And the new name is…

As you probably know, one of the key changes I have wanted to make to Young People Insight is the name of the YP Insight Forums.

I think that the term forum can come across as quite formal to some young people, which is not the impression I want you to have – these are relaxed, informal conversations giving you the chance to speak your mind.  I also get a little confused when I see the term forum myself, as it can mean a number of different things or take various forms, so it is definitely time for a change.

After asking for your name suggestions, I shortlisted four of my favourites, which I also believed would have an impact when marketing these events.  The four I chose were:

  • Woke Nights
  • The Kickback
  • The Chat Room
  • Free Your Mind

Once I’d made my choices, it was of the utmost importance that the final decision be made by you, so I started a Twitter poll that would give you the chance to vote for your favourites over the course of a week.

It was interesting to watch the changing trends, with Woke Nights starting out in front before Free Your Mind crept up to take the lead, which then had to fight it out with The Kickback.  Weirdly enough tough, Woke Nights finished with the lowest votes, even behind The Chat Room, which never led once.

However, I am happy to announce The Kickback as the winner, which will be the newest addition to our repertoire of names that of course includes Poetic Insight, Come Out to Play and Get Together.

Thank you to everyone who suggested names and also to everyone who voted – it would also be great to know whoever it was who suggested The Kickback in the first place, so send us a DM or email shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk

Now all there is to say is see you at The Kickback on October 24th when we’ll be talking all about Culture.  I for one can’t wait.

What’s Coming Up in October

I want to start off by saying ‘Happy Black History Month’ to all of you and I hope you’ve been enjoying the beginning of Autumn.  After taking time out and enjoying some much-needed reflection time, which you can read a little about here, I’m back and ready to go with more Young People Insight activities.

October is shaping up to be a busy month for me personally, with the start of a protest poetry course at the Roundhouse, getting involved in a knife crime campaign with Croydon Council and also a projection project for the festive season, alongside some of the amazing poets from Poetic Insight.

I’m also humbled and excited to have been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Mayor of Croydon Civic Awards in the category of Young Achiever of the Year.  The awards ceremony will take place on October 17th when the winners will be announced, so I’ll keep you updated on how I do.

Of course, the regular YP Insight events are coming up too, which you definitely will not want to miss out on.  The Civic Awards ceremony falling on the 17th has meant that I’ve pushed back our conversation about culture to October 24th, so make a note of the change in your diaries.

The topic of Culture – when we’ll be joined by a guest speaker – is set to be an incredibly interesting one and I’m sure that it will be a conversation that will take a number of twists and turn.  As you can see on the flyer above, the name for our forums is still a mystery, because I want the final choice to be yours.

Please take a second to choose your favourite name by answering our Twitter poll or let me know your choice on the comment section below.  I want this to be a collective decision, so your vote is essential.

The name may be different, but the time and location will be the same, so join us on October 24th from 6.30-8.30pm in Project B when we’ll be talking all about Culture.  You can register for the event here: http://bit.ly/letstalkaboutculture

Poetic Insight returns too and I cannot wait!  Since it is Black History Month, the theme for the night will be Black-Ish, so if you’re a young poet or spoken word artist, get ready to make a statement and speak out on any ‘ish’ related to being black.  If you want to perform, send a message to 07910092565 or get in touch with us on social media.

We’re at the usual location of Project B from 7-9pm, so make a note and don’t miss it.  It is gonna be a beautiful, powerful night.  Register for your free tickets here: http://bit.ly/poeticinsight-black-ish

As you can probably tell, I’m excited to be back and immersing myself in everything that is coming up.  I’m looking forward to connecting with all of the familiar faces and new faces too, because you are at the centre of all I do and you make it worthwhile.  See you soon.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

Reflecting on The Complete Freedom of Truth Croydon

On August 20th, I finally achieved my goal of bringing The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) to my home town of Croydon.  This is a project that I love and means more to me than I can describe – you properly have to see my eyes brighten and face light up when I speak about it and all that it’s done for me.

