HCCT:Rmx – Human Code Computer Tongue: Remix

Human Code Computer Tongue (HCCT) took a second run around the conversation of Artificial Intelligence and Creativity. In February 2017, a collective of poets and tech heads came together for HCCT  to explore what the future of AI in creative spaces means for humanity. An open call-out to linguistic code developers and poetic creative writers…

HCCT:Remix at The Free Word Centre – 5th December ’17 @ 7pm

A Verse in Dialog & Apples and Snakes production in collaboration with University College London: Human Code Computer Tongue: Remix – the relationship between human and artificial creativity and consciousness In an evening of spoken word poetry and lively debate, we will revisit and expand upon themes raised by participants of the HCCT:Rmx masterclass in…

Zena E’s The Writery for Freeing Writers

The Writery for Freeing Writers For the past year or so I have been collating tips, techniques and quirky writing prompts to help stay inspired for my writing. When I think about what it means to be a free writer I refer to the writing exercise of free flow, some quality free association –. Imagination…

Human Code Computer Tongue

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! Booking: To book…

Shake! – Surviving the System

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!? So Shake is back! We have been on hiatus for nearly…

Legacy – Step One in Being a Freelance Artist

“Legacy” – Writing to make footprints that won’t blow away on the wind 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,…

What Women Believe – finding our poetry

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…

Directing “Substance” – A Hip Hop Theatre Dance performance

I was invited by Jonzi D,  creator of Sadlers Wells’ Breakin’ Convention  join a collaboration with Redbridge Drama Centre.  The commission was to devise and develop  a spoken word and dance piece to tour schools and community centres in the Redbridge area to raise awareness around substance abuse and sexual exploitation in youth culture. The two…

Mind Meandering #6 – Happy International Women’s Month

Be your own bright dawn and your own bronzing dusk Love your own onyx shadow and bunished ivory tusk Be the steady hand that holds the quaking other Be the found one to the life you lost Be the open door when hurt closed the heart in your chest Learn to love the very body…

Mind Meandering #5 – You’re Too Much

“You’re too much, too big, too open, too tall, you’re hands are too big, you’re too conscious, too choosy, too negative, too bold, too brash, too timid, too dark, too skinny, too direct, too sure of yourself, too placated, too self conscious, too doubtful, too strong, too humble, too black girl, too black, too man-ish,…

Perception, Power and Race in UK Arts

“MINDING THE PERCEPTION GAP” – a 9 part video critique and commentary of UK arts and its issues of ‘diversity’ – Case study Exhibit B  I have never embarked on a homespun project like this before. Filmed in my front room over a week with shifting light. As the week went on I became a…

Perception, Power and Race in UK Arts – Trailer

What does it mean to be an Artist of colour, an artist on African descent in the UK? Late 2014, I wrote a blog post in response to the South African theatre-maker Brett Bailey at the height of the UK controversy over his piece, ‘Exhibit B’. A year later, wanting so much to create something…

Blind Spot – Race and Environmental Activism

When Virtual Migrants were set to devise a new production, “Continent Chop Chop”, directed by Amanda Huxtable, performance poet, editor, activist and fellow Shake! core team member, Simon Murray asked me on board but in video presence. “What is CONTINENT CHOP CHOP? ‘Continent Chop Chop’ is a touring transmedia production linking narratives of climate change…

Mind Meandering – Mourning Self

Social media can sometimes be such an aggressive confrontational space we often take our passion to market and trade verbal blows in intellectual or all out slanging match style. But what happens when the subject touches a genuninely raw nerve that so distresses that you feel like an open wound. This happened when Ceil the…

Writing Two Poets – Mongiwekhaya & Afruakan

Recently, I was commissioned by the British Council to interview two poets from South Africa. What was interesting was learning two very different approaches the service of spoken word or poetry in performance can offer the artist and the people who encounter this rich literary form. Mongiwekhaya is a subdued, potent spirit. His quietly considered…

Dee Dee’s. Pt 1

London. 2015. Yes, you are seeing right. “Hello Everyone Thank you all for the phone calls, notes, emails, tweets and Facebook message of support we have received regarding the racial abuse we were subject to on Monday 25th May, 2015. On what was supposed to be our break on a Bank Holiday, it was with…

LLSB – Long Live Southbank

If you’ve heard about the Long Live Southbank campaign, then you’ll know it was 180,000 members and signatories pushing back against the Southbank Centre, a national arts venue, trying to take over a nation treasure to build coffee shops and schmancy restaurants.  When I heard about the campaign I got it. As a poet, I got…

Mind Meandering #1 – On Storytelling

What started as short blurb with an image for a Facebook post turned into a small project for me – Mind Meanderings. FB: what’s on your mind? What’s your mood? Me: …….*sighs*…. Zena Edwards79 strongly believes #CreativityIsLife #Stories:ReflectionsofCreationWeAre I often go on and on about Storytelling. Because we live by them. What we speak, what…

