Annick and Haneen were both participants on the Shake! programme, and now bringing their experiences and skills to the#ShakeTheSystem – A Decade of Shaping Changeresearch project.
Annick is a youth worker and a racial justice and Black feminist activist from France. She is a member of French afrofeminist collective Mwasi, fighting for the rights of Black womxn and Black queer people. In the UK she has worked for Black activists network KIN, and for several youth and community organisations supporting young people in running their own community organising and social justice projects. As a member of Shake! family since arriving in the UK in the summer of 2017, she has developed her writing, performed poetry at events and run Shake’s reading group.
Haneen is pursuing the field of ending detention migration in the UK. She engages with self-led work that highlights racist state violence as well as championing oral history and lived experience. She has worked with projects archiving oral testimonies with the Everyday Muslim Project and with Inquest, a family centred, organisation working against state deaths in custody. She has also worked with Doctors of the World, in their Bethnal Green clinic where they make primary care accessible to all. Shake! was a healer for her in 2014, and she wants us migrant kids to know that we are the generation that break cycles of harm.
As an introduction, they both sat down and asked each other questions to get to know each other better.
What would you take with you to a deserted island?
H: Am I stuck there? Or just going there for a bit. If I am stuck there I should take something to get me out of there, something to find water… Or I’ll just bring something fun.
A: I love how you’re being really practical about this!
H: I would bring a friend, someone who wouldn’t mind being on a deserted island. I think I would love it because I love obstacle courses (laughs) from school trips! I could do Survivor.
A: Um, I would take… I have chocolate on my mind right now, do I want to take chocolate? No, I would take music definitely, I couldn’t live without it.
What is your favourite poem?
A: In French, a poem by Arthur Rimbaud, ‘Le Bateau ivre’it means the Drunken Boat. It’s a long poem about this boat that frees itself from chains and roams around the world freely and sees incredible things. It’s weird that it’s my favourite now that I think about it, because I really don’t like the ocean!! [laughs] My worst fear is literally open water, being lost at sea!
H: I took weeks to think and I don’t have one, is the answer, I’ve always liked reciting out loud, so I’ll just say that.
If you had to pick between going to the beach or going to the park? And not going to the other, ever, which would you pick?
H: The beach, because I like the sea.
A: I would have to say the park. I feel more connection to forest trees, it’s something very important to me,if I didn’t get to be in a forest that would make me unhappy.
What is your favourite song?
H: There’s that song ‘Do you believe in magic’ (by The Lovin’ Spoonful). Also at the moment I love the song ‘Pray’ by Duendita. It just sounds so… there are so many levels of sound and it’s really soothing.
A: I have 2 favourite songs , ‘All is full of love’ by Bjork and ‘Saa Magni’ by Oumou Sangare.
Cookies or chips?
H: I have to go with chips- I get cravings for fat chips from the chip shop. I respect cookies but I just don’t have the same relationship to them!
A: (in response to Haneen talking about fat chips) As a French person I don’t understand that, I want a crispy, thin, French fry, like Mcdonalds fries.[both laugh]
(in answer to the question) COOKIES. Quick and easy. [both laugh]
I need chocolate every day of my life.[laughs]
What is your favourite place?
H: My relationship to this place has changed a lot, but I am going to say my grandparents’ house in Sudan. It’s a connection to the house more than the people there, and I am questioning if I still have that emotional connection.
A: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, so far in my life I went there on like my second day in this country, it was like being reunited with forests and trees where I grew up. I am obsessed with cemeteries, especially I like British cemeteries.
I would go there all the time, I’ve seen it in all seasons, I can find my way around it. In France it’s very different, way more rigid. Here I’ve seen people walking their dogs, with their children, having a picnic in the cemetery… Celebrating life, even without realising it, making it a part of life.
Would you rather have lips where you have hands, or hands where you have lips?
A: So does that mean that every time I want to hold something I have to kiss it?! Like I have to kiss the subway pole?!
My answer is lips where hands are or however you would say it (laughs).
