Permission to write your Self as the best book you will ever read.
It was with great pleasure, I collaborated with the brilliant minded Mandana Seydfinnipur to create “Home Speak” as part of the School of Oriental and African Studies ‘Language Festival 2017.’ Seydfinnipur, director of the Department of Ancient and Dying Languages wanted to shake up the SOAS Institution for a moment for International Mother Tongue Day.
In an age of miscommunication and #alternativefacts, it is becoming increasingly important that we have words available us to effectively communicate our experiences and ideas for better human connectivity. Language enables us to communicate our most complex intellectual thoughts and our fundamental human emotions.
So, in partnership with SOAS Spoken Word Society, I ran a workshop which used the arts works of Mary Kuper & Eveling Villa entitled ‘Metaphors We Live By.’
“These images are inspired by the way in which the body, that universal human form,
gives rise to countlessly varied metaphors and metonyms in diverse languages. Using the
Endangered Languages Archive resources and linguistic studies, these pictures explore how language channels what it is to be human, through blood and guts, hearts and eyes.”– Link to Full Festival Brochure
The next day in the large atrium space of SOAS’s Senate House, we Spoken Word flash mobbed unwitting students who joined the audience in the ‘impromptu’ performance. Invited artists who performed were master Kora player, Griot and composer, Jally Kebba Sousso; poets, Indigo Williams, Shareefa Grassroots and Voices That Shake Poets Annie Rockson, Nicole Nienhaus, Tanya Denhere.
The Home Speak workshop and the poetry event explored the languages we speak, can’t speak and don’t speak and connected ideas of diversity, ethnicity and belonging.
As a collaboration, we celebrated the richness of language and communication that makes us feel at home, that expresses our inner world and how languages enable us to understand and live in the world, understand each other and our own inner lives.
Read the SOAS Language Festival Blog
Its become a healthy collection, so I decided to open up the archive for those who feel they have a creative block at the moment, are a bit bored of their style and want to try something new, or if you just need a kick start. Have a browse and comments and requests are welcome!
University College London, Apples and Snakes poetry organisation and poets, Zena Edwards from Verse in Dialog in collaboration present Human Code Computer Tongue.
When: Monday 20 February 2017, 10am-4pm
Where: UCL, 5th Floor Reception, One Euston Square, 40 Melton St, London NW1 2FD (Please report to the ground floor reception)
Tickets: FREE – but booking essential!
Our imaginations have never been so challenged in the 21st Century. Have we ever been as cornered by thoughts of our collective mortality outside the age of enlightenment in relation to the global economic and political climate as we have been over the last 16 years. Science has promised us the GM cures for disease, our continued life on this and other planets as well as bionic bodies, cryogenics freezing and the growing of body parts in petri dishes and on the backs of mice.
But in the race to reach the forever disappearing finish line of immortality, and despite the intricate and omnipotence of the interweb of handsfree communication and connection, we have never been so connected to each other and yet so disconnected. Our Continue reading
For the last 6 years I have been involved in Voices That Shake as a writer, poet, project developer and facilitator. Our next course is ‘#SurvivingTheSystem.’ Each time we do an intensive, I am invited to write a blog.
Why Surviving the System, Shake!?
We have been on hiatus for nearly 8 months and we’re back with a new Shake intensive course. takes a birds eye view of the planet, zooms in and looks at the streets of everyday living and reflects on our lives as individuals. Examining the current and disturbing issues of our time, it seems we are in for a future of more difficulty after an already bleak few decades now. The political shift to the right in favour of big business and property development, with the marketing machine of mass media, many of us find ourselves numb, in shock, and emotionally, mentally and spiritually brutalized. When we look to the institutions and structures meant to be sources of security, we find them to be disrespectful and uncaring. Abusive.
We are coerced and forced to accept cuts to education and healthcare. and manifests as cultural cleansing and violence, which clumped migration, immigration inefficiency and refugee status’s into one dangerous xenophobic national security and economic risk. In the west, many young people who see themselves as the future working generations are looking at their parents and forbears asking “ What the hell were you thinking?” post Brexit. The sentiment is rooted in deep disappointment and mourning from the the violent severing from the opportunities of belonging to the European block.
Labour. Violence. Addiction
A person’s labour and livelihood is linked so closely to well being, and such deliberate scare-mongering is shock tactics to confuse, misinform, and in consequence of every life where mistrust and frustration is a genuine societal problem. Continue reading
This goes without saying when it comes to the arts.
I have been involved in youth arts (via writing and performance mainly) since 2000 and its youthful voices that re-imagine our worlds, the physical and emotional world, the fighting and resting world, the dying and living world. A world forever in creation.
