Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Umaru- Day 1 and 2 at Shake! intesive

                                       SHAKE! Blog:
We were told on day one of the course that during the week we would have an opportunity to explore what art forms we most wanted to do and could either do Film or Spoken Word.  We had a day to think about it and I was mulling over what I would do but in the back of my mind I was eager to explore spoken word, as I had already started writing abit at home, so spoken word it was then!
So after lunch on day two we were in the main space downstairs ready to get stuck into spoken word and were asked by Zena to think about why we chose spoken word and how through writing poetry we can make our personal story political.  She showed us a Def Jam video of Patricia Smith’s performing “Skin head” and we unpacked the devices she used in her performance, how she spoke with the voice of her character, how she made the personal political and how she used humour and empathy to relate to her audience.
Then it was our turn.  Sai briefed us on how we were going to write a poem called “I am” based on our lives, our friends, family all the things which make us up as a human being.  But our task was how we could make the personal political, how our personal narrative story could also be a political narrative. Some of the devices we used to get into the zone was to start each line with “Iam” and to be as descriptive as you can but also remembering the devices Patricia Smith used like using her voice as her character and think about what are the boxes that society wants us to conform to using race, gender, age, background and how we can reverse those stereotypes.  We took 5 minutes to write and then shared our pieces to each other.  

Sai then shared his experience of working with the Leeds Young authors and how he created a group piece based on the theme “I come from.”  Then it was our turn to try and do the same, by picking out the strongest lines in our poems and writing them down on massive paper to see how we could create a flowing story that was about where we came from.  Our poems touched on themes from our ancestry, identity, where we reside and using our own mother tongue to create one story.
The process of making it one was challenging but fun, as everyone’s lines were on the floor we had to think about what made sense and what easily flowed and created a narrative as some lines were sounds and memories whilst others were a specific characters story.  So there was a lot of chopping and changing but we managed to create our final piece which case titled – “Neat Suitcase, The Sword”

After creating a group piece the focus changed into producing our own material to perform for the internal show case.  In order to direct our attention we were given different poetic strategies to create our own work.  These included, an Acronym poem which basically is using the first letter of each word to tell a story, rhyming couplets (ABABABC) at the end of each line to create a tighter poem.  We were also given worksheets to aid us in our descriptions of our poems and to also be as specific as possible through our description of our poems.
The time we had was focused on trying to create our own material so much of the time we spent was on our own, in our own zone trying to create new material.  The material we created was still based on the themes of ancestry, identity and also making the personal political some of our work was also inspired by the workshop session we had on the role of the media in telling stories. 
Using the knowledge we gained from how the media use images and headlines to tell stories and how many of the media’s stories alienates its readers. We also learnt the media has power through its editorial choice to twist a story or portray a story which it wants and which is overtly different from the truth.
So we used the inspiration of the workshop to create our own work and I found once the learning was in place writing my material came more easily.  I was able to create work without thinking too much but being generally in the zone to try new formats out and share them with group to get their feedback on the work.  So once our time was up it time to share our work and choose our strongest pieces for the internal showcase.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Blown away by visit to Shake!

It's Friday 22nd of February and I walk up to Stephen Lawrence Centre wondering what the showcase for Shake! will be like. I worked on the pilot in 2010 so had some idea...

I walk into the main workshop space and the vibe is hushed, focused, calm. 6 or 7 young people are busy writing, editing, thinking. Facilitators wander in and out, checking things are happening and on time. The walls are covered in fascinating mind-maps, post-it notes, drawings, key words, poems. A table is groaning with books and publications, posters and flyers that participants have been sharing. Another table has fruit, biscuits, tea. There's a fascinating cardboard washing line of dirty cardboard linen that was clearly a revealing exercise. We've all got some.

I catch up with Farzana, the coordinator, who is still relaxed and full of energy, after a full-on week. We go upstairs and find the video group busy planning and rehearsing. Another productive vibe.

Taz Rasul and Doreen Thompson-Addo from Stephen Lawrence Centre join us, together with a journalist from BBC Radio 1 who is doing a programme about young people, politics, and music. The showcase begins and it's

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

DJ Eric Soul Shaking from Rwanda

Shake! 2013 at the Stephen Lawrence Centre is GO!

DJ Eric Soul - our valued team Shake! music facilitator since 2010 may be many miles away in the beautiful surrounds of Rwanda but by the power of (slightly temperamental) technology he will be joining us every morning to share his unique energy, enthusiasm and musical activism insights.

Here's his first introductory video for new Shakers coming straight outta Kigali. Wahala!

Monday, 18 February 2013

SHAKE! Arts >> Media >> Race >> Power February 2013

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

- 18-22 February 2013

Art can be a powerful non-violent force for change.

Each day Shake! creative workshops will provide space to imagine what justice looks like, experiment with new ideas, learn new tools and fire up your imagination.

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, ERIC SOUL, 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 Stephen Lawrence Centre.

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

** LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE (for 16-25 year olds) **

To receive a short application form and for more information please contact:
Email: Tel: 07926 688 064
Email: Tel: 0208 100 2800

** Deadline for applications: 


 Shake! is initiated and coordinated by Platform in association with: Conversations Verse in Dialog // Liquorice Fish // Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust // Afrogroov

Platform is a company limited by guarantee no. 2658515 and a registered charity no 1044485.