If I have to grab something I don’t necessarily want to put my face near it, like imagine everytime you want to grab something!
H: Because of the way you explained it, the proximity to things, I have to say same thing as you!
What is your favourite smell?
H: Hot rain on dust, we call it ‘Sudan rain’- and jasmine.
A: Probably hot pavement in the rain in summer. Where I’m from it’s normal to get summers of 35 degrees and then you’ll get a thunderstorm and then the concrete/ the pavement, mmm, it smells amazing.
I grew up in a valley with a lot of lakes, and when it’s really hot, a lot of water evaporates and builds up in the clouds. I can kinda tell when it will rain or thunderstorm, like the same day or the day after, based on the shape of certain clouds.
What brings you joy?
H: Shared laughter, knowing family is happy, sunshine, acting, watching cartoons (that’s a very specific type of joy), eating good food, learning about different rituals in different cultures.
A: Tarot is a big one for me. Having things in common that we thought were weird, those coming to light. Coming together with people through their writing, making friends through books and poetry. Sun, warmth is very important to me. Dancing. Being part of the ballroom community, working on my hands performance, connecting with people through that, is a source of pure joy and pride for me. I’m thinking hard, i’m trying to think of genuine joy, like not reassurance or the feeling of not being stressed because that’s not the same. Silly conversations, jokes and references with my sister-definitely. Listening to music.
You can find out more about their plans for the research project by emailing: email@example.com
We are sending love and healing during this time of immense collective trauma, grief, loss impacting us, especially Black folks. We remain grounded in our communities and our commitment to racial justice and demanding Black liberation and joy which has existed way before and way beyond the current moment. The time is to get firmer with our strategies, and remember the ways our communities have resisted, repaired, reimagined, and actualise more liberated ways of existing.
Over the past 10 years, Shake! family have highlighted the importance of using our individual/collective imaginations as organising tools to shake up oppressive systems. We know the conversations we were having 10 years ago are only coming to the mainstream now. We also know whiteness coopts and dilutes our conversations, our language, as a strategic tool to erase our efforts. Now is the time to amplify us. This moment calls for us to write our realities, our histories, our reimagined liberated worlds. The Shake! anthology is a celebration of all that we have collectively contributed to building freer worlds. It is also a chance for us to equip the revolution and “make the revolution irresistible’ (Toni Cade Bambara).
We’re extending our deadline to 31st July 2020 and being as flexible as we can. Urgency is a tool of white supremacy, and right now, we know rest and healing is a priority. If you want to contribute but you’re struggling in any way, please get in touch with us, let us know how we can create capacity for you. We will be sending another update with specific support for black Shake!rs soon.
We hope this post gives some clarity on what you can submit. We would love to receive submissions from Shake!rs on any of the themes below. This can be either 1) anything you worked on during a Shake! course/time which you can submit as it stands or further develop with support from us, or 2) any of your own work that might respond to the themes below, or 3) anything reflecting and responding to the current times.
This can be done in any format: a written piece, poetry, essays, illustrations, photographs, filmed clips, paintings, audio recordings… etc.
Themes / Shake! Courses & events over the past 10 years*:
States of Violence
Ken Saro-Wiwa/ Stephen Lawrence pilot course, 2010
Britain on Trial, 2011
States of Violence, 2015
Surviving the System, 2016
Fighting SUS, 2018
Food Fight, 2015
Resistance Is Fertile, 2016
Media & Power
Power Propaganda Perceptions, 2013
New Narratives, 2014
Black Words Matter, 2016
Allied Media Conference, 2016
On Whose Terms, 2018
Healing Justice & Liberation Practice
Remembering Reimagining Reparations, 2014
Head Space, 2014
Healing the Cuts, 2017
Movement Medicine, 2017
Rep the Road, 2018
Our Prayer is Protest, 2018
* for a reminder of content from these Shake events/ courses, see this doc here.
