June: behind the scenes

To help all the Engage London team keep up their media-making knowledge after City students’ exams had ended and Pilion Trust young people had moved out of their winter Crashpad accommodation, we arranged a weekly drop-in blogging masterclass at Ringcross Community Centre. Report back from Nicola Baird

Workshop 1: Romeo, Favour and Brandon get blogging. (c) Engage London

Blog workshop 1 – Favour and Brandon, who both hope to go to Brussels, with Romeo discovered basic blog writing conventions including SEO (search engine optimisation) tips or headline choice, why write standfirsts, and the usefulness of the Q&A interview.

  • Favour Ekengwu started an accounting course. She also used her new media skills to write a food review of Blackstock Kitchen on Blackstock Road. This was her first trip to an independently owned cafe.  Favour: “It was a bit awkward coming into a cafe as it looked expensive. The food was amazing: I had a chicken wrap and it was really seasoned beautifully. You can taste the love. The homemade lemonade drink was smooth and sweet. It was so good. And the cookie was so soft, easy to chew! I want to go again and film it next time.” Total bill for Favour’s lunch (chicken wrap, cookie and lemonade) plus Nicola’s falafel wrap and coconut brownie was £12. If you want to try this cafe, go to Blackstock Kitchen, 136 Blackstock Road, N4.
Workshop 2: Blogging masterclass at Ringcross community centre. Nicola on the laptop the clockwise Matt, Diana, Meagan, Rahim, Romeo and Rihana Senay and her sister. (c) Savvas Panas for Engage London.

Blog workshop 2 – was held out in the sunshine. It led to three City students – Meagan Walker, Diana Serenli and Matt Hardy – running Q&A interviews with current and former Pilion Trust members and

  • Romeo Nanub wrote up the first Q&A with Meagan Walker, see here.
  • Romeo had a go writing a theatre review after attending most of a four hour immersive theatre show of George Orwell’s book about poverty and homelessness Down & Out in Paris and London at the UCL Festival (which you can also listen to here). Romeo: “The scrabbling around trying to get any work and the rough sleeping – these things are timeless. It was really relatable and sad, especially the boredom. You have nothing to do, so do useless things (in George Orwell’s book Boris and George just drank together) until the next time when you are busy working again. I’d love to read the book.”
  • An interview with Brandon was published on Islington Faces and he set up a Just Giving Crowdfunder page so he can get the right equipment to improve his animation skills.
After the Women’s Procession celebration of (some) women getting the vote in 1918. Engage London members Naomi Gahie (2nd from left in green sash) and Fadz Ali (far right in violet sash). (c) Pilion Trust
  • Naomi Gahie was kept busy by starting a job and getting banners ready for the Women’s Procession on Sunday  10 June which saw tens of thousands of women march across London (Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh) to celebrate the centenary of (some) women getting the vote in 1918 (see Guardian story here). This project has highlighted the importance of Green, White and Violet to the Suffragettes, it was a branding code that also meant Give Women Votes. Naomi loved the event, and plans to write about these events on the Engage London blog.
  • The first year City university journalism students – Matt, Meagan and Diana – finished off their end of year exams including a language paper.
Workshop 3 on blogging and interviewing was attended by (From left, clockwise around the table) Favour, Nicola, Charlie, Jahbery, Savvas, Naomi and Rahim. ((c) Engage London

Blog workshop 3
We ran a third blog masterclass on June 12. This time it was a twilight session from 5.30-7pm so the young people with jobs, or on courses, found it easier to reach. Big thanks to them for getting across London on time.  This session saw Favour, Charlie and Naomi – who are all going to Brussels for the Engage Europe meet up – develop their Q&A interviewing (soon to be blog posts). We also discussed the upcoming workshops in Brussels and what we already know about Belgium. It’s count down time…

Brussels summer school preparation: Standing: Savas Panas, CEO Pilion Trust, Nicola Baird, journalist. Sitting: Rahim Amin, Favour Ekengwu, Naomi Gahie. (c) Engage London

Workshop 4
We discussed a code of conduct which the young people wrote up. Basically going to the summer school in Brussels needs to be treated as professional work time, and not a holiday. In addition to the workshops we’re all looking forward to frites and mayonnaise, seeing the Grand Place and the famous Manikin Pis, spotting the Art Nouveau buildings and looking for street art and graffiti.

  • City journalism student Meagan Walker wrote a guest post on Islington Faces (a website similar to Humans of New York but restricted to Islington, London) with an interview she’d written about Antonagis Andreou who grew up in Islington in the 1950s/60s. Read it here 
  • STOP PRESS: Rahim Amin will also be going to the Brussels summer school.

MILESTONE: The Engage London blog had 2000+ views by 20 June. Thank you readers.

For Brussels summer school see posts HERE

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