Getting the TCFT Croydon pilot to happen was hard work, despite running only for one day, mainly because I began planning for it in June.  I was ready to give up twice, but fortunately I persevered and was able to watch a beautiful day take place.

A group of us gathered on a Sunday to bring something new to Croydon, develop relationships and explore our truths through art. We broke the ice and got our minds ready with a morning warm up led by Daisy.  We were joined by the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Toni Letts, and her consort, who got involved too, followed by the Mayor saying a few words.

Morning Warm Up by Robert Golden.

The main part of the day was the workshops, which I’m pleased to say were a success.  Music and photography rang out through Matthews Yard and beyond, poetry and theatre brought life to Project B, while art flowed through Turf Projects.  As I floated between each venue, I observed how enthused and engaged everyone was in their workshops, which calmed me down and made me smile.

Art Workshop by Robert Golden.

We also had a mini discussion, led by the brilliantly dynamic and inspiring Geraldine Sharpe-Newton, who empowered those in attendance and provided us with plenty of food for thought.  I hope that the young participants left the day with encouragement to become change-makers and not remain stagnant in society.

Discussion by Robert Golden.

One of my favourite parts of the pilot was watching the work created throughout the day come together in the final sharing of work at Braithwaite Hall.  Considering the short space of time each group had to create their pieces, I was extremely impressed with the quality and overwhelmed by what had been produced.  There was true talent in the room and I would love to have seen what they could have created in an extended length of time.

Considering my worries and anticipation, the day went really well and better than I could have imagined, although there is plenty of room for improvement.  I know I need to have some better time keeping, have a list of tasks to assign to volunteers and properly layout how the final sharing of work will run.  I also need to promote more and go into other organisations, telling them about TCFT.

Most of all, I need more time to plan and put everything together, which should be a lot easier next time, considering everything I’ve learnt and the various skills I’ve gained.  Going forward, I know that I’ll need some training for certain aspects and a bigger team of people to work with, who will definitely be able to commit their time to carrying out tasks.

Theatre Workshop by Robert Golden.

The main point of the TCFT Croydon pilot was to see if it would work and if there was a want for TCFT in Croydon.  Looking back on the day, I saw that it does work and there is definitely a want for it in Croydon, but more people need to know about TCFT and understand what the project is.  I can see that it has the ability to grow, host more regular projects in Croydon and contribute towards a more united, democratic society.

The Mayor of Croydon’s Hands by Rachel Dunford.

 

To finish, I want to say a big thank you to my co-facilitator Naomi, who created all of the gorgeous graphics and marketing imagery for the day, and also facilitated the photography workshop.  A big thank you as well goes out to the truly amazing workshop facilitators for the day, who got the best out of our participants: Nikki, Liberty, Chimaine, Daisy, Humi and Cedoux.  The day could not have happened without you.

Big thanks goes out Robert and Skye for taking photos and capturing the day, ensuring that it would not be forgotten.  Big thanks also to my dad for preparing the food, my sister for registering everyone and holding down the information desk, and my mum for all of the help she gave throughout the day.

Thank you so much to Opera Circus for partnering with us on this project, helping with many of the legal aspects, and to Tina from Opera Circus for supporting me throughout the whole process.  I don’t think I could have done this without you mentoring me.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the volunteers who gave up their time on a Sunday to support, all of the participants who got so brilliantly involved in the day and also everyone else who helped me along the way in the organisation process.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to Matthews Yard and Turf Projects for supporting us by providing your beautiful spaces without asking me to pay a penny, and thank you to Project B for the use of your venue yet again.  And finally, a huge thank you to Croydon Council for your supporting and sponsoring us through the use of Braithwate Hall, and to FAB Croydon for sponsoring us through donation.  You were all a part of this day.

Poetry Workshop by Robert Golden.

The Complete Freedom of Truth Landing in Croydon

As you may remember from previous posts, I have participated in the international youth project, The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT), by attending three residencies in the past two years.