#ShakeTheSystem is led by Cultural Producer Rose Ziaei, Associate Art Director Tiff Webster, Art Director, and Strategic Mentor Sai Murray and Strategic Consultant and Mentor Farzana Khan. Rose and Tiff were both participants on the Shake! programme, bringing their own insider experience and high-level skills to the project.
As an introduction, they both sat down and asked each other 5 questions to get to know each other’s journey, why they applied for their roles and their interest in being part of #ShakeTheSystem 10 Year Anniversary.
T: What’s your story?
R: I was born in Iran under an Aries full moon (fyi: Libra sun/Scorpio rising), which probably has a lot do with why I detested anyone telling me what to do as a child. I remember getting into so much trouble for doing the complete opposite to what my mum, teachers, anyone with a bit of authority would tell me to do; because I felt I was the one who knew what’s best for me. Now, as an adult, I can understand that fiery Aries side of me a bit deeper and recognise and accept it as my continuous battle with power structures. My mum & I had to move to the UK when I was 12, and it’s interesting reflecting back on my story, and realising my politicisation started from early childhood experiences of violence, displacement, and harm both in Iran and the UK. As a child, you don’t have the language or ability to connect your experiences to deeper roots, to wider systems, and that’s something I’ve really tried to be conscious of and carry with me in my work with young people now.
The second stage came through the education system and academia. I felt there was more to life than we were being taught through logic and reasoning. I felt disillusioned after studying many European philosophers who tried to separate mind/body. It felt too disconnected from what I had learned through family gatherings, where elders would cite the mystical poetry of the likes of Hafez, Saadi, and Rumi – who not only talked about mind/body/soul as interconnected but about the connection of our soul to the Divine. I wrote my dissertation about faith, and what I now know as Divine love. When I found Audre Lorde’s “I feel therefore I can be free’, it was an instant validation to trust my inner truth and accept my ability to feel deeply as pure magic.
Another important part of my journey has been my work. I started by working in different youth projects in the international development sector. At the time, I was naïve in a lot of ways and kept thinking there’s got to be a way to do this without causing so much harm. I kept digging deeper and felt like I belonged by reading the work of authors like Bell Hooks, J Kimberlé Crenshaw, James Baldwin, Edward Said, Franz Fanon, etc. highlighting the intersections of identity and oppression, and alongside many others made me realise the development sector is neo-colonialist. I also decided to step back, and unpack my own saviour complexes which I developed from working within charity/NGO sectors, and deeply deconstruct how much of my care was rooted in an escape of my own discomfort, which meant doing a lot of deep healing work on myself. I started to align my values with my practice more and worked on a refugee youth project, and various youth organisations and youth centres, mainly because I felt the place in which transformative change was possible was through my connections with young people and decolonial pedagogy. In a lot of ways, the different projects I worked on, got me to work through my experience of the trauma of violence and harm in my own younger life, and examine my coping mechanisms. My spiritual and healing practices are so important to me now – I’ve come so far from glorifying burn out culture, and I’ve worked a lot on aligning myself with work that aligns with my values and passion of intersecting healing, creativity, and social justice, and joining the dots between deep inner work and systemic change which has luckily brought me to Shake!, Healing Justice, and now Platform.
T: *Snaps fingers* Amen to THAT!
R: How would you describe yourself?
T: I’m a storyteller, a hard worker, I’m persistent and tenacious. I’m loyal, proud of my heritage, my background and my ancestors. Being working class is as intrinsic and informative to my identity as being a black queer woman. I come from a background of farmers, builders, and carpenters, so I grew up wanting to create with my hands, always wanting to build. Values, family and community are important to me. I’m a problem-solver, curious, creative and big on self- development and improvement. It sounds like I take myself hella seriously, (which I do); my background and how I identity is important to me. But, I’m also a joker at heart and a big softy. I’m an introvert, super emotional and am a massive neek with no shame.
T: When did you first get involved with Shake! And how?
