Here’s a blogpost I wrote for Voices that Shake! (the youth arts & activism project I help to facilitate) following the latest 5-day intensive course we ran at the Stephen Lawrence Centre.
Once again I was shaken by the Shakers…
This is now the 5th Shake! intensive I’ve been a part of and each time we refine the formula with the feedback received in a collaborative process with the participants.
This latest Shake! had some very welcome additions – especially the ‘Well-being workshop’. Mental health and artist/activist burnout has been a topic that has arisen naturally in discussion on previous Shake!s so incorporating a dedicated space and time for us all to skill-share our experiences and feedback coping strategies was very welcome and proved extremely useful. It was important to build up a sense of trust and create a safe space during the week for these reflections to come forth. This list can serve as a resource we can all reference, add to, and develop in the future.
There can be a lot of ego and foolishness in the arts world so it has been refreshing to work with such a giving team of artists/activists – it is a revitalising learning experience to be exposed to the methods, approaches, warm-up techniques, games, inspirations, and yoga breathing skillz of other facilitators. The collaboration across the art forms of film, music and poetry was something we have looked to make more integrated than on past Shake!s and we arrived at some fresh ideas on to further develop this exchange.
The intensive was intense and our guest speakers (Esther Stanford-Xosei, Adam Elliot-Cooper, Mel Evans, Mark Fisher) set the scene with stimulating presentations, exercises and dialogues on: #Remembering ancestors who paved the way; #Re-imagining visions for a sane society; the movement for #Reparations to address past injustice. As we continue to evolve this programme there are still things we can tweak and tailor to improve in the structure and it is a very much a process-led exploration of ideas. That said, going by the results produced at the end of the week – it worked.
Fired and inspired with this energy, passion and powerful art and looking forward to hearing more from these new Shakers as we move forwards to implement the continuity programme, next Shake! events, writing collective and more. The future is bright – hold tight for the showcase y’all!