Brussels: gallery from Engage Europe summer school #2

Engage London sent eight young people to the Engage Europe media summer school in Brussels, hosted by the programme co-ordinator, IHECS. Here’s the story in eight portraits

1 We’ve arrived in Belgium for summer school (25-28 June 2018)

Brussels Midi – Charlie, Naomi, Nicola, Savvas, Diana, Favour, Meagan, Matt, Rahim (and one more to join us, Alun) (c) Engage London

2 Here’s where we are staying, Hostel Bruegel, close to Sablon

Engage Europe participants meet up – here are students and staff from Spain, Germany and London (UK). There were also staff and students from Cluj-Napol in Romania. (c) Engage London

3 Last team member to join us

Alun Macer-Wright makes the first day’s plenary at IHECS, a journalism/media uni in Belgium, just in time to join the Engage Europe workshops with students and young people from Romania, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the UK. IHECS journalism school is close to the famous Manneken Pis (c) Engage London

4 IHECS journalism school is in the centre of Brussels

IHECS (this pic will be changed to the full group portrait when it is sent on from Engage Europe) (c) Engage London

5 Trip to the European Parliament (Engage Europe is co-funded by the Erasmus Programme of the EU)

First time visit to the European Parliament for five Engage London students – Charlie, Favour Alun, Diana and Naomi – who met Julie Ward, MEP for North West England (c) Engage London

6 A taster from just one of the workshops linking civil society with uni skills – this one involved portrait photography #baghead #ostcollective

In the back streets of Brussels summer school workshop had turned a garage into a photo studio to connect academia with civil society and mix up the formal portrait using skills of #octcollective. Here are Pilion Trust CEO Savvas Panas and Islington Faces’ Nicola Baird in disguise (c) Engage London

7 After sharing our summer school work there were certificates and a party

Scenes from the photo booth at the IHECS hosted party at Loft 58 – Romanians, British, Spanish, German and Belgian students all know how to party. (c) Engage London/Matt Hardy

8 Goodbye lunch

Delicious lunch at Les Cercle des Voyageurs near IHECS, in Brussels (c) Engage London

Engage London has approx 27 members – a lucky eight were able to attend the Brussels summer school at IHECS from 24-28 June. They were Pilion Trust’s Rahim Amin, Favour Ekengwu, Naomi Gahie, Charlie Tshibangu and City’s journalism undergrads Matt Hardy, Alun Macer-Wright, Diana Serenli, Meagan Walker. Big thanks to Engage Europe for creating this opportunity.

Brussels: World Cup round up #1

Round up of watching the Russia 2018 World Cup in Brussels after the inspiring media workshops at the Engage Europe summer school in Belgium. Report by Engage London’s Charlie Tshibangu (England fan) written on the Eurostar back to London just before the Belgium v England game…

Manneken Pis in central Brussels is dressed in the Belgian football strip ready for the England v Belgium game. The statue has his clothes changed twice a day but is naked by night. (c) Engage London

Watching the matches in a bar in Brussels is a great atmosphere, you get to experience the rollercoaster emotions football gives you with a mix of fans such as Portuguese, German, as well as the Belgian fans (while drinking the famous Belgian beer or two!).

Being a football fan myself and watching all the games in Brussels, it made me get to know and look at the city in a different light. They really embraced their team, plastering the city with posters of players and hanging their flags everywhere you looked… which for me was great.

I asked every Belgian person I came across about their thoughts on the big Belgium V England draw scheduled for Thursday 28 June. Surprisingly a few were less optimistic about their squad and their chances of winning against us. Unfortunately for us, and fortunately for them, they ended up beating us 1-0 by a brilliant goal from Adnan Januzaj.

CAPTION: Football is huge in Brussels – here Morocco fans celebrate a draw (2:2 with Spain). Film by Engage London/Matt Hardy

The 2018 Russia World Cup has been eventful so far, two weeks in and there has already been a couple of heartbreaks. The latest disappointment being Germany, the former 2014 World Cup Champions have crashed out of the group stages.

Germany’s first blow came when they lost their opening game 0-1 when they took on an energetic Mexican side, with the young Mexican Lozano nicknamed ‘Chucky’ grabbing the win. When time came to redeem themselves in their second game against Sweden the Germans answered the critics by adding a much needed 3 points to their account when they beat the Swedes 2-1 with Toni Kroos scoring a 90th minute free-kick at the very last seconds of a frustrating game, the goal without a doubt making its way in top 3 position in best goal of the competition.

Moving forward from their 2-1 win, they took on South Korea who were branded this week as one of the worst teams of the competition having failed to win a single game in their campaign.

Germany as expected created a number of chances failing to score a single goal which would later come back to haunt them as South Korea took their chance in on the 90th minute scoring on corner kick. Germany’s demise continued when the world number 1 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was caught outside his goal which led to a easy tap in by the Tottenham Hotspur striker Heung-Min Son making the final results 0-2 to South Korea.