R: I remember it was at a time where I felt deeply exhausted, and disillusioned by development NGOs, charity sectors, educational institutions, cultural sectors, basically a lot, and wanted to align with more people who understood those sectors and understood my struggles. I was researching organisations combining art and activism in the UK in 2015, and came across Platform, and Shake!, and I just followed them for a while until I saw the Surviving the State course being advertised in 2016 and applied to be a part of it.
R: What’s your Shake! story, and what’s been your biggest learning through Shake! so far?
T: I took part in Shake!’s ‘Healing The Cuts’ programme in August 2017. Later on, I formed part of the editing team to produce a Short-Doc titled: ‘Surviving The State’ (2018) using content filmed by the young people from the ‘Healing The Cuts’ programme. This lead to the ‘Gentrification: Where Are We Now’ & ‘Gentrifiers- Redefining The Role of the Artist’ (2018) events with the ICA. I’m now part of the Shake The System! 10 year anniversary assisting in the curation of an Anthology of Movements 2010-2020 as Assistant Art Director.
I am honored to have been accepted to be part of this project for Shake! Archiving, documenting our narratives, our testimonies and the legacy of Shake! Alongside their impact and influence that have generated waves and served as a catalyst for change and healing within individuals and groups and our communities. What I’ve learnt most so far was the power of courage, the honing in of my skills, to trust myself more and my voice. Shake gave me the gift of hope, that there are people and communities actively on the ground working for and alongside young people, resisting, healing and amplifying their light and their voices.
T: What was Shake!’s impact on you and what led you to apply for this role?
R: I remember doing a lot of free writing during and after the course to process the transformation that was happening, and I actually went back to some of my journal entries from that time to answer this question (which btw sent me on a whole journey!). I ended up reading through my journal entries from 2014 and I’d written things like ‘I trust the journey more than any destination’, fast forward to 2016 and hearing Farzana say ‘trust the process and let go of outcomes’, I felt like my inner/outer worlds were finally aligning. I’d experienced the disconnect between inner/outer worlds in so many places and felt like I was home. I was unpacking a lot of stuff around belonging, and the running theme of my free writes were James Baldwin’s words: “the place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it”. In a lot of ways, the biggest impact came from being in community with people who had interconnected values, experiences, struggles, and being held through a nurturing space that felt safe enough to go deep without fear of microaggressions or leaving unheard, or cynical. This allowed me to not only unpack and process systems of oppression through arts, but also have the space to imagine alternatives. I was able to see the transformative change that I deeply trusted and believed was possible, modelled in practice by Shake!. Since then, I have attended probably almost all things Shake! related, and initiated and facilitated the reading group with fellow shakers: Annick and Shezara and did other bits of work both voluntarily and on a freelance basis. The Cultural Producer role just felt aligned with me. I’d seen Shake! methods and tools being used in other spaces without acknowledgement, and I knew I wanted to play an active role in capturing Shake!s impact so it’s an honour to have been trusted with its legacy work which needs to be handled with deep care.
R: How did you decide what to do in the world, including this role?
T: I’m still in the process of deciding. I trust that I am being guided daily towards where I am most of use. Practising the discernment to know what opportunities to say Yes to, and those to say No to. Those that are not for me. Saying Yes to where my skills flourish, where I am most of use and reach my highest potential. We all have different paths to follow. It was actually through co-editing the Short- Doc for Shake! In combination with the documentary filmed for The New Beacon Books refurbishment in 2017 with Shades of Noir, that I’m currently being led down the route of investigative documentary journalism and film-making.
I decided to apply for this role with Shake! as it was an opportunity I was saying Yes to. I wanted to support and explore creatively within the role. There’s something about working alongside people that know you, trust your creative vision and support growth. It’s a liberating opportunity that not many get to have.
T: What are you hopeful for?
