nor condemn the initial actions of my fellow youths, but I can say this much. To react with such a level of violence, to burn down buildings and to riot on the streets, because one is angry and upset with the status quo does not make one better, nor does it make one worse. It makes one human in such an intrinsic and fundamental way that, if any were to deny it, they would be in denial of what it is that makes a human, human.

In essence, what I am trying to say is; humans are destructive by nature. But we are also creative. We can take a little of this and a little of that, and make the most wonderful of things, and the most damning too. It does not do us well to deny the darkest part of our personality, nor to glorify it.

These teens, these young people who I call my generation, are glorifying the act of violence as they equate it to their only way of reacting to what they perceive as injustice. Though, I suppose that, by now, they themselves do not even know why they’re really rioting anymore. If one could even call this rioting.

Surely a riot would have some fundamental purpose and endgame as opposed to chaos and disorder. I shan’t use the term Anarchy, as the media is so good at demonising it without my assistance, because Anarchy is wholly different from this madness I see on the television screen.

Whole buildings burnt to nothing more than ash, the flames so hot to melt the metal tracks for the trams on the streets. This is not a riot. This is a war-zone and the opposing forces seem to be in as much discord as the flames eating away at buildings seem to be.

Keep Calm and Carry On!

IGNITE - Poem by Rotimi Skyer

Written on the night ot Tottenham unrest.
More voices of our Positive Young please.

Black engulfs da air
Smoke blocks out sky
Hands raised up high
Black is da youth
Emotions feel da heat
ppl burnt too much to retreat

Bullet tears thru black
Pigs grunt in their sty
mama looks up to da sky oh my oh my at da sky she asks,



Copyright Rotimi Skyers

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Our first meeting for the 'Britain on Trial - Arts and Activism' event

Jane, Rotimi, Samia and Selina from the SHAKE! collective took a day trip to Leeds yesterday to meet up with Khadijah and Simon, facilitators from Leeds Young Authors and Stuart, a researcher from the University of Leeds MA in Activism & Social Change. The meeting was planned to lay down the groundwork for the "Britain on Trial" arts and activism event that will take place on October 29th as part of the ESRC's Festival of Social Science.

This event, which will take place in Leeds, will use the Stephen Lawrence re-trial as a starting point to ask,  "where are we now" through a day of workshops and an evening of performances to expose Britain's countless injustices. Exploring themes such as identity, justice and race through creative workshops, 10 minute speed-lectures and evening speakers, the day will aim to inspire the young people involved in the day to think honestly about themselves and the country they live in today. Britain on Trial, an initiative created by SHAKER Selina, aims to question unjust aspects of British society through creative mediums such as poetry, illustration, photography, short film and essays. The idea to use this as the umbrella theme for the event came organically with a view to unite the various disciplines of the group and the discussions that will take place in the day.

It was a great first meeting that allowed us to get to know each other better and we are looking forward to the planning that will follow. Big thank you to Simon for lending us his house, beautiful garden and making homemade bread - beats a stuffy boardroom any day! No thanks to the pompous man on the train who told us to be quiet in the middle of a full-on discussion about race, empire, language, identity and culture. He could have joined in, eh?

Watch this space for more updates on the Britain on Trial event! Also, check out the Britain on Trial website to find out more and get involved in Selina’s project:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Check out "Lifting the Lid"

Recently sent info about this exciting new organisation Lifting the Lid, set up in Manchester by Kooj Chuhan and colleagues, exploring "radical ideas, approaches, histories". Seems like some potentially close links to SHAKE! here. See the first two of Lifting the Lid aims:

To develop and practice project activity through which:-

  • people can understand where the issues they have to deal with come from
  • people can explore possible tools to act on those issues by looking at examples from other places, histories and heritage....
Kooj was also a founder of artists' collective Virtual Migrants and has a long history of working on issues of race, asylum and refugee issues,  and grass-roots cultural projects. PLATFORM worked with Virtual Migrants on our C Words season at Arnolfini in 2009. Exciting!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Rotimi's poem "Hey Stevie" presented to Doreen Lawrence

It was such a special moment last Thursday, when Rotimi Skyers and Nuha Baruti from SHAKE! presented a beautifully designed poster of Rotimi's poem to Doreen Lawrence at the Stephen Lawrence Centre.