When we have creativity in our lives we can anticipate wizened voice resonating with plenty stories behind simple words we might hear. When we must practice our creativity (and if you intended to make it a career) why not look to the purpose of why you would want to use the word, spoken or written as a medium to represent you, your life and sense of purpose. Continue reading
Birmingham with Beatfreeks on Wednesday 27th July.
“How do you find your inspiration for your work?” is the most frequently asked question I get as a writer who performs her work. I can’t deny I am often stumped at the question. I trawl my brain for the one thing but it just doesn’t work like that. I’m only sure of a couple of things though – the world is full of inspiration and my gut and my heart have conversations all the time about the abstracts – love, conflict, relationships, frailty, resilience, environment, discrimination and power. Or that centrifugal spin of a coffee cup falling. That tense exchange through eye contact on busy public transport. A door held open for an Elder. The truth out of the mouth of babes. Continue reading
Looking forward to running this session in a couple of weeks!
Engaging with art should be sensory experience, especially when an image is politically loaded. When we see politically charged images we often get lost in abstract ideas of justice, inequality or discrimination. To be able to transfer a visual image loaded with cultural specificity, to the page in a written form that reflects the image, takes a visceral experience. We must be able to have a moment with a painting, photo where the gut overrides our intellectual processes and poetry enables the viewer to see beyond the abstract.
I consider the poet at essence a social commentator who reframes and re-imagines the world. So, writing in response to controversial contemporary images, artworks and photo-journalism, participants will explore metaphor and codification in visual culture, interrogating mainstream media’s use of image and its role in narrative and culture creation as a consequence.
In collaboration with Apples and Snakes Poetry Organisation’s Power Plant program, Ekphrasis in Action masterclass: challenging metaphors of 21st Century Visual Culture (blog), in collaboration wi Apples and Snakes Poetry Organisation’s Power Plant program, aims:
– to encourage participants to explore and examine how they observe, critic and put their ‘artist’s eye’ to work
– to ‘re-see’ and stimulate poetic flow that inspire new ways of re-imagining the world
– to enhance – subvert, reframe – the original art/image and so take on another life through brilliant description
– to generate creative writing that is reflective of the poets voice as a social commentator and writer of the century.
The session is for those with some writing experience and a keen interest in social justice and equality in media representation in all its forms. Participants can expect a writing work-out while engaging in lively discussion about the world we live in today.
Participants are to bring a 1-2 images from mainstream media, and/or politically charged artwork (including graff art) and/or from photographic journalism.
When: Thursday 21 July, 6.30-9.30pm
Where: Blue Room, The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG
Tickets: Free. Book a place with Eventbrite
What do you believe?
Take a moment. Sit with that question. Bullet point your conclusions on a piece of paper and ask yourself, “could that change tomorrow?”
Every second of the day we are asked to believe in something. Something nor from us. Particularly as women. Often we are asked to believe in something that is the antithesis of who we are. Our political opinions, how we feel about our bodies and their sensuality is tightly bound in deflated bubble-wrap and tied off with barbed wire. Not much wriggle room without painful consequences. The sexualisation of our bodies and diminishment of our intellect pits us in a batle of unbalanced compromise as nationalism subsumes our multiplicitous gender identities into unachievable and fantasized cultural archtypes. We seek “fraternité” in our friends, neighbours and family, and if we find rejection there, we seek solidarity in online communities, or in magazines “for women”. We look for any space where we may feel accepted, appreciated for who exactly we are regardless of our shape, colour of our skin, or sexual self-identification.
And then there is religion: a predominantly global belief in a monolithic male presence speaking from a unilaterally agreed elevated position (with economic and political clout behind him) as the Alpha and Omega of how to “woman “. Continue reading
Shake!: What began as a small pilot project has now become a movement of over 100 young people artists, campaigners, activists and community organisers.
Since 2010, the Voices That Shake Youth Arts and Activism Project has been on a incredible journey raising awareness around the true democratizing of power, community rebuilding, well-being and healing justice, creating safe spaces for young socially conscious creativity, and art as a medium for dialogue. The trajectory has brought them to the brilliant point of being the first ever UK delegates to attend the Allied Media Conference (AMC) in Detroit this week.
We only have a few hours, though to make a pitch to you for a little bit of your help.
Please watch this video (mainly because it better hearing about the value of this visit from the young people themselves) and see where your generosity will be a part of helping 8 young people learn new skills in community organising, as well as sharing their knowledge of arts activist work in the UK.
Thank you for your time and Big Thanks for your support