I’ve been fortunate enough to immerse myself in creativity and meet the most amazing group of people from around Europe and beyond, in the towns of Srebrenica (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Bournemouth (UK) and Sarteano (Italy).  Each residency was different, but always special and a truly rewarding experience.

Image by Robert Golden and used with permission.

TCFT changed my life in a number ways.  Most significantly, it gave me the final spurt of courage I needed to launch Young People Insight as a physical platform and also influenced the way that it has evolved, particularly in the creative sense.  However, just having an influence or bringing an essence of TCFT to Croydon isn’t enough – I actually want young people to gain the TCFT experience that I did.

This is why I’m excited to be bringing TCFT to Croydon!  

On Sunday 20th August, myself and another Croydon based participant, Naomi, will be facilitating TCFT Croydon, a one day pilot project, giving young people a taste of TCFT.  It will also allow us to see if there is a wider want for TCFT in Croydon, and if it all works out, more and longer length TCFT projects, workshops and residencies will be coming to the borough.

The theme for the day will be Unity, and young people, aged 15-26, will be able to participate in a  creative workshop of their choice in either Matthews Yard, Project B or Turf Projects.  They can choose from Art, Drama, Music, Photography or Poetry, which will give them the chance to let their creative juices flow and develop skills along the way.

An important element of TCFT is creating change and encouraging “a vision of an equal, inclusive and truly democratic society”, which is why a discussion element will also take place.  And to conclude the day, any work created by the young participants will be shared at Braithwaite Hall (Croydon Clock tower) in the evening, which members of the community are invited to attend.

Photo by Robert Golden and used with permission.

This is going to be a fun-filled, inclusive day, which could be the start of something truly great for Croydon and even South London as a whole.  It is also a day of opportunities for young people, as they never know where participating in this project may lead.  I can honestly say that I would not be the same person without TCFT.

If you would like to be part of the first ever TCFT Croydon – don’t worry, you don’t have to be from Croydon – sign up here: http://thecompletefreedomoftruth.com/croydon

Continued Support at Poetic Insight

Every Poetic Insight is different, which is what makes every one of them special in their own way.  One thing that never changes though is the amazing young talent and constant support in the room.

The support is what enables first time performers to take to the stage and do a great job.  On July 25th, we welcomed Jadi-Ann to the stage for the first time, who did a great job of summing up the battle of procrastination and turning words into action.  We hope that she’ll come back and share at Poetic Insight again in the future.

We also had some of our regular performers back, which is always great.  Authentic Alanie shared a spoken word poem inspired by the Indigo Children, Rainbow Children and Crystal Children, while Jamal performed a powerful spoken word piece on genocide and hate.

Rhianna took to the stage after a couple of months away, sharing a poem about love gone cold.  And Annotate put a huge smile on our face, performing one of our favourite poems about young people struggling to have a chance.

I also shared a spoken word poem that was very important to my heart, where I wiped away my mask and expressed some of my more innermost feelings.  It feels good to let my guard down every once in a while.

You’ll have to wait until October 31st for the next Poetic Insight, and since its Black History Month the theme will be Black-ish.  However, you can get social with us on Sunday from 5-8pm in Project B and we’ll be bringing The Complete Freedom of Truth to Croydon on August 20th – stay tuned for more news on that.

Just make sure you save the date of October 31st and if you’re a young poet or spoken word artist wanting to perform, email me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or message me at 07910092565.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

What influence does music have?

We sat down in Project B on July 18th to talk all about the influence of music, which was a conversation that took off into numerous directions that I was never expecting.  Nevertheless, it made the night incredibly interesting.

To get everyone warmed up, I asked them to share what music means to them.  Responses included:

  • “An inspiration.”  You can be inspired by the career of others in music. – Andrae
  • “Music is parallel universes.  I can see other versions of myself in music.” – Alana
  • “Music is my pain, and then my happiness.”  All the bad from the past influences the happiness that I have.” – Unorthodox
  • “Music is a lot.” – Hakeem
  • “The point where you can appreciate music and you’re in the zone.  Music can take you to a happy place and a sad place.” – Pekz

Pekz also added a personal anecdote to his explanation, telling us that he’s been doing music for a very long time – “Music’s like that one woman I keep going back to.”

