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
immediately very moving. The poems, freshly minted, are performed with such grace and integrity. Such trust between people. Very fragile and sometimes hard-hitting material was shared with respect. Then the video group talk through what they had learnt. A sense of a powerful political analysis pervades everything. We get a taster of their work which hits the exact spot. Thanks, appreciations, cake, chat. Hugs. Anticipation of the future Continuity Programme. The buzz is palpable.

It’s clear Shake! is off the ground for its 3-year programme with a fabulous bang. Can’t wait to witness more. Here’s a poem I found on the floor that I copied out. I later learnt it was part of an evaluation session:

Vibrant environment
Our voices heard
Inclusive
Creative
Engaging with
Social issues

That
Have an impact upon us
Acting to change
The injustices

Seeing each other
Having hope for
A future
Kreative (with a k)
Exciting