‘Othered’ Eco-Activism and a Jacket Potato – a poem

In January, fellow poets Sai Murray, Selina Nwulu and I were commissioned to write poetry in response to an event called Weather Fronts exploring the storytelling of climate activism and sustainable futures. The lab-type event hosted by Free Word in Farringdon, London had attracted a healthy number of scientists and writers to see if the…

States of Violence – Shake 16th Feb 2015

Shake Youth Arts and Activism project has a new intensive course brewing. From Monday 16th February, we shall be unpacking one of the most contentious subjects our species confronts: Violence. We will be exploring what makes violence, physical and ideological, an integral part of modern day life. As a poet I think about the word…

Boycott an Art Exhibit – Race and Art – Open Letters: 1

Race and the Arts. The present modes for dialoguing about race in the arts served a distinct purpose up until the mid nineties but now they are clunky, many are obsolete in their effectiveness. People of colour are interrogating and refreshing their arts practice all the time but receiving fewer opportunities to flex their creative…

Spark – Hope in their Hearts

It was quite a daunting ask, for me to be on  panel speaking about something as abstract as ‘hope’. Even as a poet it is hard to steer clear of cliche´s about olive leaves in the beaks of birds on the wing. All we know is that it is something that can be felt  in…

The Voice of Burntwood Girls

Last Summer, as part of the Battersea Arts Centre Heritage Project, I worked with a group of young women whose creative maturity really inspired me.  Given the freedom to use film, paint, mixed media and photography to express themselves, they took basic ideas about the representation and power of girls and women’s voices and ran…

SHAKE! Youth Art and Activism – My Thought on the 3 R’s

I have been working on this incredible youth project for the last four years. Shake! is Platform London’s youth initiative which happen twice a year as a February school’s half-term and August Summer holidays intensive course. They take 6 months to devise with themes I would have been frightened of as teenager, more concerned with…

Parenting the Artist. Giving the Artist’s Manager a Break

So, we made it through 2013 in pretty much one piece. Now, to continue the quest to thriving. As I’m a freelance, self managing artist, I need to have work strategies in place for the fractious haggling of time and energy between the needs of the artist-self and the independent arts business manager/agent-self (she’s a…

Touring with Extraordinary folk – Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis

2013. This highlight has got to be  highlight of the year so far – a 6 date tour with Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis. David Jones of the London Jazz Festival production company Serious, invited me to be support Masekela and Mr Wilis as part of a Women Make Music PRS fund. After I’d accepted,…

Women Make Music – Yes. I do.

I was recently asked to be guest of the month for The PRS Foundation because my last commission was funded by the Women Make Music Award. Why is it important for these kinds of initiatives with pots of money to exist highlights the fact, that the imbalance in the representation of women in the music industry…

Tribute to Jayne Cortez & a Poem

So so moved and honoured to be a part of this line-up. Voices like Jayne’s returned my voice to me through their works – the one that permits me to be the Artist and Woman and Human of African descent I am wholly meant to be. The voice that permits me to raise it from…

Disabling the Preconceptions

March of this year, I was invited by Drake Music to explore a collaborative experience with a group of artists from Graeae Theatre. Both organisations are dedicated to the breaking down of barriers and challenging preconceptions of artists with disabilities. After a couple of meetings with John Kelly, my collaborative musician partner and composer of…

Power Plant: WPD Relationship @ MAC Birmingham

When Apples and Snakes Poetry Organisation invited me to run a masterclass session of the writer/performer relationship, I was excited about flexing this muscle again after some time. What was meant to be a two hour sesssion turned in to four hour of exchange. Directors gained a deeper insight on how to listen to the…

Shake! Youth Arts, Race, Media and Power Project 2013 Is Go!

I have been a core project consultant and deviser of Platform London’s Youth Project, ‘Shake!’, and finally the time has come for it’s delivery. Shake! has been in development since it’s pilot 2010 and successfully received two years funding thanks to the hard work of Jane Trowell at Platform. I spent a day with the …

Moved by Facebook…

I have stayed away from Facebook over the last few months because it had nothing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my true friends on there and have love for acquaintances, and I like to stay in the loop about the vibrant city I live in called London. But my own purpose…

WPD- Security and the Writer/Performer and Director relationship.

As a poet who is used to standing behind a mic, manipulating my voice and being a little physically  animated, I took the plunge to  write a full length one woman show. The difference between the focus needed for a 10-20 minute set at a spoken word night and  an hour and ten minute  theatre…

South Africa – Cultures Worth Fighting For

Today, I want to write about the South Africa I love. Not about Malema and Zuma, the travesty of the ANC legacy post-Apartheid or the shocking images of Platinum Miners in South Africa mown down by security forces (warning: graphic video) last week. I want to write about the South Africa that has so much…