Pekz later delved right into the influence of music, saying that “there are people that influence it in the wrong way” and that music influences our younger generation.  He also expressed that music has a lot of power in decisions that we make in life, but as human beings we have some common sense to recognise the good from the bad.

Unorthodox backed up this point, saying, “The music is the problem…There’s people under 16 doing things they’ve seen in the videos and heard in the songs.”

I then posed the question, what effects have music had on you?  Hakeem said that music helps him when he’s stressed out, and Alana told us that the music she listens to that relaxes her is Disney and Barbie – “I feel I can jump into them and in a different world.”

Pekz made the point that a lot of music is for the female base – “I can go to a bashment rave and see 70% females.”  He also added, “Women support music more than mandem” and that women buy into music more.

Women would be a recurring theme during our conversation, as we spent time speaking about interacting and dancing with women in clubs.  We also spoke about general interactions between males and females – “Everything that’s good looking is not always the good thing,” said Pekz.

As you know, we love individuals sharing their stories and personal experiences at YPI.  One of the most special moments of the night was Pekz and Unorthodox sharing how music was the base of their friendship.  “Music can bring people together,” said Pekz.

I later asked: What are your thoughts on the link between music and misogyny towards women?  Andrae thinks that music’s behind it, while Unorthodox told us, “This is why I respect old music, because they were bigging up women.”

Pekz went a little deeper, using another personal experience – “I said something in one of my songs, because a lot of women are referring to themselves in that way.”  He later added that “a lot of women today are idolising 67.”

This also led on to us talking about the differences between hip hop, rap and grime, as well as how hip hop has changed over the years.  “Back in the day, people had something to say,” expressed Andrae.

My final question of the night was, what would you say to someone who is living out negative stereotypes that stem from music?

  • “I’m doing it now through my music.” – Unorthodox
  • “We can still appreciate music without listening to all the negative stuff.  You shouldn’t be afraid to hear new stuff.” – Pekz
  • “Explore many different types of lyrics… Research into what you listen to and don’t just listen to it.” – Alana

I’ll leave you with a final point from Pekz, who said, “Everything is a live and learn situation… Music can influence you to do positive things, because it depends on the types of lyrics.”

Our next forum won’t be until October, as we’re bringing The Complete Freedom of Truth to Croydon on August 20th and in September we’re taking a well-earned break.  You can ‘Get Together’ with us at our next social event on August 6th, but for now, save the date of October 17th when we’ll be talking Culture.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

Info for July’s YP Insight Forum & Poetic Insight

We’re now very much into the month of July, so I apologise for being late with this blog post, but I’ve been crazy busy with the exciting things we’ve got coming up in August!!  Hopefully you’ve seen some of the information about the events we’ve got coming in July already.

At the request of Kyle, we are going to be talking music at the forum on July 18th.  However, since music is such a broad subject, we decided to focus on ‘The Influence of Music’ this time round.

What are some of the effects of music on the ears of the listener?  Do you think it has a negative influence on young individuals, particularly young black individuals?  What are your thoughts on the link between music and misogyny towards women?

There are so many more questions that could come into play, so come chill with us, join the conversation and bring any questions of your own.  We’ll be meeting at the usual time of 6.30-8.30pm in Project B and of course, there will be snacks to munch on.  Let me know you’re coming by registering here: http://bit.ly/ypiinfluenceofmusic

Poetic Insight returns on July 25th.  Like previous months, there is no theme, so feel free to make your voice heard on whatever subject you choose.  If you’re a young poet wanting to speak your mind on the Poetic Insight stage, send an email to shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or message me at 07910092565.

Doors open at 7pm with performances starting at about 7.20pm and the event concluding at 9pm. You can also register for the event at Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/poeticinsight-july17

It’s set to be another good month of events, building up to the excitement of August.  Keep looking out for more information about what we’ve got coming up for you.  You’re gonna love it.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.