R: Practicing hope every day is an organising tool for me – of course some days are easier than others, but it’s remaining faithful that change is possible, alternative ways of existing are possible, and remembering we have the gift of seeing each other through the journey of actualising our reimagined worlds. I’m hopeful for our capacity to be in better relationships with each other and the rest of the universe, and for our capacity to hold loss and grief gently but with more courage, with better tools. Capitalist structures value productivity, outcomes, individualism, and power over process and collective liberation – it’s a strategic move. The more we work, the more we’re unable to slow down to process and feel our real feelings which pulls us away from looking at how the same capitalist structures are breaking our hearts and not serving us. We have the ability to create ourselves anew in accordance with the rhythms of nature, and right now, although there’s chaos, there’s also an opening, the gateway to transformation. It feels to me that our only task right now is to slow down and really take our time to heal, heal the split, the separation. Life is not either/or, it is both/and – death/life dark/light go hand in hand, and I’m hopeful we will be reborn into a higher dimension and experience the world as an interconnected sacred place again. As much as I am a part of this world, the world is also a part of me which helps me stay hopeful, like Adrienne Maree Brown and many others, I find hope in Octavia Butler’s words: “all that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change”. I’m basically hopeful for collective liberation, healing, justice, creativity – love.
R: Who/what has recently inspired you?
T: Most recently I’ve been inspired by screenwriters for fictitious sci-fi series and of documentary films that I’ve been watching during the current lockdown. I’ve been observing the stories being told on the screens. The theme of War plays a large part of the framework of stories and our human history. Even now, with Covid-19, this is being framed as a ‘War’ against humanity; with each country in military war mode. This is worrying, but also reveals how war-crazed our reality actually is and how deeply rooted warlike and militarized thinking is taught to us. We are in a global health crisis that requires solidarity and cooperation, not a ‘War’. The writers of these series and documentary films mentioned all write about ‘othering‘, framed with two opposing sides, an ‘us’ against ‘them’ storyline; the ‘good’ vs ‘bad’, but what I truly appreciate and am most inspired-by are the adaptations from these linear storylines that play such a big part of our societal framework and psyche, and how ‘wars’ are framed, how illnesses are personified, how ‘identity’ is discussed and how it truly is not as ‘black and white’ as we are taught that life is. It’s nuanced and complex. They ask the important questions, why are the ‘bad’ people ‘bad’ and is that really true? Ultimately, what is the truth? and how can we write narratives either fictitious or real that reflect truth, justice, fairness, love and kindness.
I’ve most recently been inspired by the screen writings of Rebecca Sugar for the animated series Steven Universe which, albeit a cartoon, I would say that it is for all ages. It focuses on kindness, healthy relationships, acceptance, queerness, love and family. It’s a beautiful masterpiece. The complex and intellectual sci- fi storytelling with wonderful metaphors for the human condition in Star Trek Discovery. The writers room for this series write about people that constantly make mistakes and explore alternative ways of solving their conflicts. The writing shows the struggle of identities across the universe working on their conflicts with being accepting and tolerant. Lastly, Hillbilly: Beyond the stereotypes in the heart of US’s Appalachia by filmmakers Ashley York and Sally Rubin. An Appalachian filmmaker travels home to examine why the stereotype exists, how it affects her community, and what lies behind the simplistic portrayal. This type of storytelling is of testimonials, I think testimonials are crucial in revealing truth. Hearing someone’s story transforms the ideas and stories we may have created in our own minds, or are told by the media, and that in reality are far from the truth.
T: Name 3 things you’ve recently discovered about yourself?
R: 1. I don’t know if it’s a completely new discovery, but the way music impacts my soul on a spiritual level has become even more clear during lockdown. I tuned into Joe Kay’s 4-hour Soulection quarantine set, and it honestly felt like a spiritual journey.
2. My obsession with playing backgammon online is becoming a bit wild. My inner Iranian uncle vibes have truly come out.
3. I’m still as rubbish as I have always been with texting/online communications, if anything I’m probably even worse because everyone is extra active online. I’m still working on finding the balance between holding myself accountable for taking time to reply/setting boundaries around online communication. The real ones have managed to still love me but also tell me when I’m taking it too far so that’s useful.
R: What brings you joy?
