What’s Coming Up This July?

Summer is actually here and it is beautiful.  Have you been enjoying this full on dose of sunshine?  I know I have.  It’s not just the sun that is making July beautiful though – the events YPI has in store will be making July beautiful as well.

After two great sessions, TCFT Croydon 2018 comes to an end on July 15th.  I know, I can’t believe the last one is almost here either, it has gone by so fast.  The workshops will be continuing, culminating with a sharing of the work created in a performance open to all members of the community.  I got a taste of the work everyone has started so far and it is gorgeous, so I would definitely recommend coming along.

The performance will be taking place from 5.30-7pm in the XChange Function Room on Lansdowne Road in Croydon Town Centre.  Please come and support if you can.  Look out for more information on the TCFT Croydon Facebook page.

Photo by Peter Ball and used with permission.

For the first time ever, Poetic Insight will be coming to Thornton Heath and I am beyond excited, as Thornton Heath just happens to be the place I call home.  The event will be held during Thornton Heath Arts Week, giving young poets and spoken word artists an opportunity to make their voices heard.

Our evening of poetry will be taking place at Thornton Heath Library on July 17th, with doors opening at 6pm for a 6.30pm start and 8pm finish.  Email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com if you would like to perform, but if you just want to enjoy some poetry from the audience, you can get your free tickets here: bit.ly/poeticinsight-thaw

The Kickback returns to its usual standalone format on July 24th, a week later due to our event during Thornton Heath Arts Week.  We’re talking ‘Goals’ this month, hearing from young people doing inspiring and positive things.  Come ready to learn, ask questions and think about your own goals.

We’ll be at Project B from 6.30-8.30pm with the snacks and a number of interesting faces.  This edition of The Kickback is always a great one, so you will not want to miss it.  Let us know you’re coming by registering here: bit.ly/lets-talk-goals

Our final event of the month will be the traditional Poetic Insight, at its usual home of Project B on the usual last Tuesday of the month.  Keeping in line with The Kickback, the theme will be ‘Dreams & Goals’, which I think is going to be really interesting and inspiring.

We’re also back to our traditional open mic format after last month’s special event celebrating peace, so if you would like to share your poetry, email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com or you can sign up on the night.  Be sure to save the date of July 31st, with the time of 7-9pm, because it is a little while away.  You can get your free tickets here: bit.ly/poeticinsight-dreams-goals

Keep enjoying the sunshine (and the football if you’re watching).  I really hope to see your beautiful faces at, at least one, of our events this month, as these are going to be the last YPI events for a little while – I am in need of a serious break.  Remember that a hug and a big smile from me will be there waiting for you.  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.

What’s Coming Up This June?

It feels just crazy typing it, but we are already halfway through the year.  Can you believe it?  Halfway through 2018!!  Now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s time to fill you in on all that we’ve got coming up in June.

This month is looking to be a unique one for YPI with our events being non-traditional and quite specialised.  June’s first event will be part of Croydon’s Festival of Peace programme, so we’re doing things a little differently.

The Kickback will be combining with Poetic Insight, for a night of conversation, poetry and munchies, of course.  We’ll be focusing on the theme of Peace, which I think will result in an interesting conversation.

We’re also opening up the Poetic Insight stage to poets and spoken word artists of all ages for the first time, as the event will have an inter-generational focus rather than the usual focus on young people.  As well as the traditional open mic, we are excited to have three amazing feature poets in AadamSpeaks, Joe Duggan and Sid.

This is going to be beautiful, so save the date of June 19th and be at Project B from 6.30-9.30pm for a night of peace, love and good vibes.  Let us know you’re coming here: bit.ly/thekickbackpoeticinsight-peace

After a great start last month, TCFT Croydon 2018 continues on Sunday June 24th, focusing on the theme of Change.  The creative workshops begin this month, giving participants the opportunity to build on discussions and what they would like to change through creative means.

