Great news at Shake! 

ACE funded the pilot, and have now
come through for the major programme

With the Arts Council coming up with a major grant of £57,000, we are 50% towards our funding target to roll Shake! out at two London centres over three years. We’ll be working intensively with 150 young people, 75 artists in training, 300 policy-makers, and gazillions of audience through our social media comms campaigns, online and live youth-made films, performances, publications and policy-changing documents.

After Shake’s pilot project which started August 2010 at Stephen Lawrence Centre, we knew we had to do this again and do it BIG. So, after gathering a lot of ideas and feedback from everyone involved in the project, the team worked up a three-year programme. This involves doing two Shake! intensive courses a year, each with their own Continuity Programmes of mentoring and support work, based at Stephen Lawrence Centre and at exciting new partner Bernie Grant Arts Centre (Tottenham).

We also wanted to make Shake’s methods available to more artists and campaigners. Young people on Shake told us that they themselves would like to run development workshops with them on the issues that Shake’s about. And finally, we wanted to reach and influence people in policy and planning, inspiring and provoking them with Shake’s method and values, once again through sessions designed and led by young people.

Shake! is about young voices speaking directly, unmediated, supported by facilitator/mentors, and this is what we went to the Arts Council with. And now they’ve told us we have been successful in our application, which means we now have half the budget secured. That’s a very big boost for our fundraising. We hope to hear from the other big funders by end September, and launch the programme in November 2012.

Shake! as a catalyst

Shake! is a project that will be shaped by over 150 young people over the three years, ending with the Big Shake! Gathering in 2015.

From Shake! will emerge a significant number of creative, activated, constructive young citizen-campaigners, who will be making their impacts through the arts, through their confidence in public speaking, video-skills, writing, and performing. The Shake! Network will mean that each of these young people will be supported by peers and be able to make things happen in the places and communities they care about.

To give a flavour: young people from the pilot stole the Rebellious Media Conference with their powerful session “The Unheard: youth, ‘the riots’ and the media”; they’ve designed and participated in a national event “Britain on Trial” with other young people in Leeds; they’ve published themselves online; they’ve produced the pilot video; MC’d and performed a showcase; assisted in a Black cultural leadership event (Afro Too); co-written a 6000-word chapter on Shake! for an international book “Community and Communication” (coming out in the autumn); done a workshop on creativity and dissidence with Nawal El-Saadawi; and written a review for Red Pepper magazine’ performed with Apples and Snakes.

So, Shake! will change the conversation and influence action, in a cross-generational hubbub of analysing injustices, reflecting on experience, connecting to wider issues, skills-sharing, planning, rehearsing, and remaking…. It’s a huge injection of energy over a there-year period, which will act as a catalyst to energise all involved. After the Big Shake! Gathering, we will take stock and plan what next. The world will have changed again by 2015, and we need our work to be responsive to needs.

Shake has been guided and shaped from the outset by leading-edge Lead Artists & Facilitators Simon Murray, Zena Edwards (performance poets and writers), DJ Eric Soul, and Ana Tovey (Chocolate Films) together with campaigner/educator Ed Lewis. The project’s initiator and coordinator is Platform, a London-based group which bring together artists, activists, environmentalists, and campaigners concerned with social justice. 

Shake’s core team of artist-facilitators, campaigners and mentors will also include young people from previous Shake courses, so that the energy is constantly refreshed and re-injected.