Anni & Annie at #ResistanceIsFertile

Happy National Poetry Day peoples!

We have a wealth of poetry created since our genesis in 2010 and biiig plans to publish, record and podcast more.

In the meantime check our archive of poetry-related content on this link and enjoy these performances from Anni and Annie recorded at our last showcase #ResistanceisFertile hosted by Numbi Arts at Rich Mix earlier this year.

Make sure you lock your diaries for our next showcase on 10 December at Rich Mix with Numbi Arts which will feature art, poetry & films created out of our upcoming intensive course: SurvivingTheSystem: Building Economies & Ecologies Of Resistance 24-28 October.


#SurvivingTheSystem: Building Economies & Ecologies of Resistance

Announcing our next free 5 day intensive course!

#SurvivingTheSystem: Building Economies & Ecologies of Resistance
Brady Arts and Community Centre, Tower Hamlets
24-28 October, half term holiday, 2016

This is the latest in our series of free 5 day courses for 16-25 year olds which explores Race/ Art/ Media/ Power. Designed for those
who are angry about the injustice they see around them it provides opportunities to creatively express frustrations & concerns about the world you live in and shake tings up with performance poets, film-makers, musicians, artists & activists.

artwork by Anni Movsisyan
artwork by Anni Movsisyan

Recognising art as a powerful and transformative force for justice and change, each day creative workshops will provide space to imagine what justice looks like, experiment with new ideas, learn new tools and fire up your imagination.

#SurvivingTheSystem will explore ecologies and economies of resistance and themes such as:

*How do we rupture and break cycles of violence inside and outside of our communities?
*How to do we heal and build resilient communities and movements?
*How do we build alternative sustainable economies to make our peoples as oppressed groups and communities thrive outside of the state?
*How can we heal, be safe and support ourselves in these violent times?

Over the five days, the course will include interactive workshops, stimulating dialogue & skill-shares to creatively campaign for change with practising artists/activists/educators:

>> KULA ROOTS (Saara Luna)
(+ more to be announced!)

>> practical hands-on techniques in creative writing, spoken word, film/video, restorative and healing justice, zine and music making to develop your ideas around injustice and power.

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

Shake! welcomes and looks forward to applicants from all backgrounds. In our efforts to centre marginalised communities and create safe spaces, we will prioritise applications from people of colour, LGBTQI folk and residents from the local community of Tower Hamlets. Please state in your application if you want us to consider your application with this in mind.

The venue is wheelchair accessible and please let us know if you have any other access needs.

Lunch Provided.

** LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE (for 16-25 year olds) **
Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

To receive a short application & for more info, email:

Shake! at Afrikans on Film Festival

I got goosebumps doing this duet with Luwi earlier this year at the 6th Shake! Showcase at Rich Mix: #ResistanceIsFertile. Lil Sis went in <3

Looking forward to doing it again with Adinkra Arts Collective Afrikans on Film Festival Saturday 10th Sept at Bussey Building, Peckham.

Check this link for more details about the film festival and for tickets…

– Zena

Black Words Matter

Today, we’ll be sharing our films, poems, and other alternative media at ‪#‎BlackWordsMatter‬ Rich Mix London: a conversation about media justice – poetry – film – performance.

How do Black words matter? To whom should they matter? And aren’t words only part of the story? And what about the power to have those words heard in which spaces?

Shake! will bring creative critique to those questions throwing systems of oppression through media under the spotlight and celebrating modes of communication that transcend them.

Our line-up will include:

Rotimi Skyers: host + poetry
Teju Adeleye: linking art, music, and media in Brazil – 5mins
Zena Edwards: film poem on Sarah Reed
Nu Wave Pictures: film + Q&A on youth bursting negative stereotypes
Sai Murray: poetry commentary read by Rotimi
Abundance: Sula Collective (a new online magazine set up by POCs from LGBTQI communities) + zines
Farzana Khan: media and its oppressions 

If you can’t afford a ticket but would like to come along please email (we have a limited number of free tickets).

It will be a powerful night with our Numbi Arts fam and their line-up (including Elmi Ali, Mr Gee, Mrsnmelmi, Salwa Osman, Abukar Elmi, Afrikaspoet) alongside Gary Younge.

See you there!