One of the things that the participants said that they would like to change and decided to focus on is bridging the gap between generations.  With that in mind, I have made the decision to extend the age of participants and invite those over 25 to take part in TCFT Croydon 2018 with us, as the inter-generational element seems to work very well in Croydon.  If you are interested in bridging the gap and getting your creative juices flowing, sign up here: bit.ly/tcftcroydon2018-signup

Our final event in June will be a collaboration with local organisation, I Am More CIC, who focus on addressing the needs of young carers aged 11-21 years old, living in and around London.

The aim of the event is to raise awareness of young carers, as well as create a safe space for young carers to express themselves.  We’ll be watching a short film created as part of I Am More’s ‘Be Seen’ campaign, followed by a relaxed discussion.

Come along to Project B on June 26th from 7-9pm to learn more about I Am More and what they do, show support to young carers and meet some new people.  Sign up for the night here: bit.ly/letstalkaboutyoungcarers

It’s gonna be another exciting month at YPI, which I am very much looking forward to and I hope to see some of your lovely faces.  You know there will be a smile and hug waiting for you.

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’s Coming Up This May?

May is here, the sunshine is back and I’m excited for everything that we’ve got coming up!  This month is going to be a busy one for YPI with lots of great things in the works.  I just need to make sure that I keep up with it all.

First up is The Kickback, when we’ll be talking Mental Health during Mental Health Awareness Week.  The topic of Mental Health led to one of our best conversations in 2017 and I’m looking forward to another great conversation this year.

The Kickback will be hosted by OASIS, a health service for young people aged 14-35, who are experiencing psychological distress.  OASIS’s focus is on Psychosis, which they will be providing a deeper insight into.  Be sure to save the date of May 15th and the time of 6.30-8.30pm.  Register for the event here: bit.ly/letstalkmentalhealth

On the following day, we are joining up with community-led cinema, Screen25, and youth counselling charity, Off The Record, to put on a special event for Mental Health Awareness Week.  We will be screening feature film, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, a 2010 hit comedy that confronts preconceptions about mental health and explores the reality of depression through the eyes of a 16-year-old.

As well as the feature film, you will also be treated to a screening of Behind The Locked Door, a short documentary produced by Brent Mind, about mental health in the black community.  And following on from the films will be a panel discussion on mental health, touching on some of the issues raised in the films.

I am really looking forward to this event, which I think is going to be thought-provoking and a lot of fun.  I don’t want any of you to miss it, so get May 16th, 7.45-10pm, in your diary, and don’t forget to buy your tickets: bit.ly/2r0cQC6

Last year, I put on the TCFT Croydon Pilot on a Sunday in August.  This year, TCFT Croydon is going to be bigger and better, taking place on three Sundays spread across three months.  The first of those Sundays will be May 27th at Turf Projects, getting the ball rolling for TCFT Croydon 2018 with a day of fun conversation and creative activities.

The theme for TCFT Croydon 2018 is Change, encouraging young people to think about how they can spark change through art, culminating in the final sharing of the work they create on July 15th.  There are still a small number of spaces remaining for those of you who are 15-25, so if you would like take part in this special creative process, sign up for your free space now: bit.ly/tcftcroydon2018-signup

Our final event in May will be Poetic Insight, continuing the focus on the theme of Mental Health.  Last year’s Mental Health themed Poetic Insight was a raw, beautiful, moving experience, which will definitely go down as one of our most memorable events.  I’m hoping that this will be another one to remember.

We’ll be at Project B on May 29th from 7-9pm, with performances starting at 7.30pm.  If you’re a young poet or spoken word artist wanting to perform, please email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com or send a message to 07910092565, and I’ll add your name to the list.  If you’d prefer to simply engage by sitting in the audience, register for your free tickets here: bit.ly/poeticinsight-mentalhealth

I genuinely cannot wait for all of these events and I cannot wait to see your beautiful faces at some of them.  I’ll be waiting with a big smile and a hug.

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

Bringing The Complete Freedom of Truth to Croydon

Last month, I took part in the European youth project, The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) for the third time.  This year we were in the town of Sarteano, Italy, where we took part in the usual assortment of workshops, discussions and showcases.

A project centred on inclusiveness, tolerance and equality, TFCT is the perfect example of what Europe and the extended world could be if we were more accepting of each other and worked together, rather than fight against each other.