T: Big breakfasts that include a ton of pastries and fruit, my grandmothers and my mother’s cooking, laughing and eating in company, the season of autumn, dancing, seeing younger family members grow and becoming. The feeling I get when I’m creatively doing something I love, and at the same time knowing it’s important work, that brings me the most joy.
Hoping you and yours are well and safe and sending you love and healing.
During this time of mass confusion and uncertainty, we recognise the necessity to amplify the voices of those marginalised and the necessity of our resistance and innovation.
We are calling out for your voices.
As we enter our 10th year we are calling for you to be a part of our #ShakeTheSystem! 10 Year Anniversary. We are centering this anniversary on all the content created this past decade, on offering support and solidarity during these uncertain times and on the importance of celebration and joy. Our communities have the solutions that we need. We have been pushing for these solutions but our voices have been erased. Let’s amplify our voices during these times of chaos and noise and the solutions, wisdom and alternatives that we possess.
We have a few things lined up for this anniversary, one of which will be the production of An Anthology of Voices That Shake! Movements 2010-2020 – a collection of creative writing, poetry, artwork, photography, zine pages & essays, conceptualised and designed by Shakers to be both available in digital & physical formats.
Your contribution has played an important role in the Shake! journey, and we would love for you to be part of this process in any of the following capacities you wish and/or are able to contribute:
We recognise within this moment so many need support. We are currently working on ways and virtual spaces to support each other. If you want to be part of the Shake! community during this time email Rose here:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any other opportunities?:
Stay tuned for paid Researcher opps coming up with Shake! We will also have various other contribution opps coming up.
If interested contact: email@example.com
It’s 2020 and we’re celebrating 10 years of Voices that Shake! with an anthology, toolkits, workshops, showcases and more.
Over 200 marginalised and underrepresented young people have directly been part of the personal and community transformation that the unique space of Shake! offers.
Many of us have gone on to start our own collective projects, social change action, art initiatives.
Through Shake!’s approach, we have influenced 1000s of people, in and beyond the UK, through our politics, artworks, short films, poetry, critical writing, events, trainings, actions, talks, activism, and community support. From our family, our friends, to people in youth work, education, youth policy, funders, arts/culture, community and social movements – we have made an impact.
For our major 10 year anniversary, Shake! celebrates our family and supporters by:
sharing the bigger picture: the breadth and depth of 10 years of Shake!rs’ creativity
distilling and communicating Shake!’s impact
creating workshops, trainings and showcases to amplify, upskill, provoke, inspire, sow seeds, deepen legacy, influence change.
What will we make and do?
an Anthology of Voices That Shake! movements 2010-2020. Creative writing, poetry, artwork, photography, zine pages, and essays, conceptualised and designed by young people, guided by Art Directors – Sai Murray and Shake! alumna Tiff Webster. Publication and launch, Autumn 2020
Showcases of Shaker!s creativity through live performance, also promoting the Anthology, across four cities in England – London, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Autumn and Winter 2020/21
Commissioned youth-led research into how and why Shake! makes its impacts modelling new non-extractive methods. During 2020.
Youth-led workshops and training with young people, NGOs and relevant sectors, including youth work, education, youth policy, funders, arts/culture, community and social movements. During 2020/21.
a Toolkit of Voices that Shake! Methods and Interventions. Youth-written report launched and workshopped, sharing the research to create structural change. Winter 2020/21
#ShakeTheSystem is being led Rose Ziaei – Producer; Tiffany Webster – Associate Art Director; Sai Murray – Art Director and Strategic Mentor; and Farzana Khan – Strategic Consultant and Mentor. Rose and Tiff were participants on the Shake! programme, and bring their insider experience and high-level skills to the project. Farzana was the pioneering Director of Shake! from 2012 – 2018, working alongside Sai as Co-Artistic Director. Sai was in the founding team of Shake! from 2010.
Shake! has been awarded financial support from Arts Council England for the anthology and showcases, and the Act for Change Fund (Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and #IWill Fund) for the Toolkits for Transformation.
Also, we are very grateful to Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation, and other private supporters.