The Koreans triumph over the Champions, caused them to be eliminated. It’s the earliest exit for Germany since the competition began in 1938. Some might say this could be one of the most shocking moments of the World Cup since Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 defeat back in 2014.

Other teams whose journeys were cut short are Panama, Tunisia, Iceland, Senegal and Nigeria.

Nigeria was the most unfortunate of the bunch after letting their qualification ticket slip when Argentina’s centre back Marcos Rojo’s volley from an 80th minute corner kick.

For everyone it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.

  • Engage London has approx 27 members – a lucky eight were able to attend the Brussels summer school at IHECS from 24-28 June. They were Pilion Trust’s Rahim Amin, Favour Ekengwu, Naomi Gahie, Charlie Tshibangu and City’s Matt Hardy, Alun Macer-Wright, Diana Serenli, Meagan Walker. Big thanks to Engage Europe for creating this opportunity.

WRITING: Processions a walking art show

100 years ago, women were given the right to vote and stand for office. Processions 2018 a beautiful walking art exhibition celebrated just that. Many women, girls, those who identified as women or non-binary (I even spotted a few male supporters) came together to walk from Green Park station to Parliament to support, record and exhibit their banners. Report by NAOMI GAHIE for Engage London

A sea of marchers at Processions where everyone wore Green, White or Violet banners (the Suffragettes code for Give Women Votes). (c) Pilion Trust/Dolores Steadman

Exiting Green Park station my eyes were instantly drawn to colour green, purple and white everywhere I turned; the colour for the Suffragettes. The sight of hundreds of women, banners, chanting, battle crying, dancing and most importantly smiling in celebration of an event that changed the life for women in the UK was incredible.

Waiting to start Processions a walking art show across London (Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh). (c) Pilion Trust/Dolores Steadman

The aura emitted from the participants was infectious, you could feel the love, the injustice of more that was to be resolved, the celebration of the accomplishments to date, it was impossible to not smile, join in the chants and at times have a little boogie to the music around.

Still Not Good Enough – the fab banner Naomi Gahie (R) and friends at Pilion Trust created to join the Processions March across London on 10 June to celebrate 100 years of (some) women having the vote. (c) Pilion Trust/Dolores Steadman

Our banner for the march zoned in or 4 points our group had decided they wanted to draw attention to:

  • Modern Slavery – A worldwide epidemic that is so close to home. The U.K. one of top 10 countries affected by modern-day slavery, with a record-breaking number of reports made related to modern day slavery and trafficking made just last year.
  • Forced Marriage – A saddening and putrid practise affecting many in today’s modern society across the world. Illegal in the U.K. since June 16th, 2014; it should be illegal worldwide.
  • Domestic Violence – A vulgar offence I believe affects us all one way or the other, if it’s not close family, it may be a friend or a friend of a friend. Sadly, a lot of people are still under the impression this only affects women, men are also affected by domestic violence and a lot more unlikely to come forward and report it.
  • Gender Pay Gap – I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, don’t you?

Our chosen slogan at the front of our banner “STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH”, was chosen to get the message across that although we have come far as a society there is still much inequality that must come to an end hence the “TO BE CONTINUED…” at the back of the banner.

The brilliant 2-sided banner from Pilion Trust. (c) Pilion Trust/Dolores Steadman

I was bamboozled and humbled to see our banner had sparked conversation by passers-by such as the recent vote to legalise abortion in the Republic of Ireland. I hate to toot my own horn but we were stopped every 5 minutes just so pictures could be taken off our amazingly executed, thought-provoking, eye-catching banner. Too much? Sue me!

There were many groups that really peaked my interest such as a woman dressed in attire from 1918 with a humongous parliament model on top of her head or the colourful “Power to the future” banner an array of colours and three-dimensional flowers and geometric-somethings popping out to bring it to life.

There is nothing I would change about the march, it was such an honour to be part of the event which will remain close to my heart till the day I depart the earth.

Happy 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

As a first timer to a march of any sorts, I must admit I was nervous for what I would be expecting, however, that disappeared instantly as soon as I could what I could only describe as love. I can assure you I will be involved in the next Processions march, will you be joining me?

  • Read the Q&A with Naomi Gahie here.
  • Processions was organised by Artichoke

 

 

 

Meet the team: Naomi Gahie

Meet Naomi Gahie who hopes to be in Brussels for the June workshops. This Q&A was done by Charlie Tshibangu, Rahim Amin and Favour Ekengwu.

Naomi Gahie (c) Hugh Gary Photography

NAOMI GAHIE, 23
Q: Where are you from?

I was born here. But my parents are Iverian (Ivory Coast) so I speak French. I was brought up in Bolton (from the age six). I’m 23 now and work in customer service.