Date: 19/07/16
Venue: Rich Mix, London
Time: 7pm
Door: £7-12


A Reminder for Our Liberal Selves

by Sai Murray

A Reminder for Our Liberal Selves:

Black people are systematically destroyed by the media and the marketers

as well as by police bullets.

Black voices are destroyed by well-meaning White voices

We do know… it’s Christmas
We know what time it is
We have known the time, calculated the time
lived in rhythm with the moon cycle and seasons for millennia

We are best placed to speak on “Black issues”
We are also well placed to speak on issues other than “Black issues”

For as we know
as we have been forced to learn,
forced to abandon our languages, adopt and adapt new ones:
the oppressed will always know more about their oppressor
than the oppressor can ever know about them.

So we do not let Black faces on stage fool us
into believing power structures have fundamentally changed

Black faces in the boardroom
Black faces in the White House
In ‘liberal’ newspapers
Fronting TV shows…
Black faces in uniform.

And if the White Supremacist structure of the White House
the boardroom, the entertainment industry, the news media,
remains intact
how far can Black Words within these platforms make a difference?

Can we use the master’s tools to knock down and build new houses?

Can Black words in well-meaning well-read media platforms


surrounded by ads for corporations that continue to profit from our deaths…?


Qawwali Flamenco Brexit Beat

In a taxi with desi immigrant uncle, jammin to some spanish/urdu qawwali flamenco from my phone. He invites me to listen to music to remove some of the rage & sadness from my face. ‘Abba listen to music it will make u happy’.

I mention how I hope it doesn’t rain, he tells me that it will always rain here, it is the sky weeping for the British governments sins. I smile at the poetry in his words. We talk brexit without talking about it. It feels to heavy but too be real this is the heaviness so many of us feel most days and aren’t able to speak of or even process because oppression preoccupies us with just surviving. Getting closer to my destination he says ‘do you want me to wait?’ I tell him i will be about an hour so it’s probably not a good idea. ‘Don’t worry I’m doing less hours during ramadan, i will wait for you. Its not a good area so i will bring you back.’ I refuse saying I don’t want him to lose a job when he could work. He laughs and says ‘I’m not charging you, it’s good for me to just be around . I want you to be safe’ .

In a world that constantly makes us unsafe, especially on days like this where we become more unsafe to white power. We know that they don’t love us, but we do know how to love each other and how to keep each other safe. Even in our clumsy, exhausted, naive, pain-filled, fumbling in the dark ways we have our quiet expressions of love and commitment to each other so we can sustain ourselves and each other. I make a commitment to remember this as we fight and commit to fighting on the front lines with each other. We will see each other on the front lines organising, resisting and loving. Jummah mubarak

Support Shake! upskill & skillshare at Allied Media Conference (Detroit)



For the last 5 months the Shake team has been on a sabbatical, but that doesn’t mean we have not been beavering away planning  a dynamic and pioneer direction the next 5 years the Voices that Shake Family and Movement will be headed in.


Our dedication to pioneer reinvigorated pedagogical practices in youth arts and activism prompts us to great length to learn about successful and life changing activist practices in social justice movements internationally. These are movements that are holistic, that place marginalised voices at the centre – movements that fully understand that by centering these voices dramatic changes happen because they are voices from frontline communities who experience the full brunt of the devastating effects of environmental, social and corporate injustice.

On June 14, for one week, Shake! intend to take 8 Shake!rs to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit – some Shake Alumini (2010) and others are new  to the Shake Family members (2015). The Allied Media Conference (AMC) is the convening of internationally based creative activists groups who come together to skills and knowledge share their most productive and effective creative media campaign strategies – that means all forms of communication tools which are arts and media based available to activists which amplify the voices of the oppressed. For more information got the AMC website.

We need help getting there. Accommodation and per diem are covered costs, however the funds for all the flights are still to be raised. So we have created a Support Shake! upskill & skillshare at Allied Media Conference (Detroit) crowdfunding page to help raise the final funds and would appreciate you sharing to your networks.

This is a fantastic (and urgent) opportunity for the Shakers to experience, to learn and knowledge share some of the most dynamic strategies to bring back to the UK and build into their already passionate arts activist practice, as well as honouring the Shake teams commitment to drive change through a network building and upskilling.