On Saturday 4 May 2019 Voices that Shake! and Healing Justice Ldn presented poetry, dance and film, considering themes of race, gentrification, health, art and public imagination at the Raven Row Open House.
I didn’t realise for some time that what I was looking for was a map. A way to navigate the past and present, connect the dots between space and time to make clear which paths lead where, and foster a joined together sense of what black and brown arts activism is, has been and is doing.
Earlier this year, the Stuart Hall Foundation came together to do exactly this, digitally and through live events, mapping the work of cultural resistance from the generations that came before, and shining a light on contemporary cultural producers.
The Black Cultural Activism Map link orients itself around legendary black and brown creative resistors from across the UK, such as David A Bailey, Maria Amidu, Gilane Tawadros and Julian Henriques, who have produced some deeply narrative-shifting work, constantly reshaping the landscape of arts institutions in Britain. Simultaneously, soundscapes by all-black women choirs and visual collages of modern reparations movements emerge as newer contributions to the map, rooted in and further looking toward a new era of arts activism.
Taking archiving one step further, the Black Cultural Activism Map has the potential to circumvent the unease that comes with swimming in new waters and working in isolation. The process redresses the imbalance of who or what enters and exists in the public imagination of Britain, just as Black History Month did before it. Offering a path to all those who would like to know where they’ve been and where they are going, we are gently ushered to go, ready to roll the dice.
Join us for the launch of Black Cultural Activism Map, the first of a two-part series of events celebrating and connecting visions, stories, lessons and legacies of Black and Brown cultural resistance in the UK.
The Foundation has commissioned young artists, activists, designers and researchers to explore moments of cultural resistance in the UK through individuals, organisations and political interventions.
This launch event will bring together three of the commissioned arts collectives Skin Deep, Voices that Shake! and RECLAIM for a dynamic afternoon of performances, film screenings, artistic presentations, panel discussions, singing for justice and more.
*We call this the Black Cultural Activism Map to honour the legacies of political blackness from which we have grown. We wish to be inclusive of black, brown and diasporic peoples. We recognise that our work is part of an ongoing conversation.
Black Cultural Activism Map has been supported with funding from Arts Council England and Unbound Philanthropy. This event is supported by Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
Artists and contributors
Skin Deep is a London-based multimedia platform that amplifies voices of colour through the discussion of race and culture, inspiring much needed conversations around themes that are usually misrepresented or depoliticised by the mainstream media. Skin Deep’s multimedia project is based around a print publication, live events and interactive digital exhibition that responds to the theme: MOVEMENT(S). Through original nonfiction, fiction, poetry, artwork and illustration Skin Deep have invited their contributors to think about, through and around the political journeys of black and brown activists.
Voices that Shake! is a collective that brings together young people, artists and campaigners to develop creative responses to social injustice. Using a model of personal transformation and structural change, Shake! challenges established imbalanced power-bases and re-imagine new infrastructures in opposition to capitalism and colonialism. Shake! will deliver a multimedia performance showcase (musical oral history, storytelling, spoken word, film, soundscapes and visual collage) collaboratively devised between four artist facilitators from SHAKE!. Featured artists include Sai Murray, Dhelia Snoussi, Globe Poets and Nawi Collective.
RECLAIM is a youth leadership and social change organisation. It was set up in Manchester in 2007 to identify and support young leaders from an intensely pressurised community. Their work allows young people to develop their skills and potential and to build their pathway to make the world a better place for all. Through their commission RECLAIM will unveil the hidden cultures in Manchester merging art, politics and creativity and look at how linking these mediums can say so much about the world we live in today. They will revisit, reimagine and revive stories of black and brown activism from the past – stories from the north that have shaped the lives of many in Manchester communities today.
The Fighting SUS gang showcased their hard work last Saturday at the Brady Arts Centre. The seamless and engaging performance took the audience through the evolution of SUS from 1970 to today, with artistic responses including spoken word, song and instrumental. Responding to calls to bring show to other parts of London during the Q&A, the gang revealed their intention to tour the UK with a focus on schools. Watch this space!