Local Roots / Global Roots Workshops in Schools
As part of the project we received Arts Council, England funding to design and facilitate history workshops with two educational institutions – Hackney B-Six and Our Lady’s Convent High School. The workshops took place over the course of several weeks between September and October 2014. The sessions introduced the students to the material generated through our investigation into the links between Hackney, slavery, abolition and the black presence. The students had sessions on historiography, the archive (including document handling) and local site visits. After which students at Our Lady’s Convent Hight school worked Anthony Anaxagorou to produce their own poetic responses to the subject. Meanwhile, the students at Hackney B-Six had two further sessions on Africa before transatlantic slavery and the Haitian Revolution. They Hackney B-Six students then worked together to form a response to what they’d explored throughout the workshop.
We believe that young people have an important voice in history and should have a platform to speak. Thus the students presented their work at a final event ‘Putting the Black in the Union Jack? Black British History in Education.’ This event explored how we can tell our national stories in ways that include the histories of African men, women and children and their descendants. The event took place at Bloomsbury Theatre on 8 November 2014 and included panels by education practitioners including teachers, museum and archive staff, and researchers.
History is about more than simply archives and museums, it is something that we live with in our day-to-day lives. It is something that we express as part of our own identity. Poetry, music, art and literature are some of the ways in which we find forms to speak about and speak to the past. The creative writing sessions were thus lead by professional practitioners who have a particular specialism in working with black history and education using art and language.
MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, writer/poet and educator ‘Akala’ is a label owner and social entrepreneur who fuses unique rap/rock/electro-punk sound with fierce lyrical storytelling. Akala is more recently known for his compelling lectures/seminars, journalism (Guardian, Huffington Post UK and the Independent), TV presenting and script-writing talents and has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and literate talents in the UK. Akala has featured on numerous TV programmes across Channel 4, ITV2, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music, poetry as well as speaking on wide ranging subjects from music, youth engagement, British / African-Caribbean culture and the arts as a whole. In 2009, Akala launched the ‘The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company’, a music theatre production company which has sparked worldwide media interest since its inception.
Anthony Anaxagorou is an acclaimed poet, writer and educator. He has published 8 collections of poetry and is currently preparing for the release of his first collection of short-stories that will be out later this year through Jacaranda Books. He teaches poetry and creative writing in schools across London. He gives lectures on creativity and how poetry can be used as a means to tackle certain mental health issues. In 2012 he set up one of London’s leading poetry nights Out-Spoken. His work has been studied in schools and universities in the US, the UK and Australia as well as being translated into Spanish, Japanese and French.