Reuben’s blog, IMAGINE @ Nottingham, Day 1

Raw Roads touches down in Nottingham:
A day to meet new budding artists and for new works of art to begin sprouting

First day! We have landed off the arts ship Enterprise IMAGINE to work with the future artists of Nottingham.

Our proceedings got started properly with a good old fashioned surprise as rapper, producer & DJ Conrad Kira dropped his hit track Baka (Bully) and Reuben performed his poem ‘What makes a black man?’ Both artists offered an example of their artistry and the origins & motivations for crafting their creations. It was no coincidence that both pieces tied into the mandate of the core mission of IMAGINE.

Imagine a world that stops at the press of a button and becomes fixed to the voice of one person out of 7 billion. This voice is yours. What would you say? If you could change the world forever with this powerful button, what would you change?

We get to know our participants through fun games Stop and Go, Name and Action and the classic Zip Zap Boing.

We then delved into one of the most influential technique for creating new work through Mind Mapping. FLOetic Lara displayed what a mind-map is and how an artist can use it to produce a subject to focus on, as well as rhyming words that can be turned into a poem, rap and/or a spoken word monologue. (See photographs below to get an idea of examples.)

We were able to see the things our young artists were preoccupied with, like Gangs, Foods, Notts Street (Nottingham) & Things They Like. It was also useful for them to gage a way to creating new work.

Following the break, we split off into two groups (The Rappers and The Singers/Poets) and delved into two separate challenges. The group I was in got a chance to discuss the IMAGINE concept; our mission and what drives the new work that we seek to support and make. So, if you could stop the world and make everyone focus on you, what would you say? The participants came up with the themes of:

  1. The double standards being applied to women and men are unacceptable
  2. Negative perceptions of young people are unfair
  3. The news has a lot to do with the negative perceptions people have of young people
  4. Too many people dismiss the younger generation for a number of unacceptable reasons

FLO then set a very cool writing challenge: write two lines on certain topic, fold your paper over the first line and pass it to the person next to you. They will then continue with a new topic and write two new lines. The result of this challenge was five potent, powerful poems.

As the groups joined back together, we shared the outcomes with each other. Our group read aloud the poems, while the Rappers performed the new bars they have written..

As our workshop came to a close, we had a simple checkout: Describe in two words your feelings towards today’s workshop?

Top answers included:

  1. Eventful Experience
  2. Pleasantly Surprising
  3. Calm and Cas’
  4. Chilled and Comfortable

A cipher then ensued, as Conrad took to the decks and Jesse to the microphone. We encouraged people to stay and learn by action: with Day 1 done, it was time to have some fun.


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