Most of all, it shows the importance of art – how it can bring people together and begin to create change.  This has been a great inspiration to me and an element that I’ve taken forward in developing Young People Insight – in fact, YP Insight probably would not be what it is now without TCFT.

This year I brought a bit of YP Insight to Sarteano by holding a poetry night as part of TCFT.  As always, it was filled with varying talent and amazing poetry on a variety of different themes.  However, unlike Poetic Insight, all of the performers were not young people, but TCFT is all about transcending age.

Poems were presented in different languages, which brought different levels and beautiful cultural diversity to the night.  Francesco’s poems were read in Italian, and also translated into English and Romanian.  Maya and Sandra performed poems in Bosnian, while Saša delivered a poem in Serbian.

Image by Irina Ganescu.

There were themes about love, self, fitting in and dance.  Some poems were more personal than others, giving us a deeper insight into the individual which is always beautiful.  Hopefully there will be some footage up online soon so you will be able to experience what was an amazing night.

Thank you to Francesco, Sandra, Julia, Sylvia, Luka, Ellie, Izzy, Maya, Molly, Ricky, Liviu, Raul and Saša – the night would not have been what it was without you.  I also want to thank everyone else who was behind the scenes and helped me to get the night organised I could not have pulled this off on my own in a country that was foreign to me.

TCFT is a truly special experience, which words cannot do enough justice for.  You cannot fully comprehend it unless you live it yourself, which is why I intend to bring more of TCFT to Croydon over time.  I’ve seen the change and effect it has had on the lives of the young people involved, including myself.  I can genuinely say that it has changed my life and I would not be the leader that I am now without it.

Just watch this space.

Show Support to The Complete Freedom of Truth

Following the news, it’s become commonplace for us to hear about Brexit, fractured relationships in Europe, Trump wanting to ban immigrants from the USA and many other examples of conflicts throughout the world.

We live in a world and a society overrun with conflict and struggles to live together peacefully – harmony seems like an impossibility.  This makes it all the more important for initiatives and exchanges to take place, which will bring individuals from different aspects of life and different parts of the world together.

This is exactly what The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) does.  You will have seen me write posts about TCFT before on this blog, as I have been blessed enough to take part in the project over the past few years.

TCFT is a five-year project which aims to “develop global youth citizenship through culture and the arts”.  Time spent embracing creativity, as well as learning about policies and democracies, through various workshops, presentations, activities and sharing evenings is a rewarding experience.  It enables all participants to develop skills, build friendships and grow into change-makers that will have an impact on their communities, Europe and hopefully the world as a whole.

The Complete Freedom of Truth, Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 2015 from robert golden on Vimeo.

It is an environment where experiences and views are shared without judgement, prejudices are eradicated and everyone is seen as equal.  Age, race, nationality, sexuality, religion and level of ability does not matter – each of us is human and that is all that matters.  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all thought like that?

The project can also be a life-changing and thought-provoking process.  A young person from Bosnia, who was self-admittedly lazy, is working on developing on organisation in their country.  A young Romanian, who said that she was previously a little racist, has changed the way she thinks and is apologetic about it.  And I know that I probably would not have taken Young People Insight further without TCFT – I was able to develop my confidence, shake off some of my fears and it was there that I performed my first piece of spoken word.

TCFT is a truly special project that more people should be aware of, because we are slowly trying to repair some of the cracks in Europe through unity and creativity.  Instead of constantly reporting on Brexit, why doesn’t the media report that?

However, projects like this cost money and TCFT is in need of some funds for this year’s residency in Italy.  We are going to continue our creative practices and have further discussions on EU policy, which we as young people need a greater understanding of.

There is currently a crowdfunding campaign running throughout the month of February, which needs your support.  Please donate as little as £5 (more would be great) and then share it with others.  Raising money is not only important, but raising awareness is a vital aspect of the campaign.

You can donate to The Complete Freedom of Truth’s campaign on the Crowdfunder site: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-complete-freedom-of-truth/

tcft-sarteano-crowdfunding