Q: What are your interests?
Main interest is singing and reading. I’m reading Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbot – the last back in the DCI Douglas series.

Q: Who influences you the most?
I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s writing style. My favourites are her books Americana and Purple Hibiscus. She’s also very famous for her Ted talk We should all be feminists and also the Danger of the single story)  When it comes to singing my influences are neo soul artists like Lianne La Havas and Solange.

Here’s a link to Chimanada Ngozi Adichie’s Ted talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_we_should_all_be_feminists?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

Q: What’s wrong with London at the moment?
I hear a lot about knife crime being on the rise and all these negatives on social media, but I can only sympathise from observational perspective. It’s hard finding jobs. The main barrier I had was not that they weren’t available, it was because there is so much opportunity in London but I had mental health issues. Now my sister wants to come to London and nurse here for the opportunities.

  • Naomi is a fab writer. You can read her account of the Women’s Procession across London on our blog here. (to be posted w/c 18/6/18)

 

 

Planning at Thomas More University, Mechelen, Belgium

15 March 2018: Engage Europe colleagues, co-ordinated by Laura and Esther from IHECS (Brussels), met at Thomas More University, Mechelen, Belgium. Report from City, University of London team.

Yarn bombing by old houses along the River Dyle in Mechelen, Belgium (c) Engage London

Q: Where is Mechelen?
Mechelen is in Belgium – quite close! London to Brussels via Eurostar takes just two hours. From Brux Midi station (Brux Midi is the station’s French name; in Flemish it’s Brux Zuid and in English Brussels South) it’s about 20 minutes on another train to Mechelen.

Q: Tell me the basics
Mechelen is midway between Brussels and Antwerp. It’s both a tourist magnet and a university town (a little like York in the UK). The centre boasts the huge 13th century St Rumbold’s cathedral. Facing it is a large city-centre square lined with cafes. At busy commuting times there seems to be an urban ballet performed in the square as bikes weave around pedestrians.

About two years ago Mechelen was traffic-calmed, prioritising people and bikes, over vehicles. As a result us Londoners found it really quiet in the centre. You can actually hear the big Belgian bikes bouncing over the cobbles. Cars can come into the centre in the evening to park in the underground car park beneath the city square. There are buses, but they aren’t red.

Walking and cycling are nice ways to travel around Mechelen to reach Thomas More University. (c) Engage London

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Have you heard of this Belgian city?

  • MECHELEN is where Anne Boleyn (1504-36), who famously lost her head to Henry VIII, spent a part of her childhood.
  • Charles V (1500-1558), known as the Holy Roman Emperor (basically he was King of Spain and Italy and parts of Germany until he abdicated to retire to a monastery in 1556) was brought up in Mechelen until he was 17.
  • Mechelen did have a protective city wall and 12 gates. There’s one still standing, known as The Brusselpoort.
  • In the central square the city palace is still used. It is known as the Hof van Busleyden. Years ago philosophers Erasmus and Thomas More both visited this palace, possibly sharing their ideas.
  • Upsettingly Mechelen’s good train links are why between August 1942 – July 1944 the invading German Nazis chose it as a collecting point for the 25,000 Jews and Roma they sent by train to Auschwitz-Birkeneau. At the end of the war when the concentration camp was liberated only 1,240 were still alive (reference).

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Engage teams from six universities: Laura (IHECS, Belgium), Anne (Belgium), Esther (IHECS, Belgium), Kiron (Germany), Barbara (London), Caroline (London), Charo (Spain), Cristina (Spain, not in pic), Ovidiu (Romania), Alexandra (Romania) and Nicola (not in pic). (c) Engage London

Engage Europe at Mechelen 
Thomas More University, one of Engage Europe project’s academic partner institutions, is on the ring road. At this centre a team from universities in the European towns of Brussels (IHECS, Laura & Esther), Barcelona (Charo & Cristina), Tübingen (Kiron), Cluj (Alexandra and Ovidiu) and our host Mechelen (Anne) provided updates on their Engage work.

Representatives from City, which is based in Islington, London, shared a powerpoint, film and the gallery on our blog to introduce the young people from the Pilion Trust. Our Hear Me Speak film got a round of applause, so thank you again everyone involved in creating it, in front or behind the camera.

To date radio, podcasts and photography have been the most popular ways around Europe to share media skills and give the young people’s perspectives a voice. Find out more by looking at the partner blogs, see here.

Alexandra from Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca shares Engage Romania’s radio work with Roma, young people with disabilities and also Down’s Syndrome. (c) Engage London

Next meetings during 2018 will all involve practical media collaborations (eg, radio, photography and more). Planned activities include a summer school from 25-27 June (Brussels) and workshops in Cluj-Napoca (24 May-1 June), London (date TBC) and Barcelona (date TBC). We’re so excited for London!

Graffiti on the train at Mechlen. In Brussels we saw brilliant designs everywhere. (c) Engage London