Doreen was guest of honour at the SHAKE! Preview at The Albany in February, and was very struck by "Hey Stevie" and the way Ro performed it. She told us she'd love a copy for her wall, so we commissioned the wonderful Liquorice Fish to work with Ro on the design. You can listen to "Hey Stevie" here.

The framed poster in the exhibition space at SLC

Buy one and support SHAKE's development 
We have a limited edition of these beautiful A2 posters on high-quality paper, at £20 each p&p.
Email us!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Bus is launched in Tottenham!

On Tottenham Civic Day, 25th June, the day dawned damp. But we needn't have worried. The weather held and a good crowd enjoyed the full programme of outdoor performances, creative artists' stalls, and delicious barbecue that was laid on by the great staff at Bernie Grant Arts Centre

The Centre is the new home for PLATFORM's spectacular life-sized steel Bus, the Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa by Sokari Douglas Camp, which was launched at 1pm that day.

Two musicians playing talking drums led people to the Bus from the courtyard.  John Baraldi, the Centre's Chief Executive introduced the event, and there were speeches by the artist Sokari Douglas Camp, Ben Amunwa (Platform's Nigeria campaigner), local Friends of the Earth activists, and very movingly, Maria Saro-Wiwa, Ken's widow. Shake's very own Zena Edwards read her achingly beautiful "Photo of a Girl", inspired by a photograph taken in a village criss-crossed with pipelines in the Niger Delta by Ed Kashi. The speeches ended with Bruce Grove councillor Joseph Ejiofor, and an amazing performance on the Bus's rooftop barrels by Bawren Tavaziva, Artistic Director of Tavaziva Dance Company which is based at the Centre.

It was fantastic to see Jonathan from Shake! 2010 there. He'd come up from Lewisham with his parents and it was a great reunion for us. Jonathan came into Platform three days later to look at materials on Nigeria for some art projects he's developing. We're looking forward to working closely with Bernie Grant Arts Centre and artists-activists in the area during the next months, especially creating a Shake! course there, tailored for Tottenham...

See the video featuring Maria Saro-Wiwa
See photos from the day

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Two Charged with Stephen Lawrence Murder

Two men are to face trial for the murder of London teenager Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago.
Gary Dobson and David Norris have been charged with killing the 18-year-old at a bus stop in Eltham in 1993.
Dobson, 35, and 34-year-old Norris were arrested last September but the development could not be reported until today for legal reasons.

Read more at:

Let Justice be fully done.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


I realise that the subject matter of this post may have little to do with the message of SHAKE!, but after my English exam this morning and my Psychology exam this afternoon, I felt the need to muse on the necessity of examinations. Why do we have them and what purpose do they serve? Especially in an 'international' qualification.

Friday, 22 April 2011

London via Lagos Theatre Festival

Shake! you interested? if you would like to attend to one of the performances get in touch with Eric for Tickets. Hurry up! Only limited spaces left!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Shakers at the AFRO TOO Event

Following the success of Afro 1, Railroad7, a leadership network project, came back for its second and final instalment with an event at the RSA. The event saw six artists showcase ideas after an eight month developmental process and brought together creative entrepreneurs across an array of disciplines for an evening of music art and other visual forms. Shakers Kavi, Nuha & Selina volunteered at the event and Eric, Shake facilitator and one of the showcasing artists, interviewed the Shakers to find out their impressions of the night...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Read Samia's Letter Post Shake's Albany Event

Dear Jane, Ben, Ed, Simon, Anna, Eric and Zena,

I often think there’s something quite liberating in writing letters. I wonder whether our words lose value when sent electronically. Anyway, that’s just me thinking out loud. I wanted to write to you to properly thank you all for your time and effort in putting together Shake! as well as sharing a few of my own thoughts. As with everyday of that week in August, I left the Albany on Saturday feeling excited, inspired and full of so much warmth.

Review of the big Shake! Preview

On the evening of the 26th February, the Albany in Deptford hosted the Shake! preview - an inspirational night of poetry, music and the sharing of experiences of contemporary issues across generations. Hosted by Shake’s very own multi-talented Rotimi Skyers, accompanied by ground-breaking facilitator/poet/performer/all round awesome person, Simon Murray, the night successfully shared the message, aims and work of Shake! with the wider community.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Extracts from Nuha's Poetic Piece Performed at The Albany

                                                                                                  Click on image to enlarge