So many wins right now (YASS!) G4S out of Israel, BP out of Tate (congrats to all my colleagues and friends working so hard on this), and a cheeky win as one of the 8 WoC changing feminism for my personal shero Mia Mingus (you deserve it and more, thank you for all that you have taught/teach me). The work continues and our victories are not solely determined by the powerful losing power but also where that power goes, what replaces it and who we become in the struggle. Congrats everyone involved.

mia mingus

Sarah Reed – Shake! statement of support

Sarah Reed – Shake! statement of support:

Please come to this vigil tonight, 7pm outside Holloway Prison. Sarah Reed’s murder holds up what we know already, we know that people of colour and women will only ever be safe outside the system. Outside state structures that are in fact systems of oppression. Sarah encountered state violence (physically, sexually and mentally) through: British medical & mental health system, criminal, legal, and police system, British media. Sarah, like so many women of colour who are routinely and fatally failed by all the structures which appear to be in place protect or at the very least serve us. In reality these spaces women, more so for women of colour, end up becoming places where they are subject to more gendered harms and violence. We need to get real about the reality of state institutions and structures; they are a web of entrapment to deepen the violence, marginalisation and disposability of oppressed groups. This is why Sarah was failed at every societal level, every aspect of society hurt her, especially when she needed help and support most, and this is the reality for so many people in this country. (If this is not the case for you, then understand what privileges you posses that protect you from this experience). Oppressed groups have a womb to prison pipeline be that a physical or mental one. And if this is the life we are subjected to by the State, then lets call it what it is- State terror and stay firm in our commitment to justice, because none of us are safe.

State terror: “The terror operates quietly and secretly, below and between the lines, as it were, and in the blatant contradictions between the “official story” and what actually happens on the ground. The chaos and the terror are disguised behind a façade of normalcy, and the culture of terror moves between the space of death and the space of everyday. In fact, everyday life is truly terrifying, whether in the form of political kidnappings and torture, or in the daily experiences of the shantytown poor… who live just one step away from the public morgue and the collective grave and whose only act of subversion is that they have managed to survive at all.” ( thnx Yasemin Ozer for this definition) ‪#‎SarahReed‬ ‪#‎SayHerName‬ ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬

Please also sign and share petition for TWoC imprisoned in men’s prison without access to hormones.

Resistance Is Fertile – Showcase feedback

We had a full house and a thoroughly engaged audience at our 6th Shake! showcase of film, poetry, music, song, zines and creativity. Pure magic, beauty and power.

Big love and thank you to all the beautiful people that made the night so special.  

Here’s a selection of feedback we received:

it was amazing as always last night – came away feeling educated and inspired – so a huge thank you to you all and respect for the important work you do
– Kevin Smith, Global Justice Now

Thanks to everyone who put on an amazing show, I recorded most on my dictaphone and have been listening over and over. I also must say all the singing was amazing but that one at the end; boyyyyyyy it was beautiful
– Carmela Cuesta, Shake!

 I just wanted to thank you for Tuesday’s Showcase Resistance is Fertile.  I was so impressed with the poetry and film making which were both moving and so conscientiously performed.
– Prue, Network for Social Change

Congratulations – Well done, really enjoyed the Shake showcase last night. Performances were striking, the atmosphere safe and daring. You must be proud!
– Derek Bardowell

just wanted to say that I was totally blown away by the showcase last night. I can still feel the angry, sad, powerful, hopeful words reverberating in my chest!
Seeds for Change

Congrats on a stunning evening – totally blown away
Change everything

Since I have been in London,  I have never experienced something with so much soul and humanity,  I actually want to cry and I did cry…in a good way
– Greeta

So powerful. So powerful … many many times I felt so moved, so challenged … it was WONDERFUL. You are doing such incredible work. It just gets stronger & stronger. Can’t wait for the next one. Much love & admiration
– James Marriot, Platform

What a totally amazing evening last night. Mind-opening and soul-inspiring. I randomly found it on fb and bought a ticket, couln’t be more happy i did! I’m deeply inspired by the work you do and the platform you offer for young people to reflect, collectively and artistically, on the lived experience of our contemporary realities of mulitple oppressions and silencings.. “structural change and personal transformation”, one not without the other… thank you!
– Alex London


I just want to really thank you guys for your continuous support in exploring issues surrounding all of us and helping us expressing it in whatever creative way possible!

You cannot believe how much of an impact you have had on me ( and probably everyone in Shake!) and on how I see the world and I hope I can keep on learning from you because I don’t want to miss it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Nicole, Shake!


Skip to toolbar