Voices That Shake
Youth discuss Ken Saro Wiwa and Stephen Lawrence
End of summer 2010, Platform and the Stephen Lawrence Centre were working in partnerships in view of creating a pilot course that would attempt to stimulate young people minds while simultaneously engage them with various social issues and injustices through various mediam of creativity.
The "SHAKE!" course was a week-long and the outcome exceeded anyone expectations as the young people and creative practitionners involved created a such a strong bound between them that the SHAKE adventure may well continue beyond what the workshop initially thought or intended.
Now the Stephen Lawrence Centre is a well documented initiative but for those who dont know, Stephen was a young and bright black kid with a promising future, his life was cut short after an unprovoked attack from 4 white men that took place near a bustop in South London. The Stephen Lawrence Centre is the result of a powerful campaign lead by Stephen parents who demanded justice to the authority which resulted in the official finding that the Metropolitan Police was indeed "institutionally racist" : it was only surprising for some layers of UK society. Black community had already encounter too many bad experiences to be "surprised" by something they already knew.....nevertheless, it was a triumphant ruling as this time, the news was "official" and in the news.
The centre is a cutting-edge building made of concrete, glass and steel. The use of natural light and full functionality is maximised by multi-purpose space kitted with all latest video and music technology, it was designed by acclaimed architect David Adaje and also contains artwork from Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili, the SLC was completed in 2008.
Platform is a UK based organisation continuing and carrying the legacy of the late Nigerian writer-activist Ken Saro Wiwa through the Remember Saro Wiwa initiative.
Ken Saro Wiwa and 8 fellows Ogoni were brutally killed on November 1995, the outrageous circumstances behind their deaths involved the Nigerian government and the Oil coorporate giant Shell, it is tale of coorporate greed, social apathy, state corruption versus basic human right and decency, courage and creativity.
So this group of people worked with artist and creative practitionner such as
Sai Mu Rai
Ana from Chocolate films
and myself in a view of creatively bring theses two apparently disparates subject together as part of a youth summer course.
And just like that, SHAKE! was born and we have end up with a film the you can view here: This video-mentary is filmed, directed and produced by the young people themselves.
The SHAKE course also resulted in brand new blog and we hope this will be a template for many other youth projects to come that aim to efficiently use creativity to engage the youth to participate in today social debates.
Check the Voices That Shake Blog here