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)
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.
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?
Three First Year students studying at journalism at City have joined the Engage London team and look set to travel to Brussels for the workshops in June. Here’s some info about the City students. Questions by Pilion’s Rhiana Senay with edits by Nicola Baird
Matt, Diana and Meagan from City will be attending the Engage Europe workshops in Brussels. (c) Engage London/BR
MATT HARDY, 18 “Our course leader at City, Barbara Schofield, asked if we could help out in the project with the Pilion Trust. It’s been great, we made a TV question time and a podcast together. There are about 100 in the first year so maybe most people don’t check their university emails! Barbara invited me as I’d orignally gone to interview MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels for our podcast. We set a date, but found that the only people willing to talk to us were UKIP people, like the MEP from Thurrock, Essex so we got strong views. They were and very anti Europe. We were a little bit shocked. We asked strangers. Our political podcast, we call it the @politicosuk aims to give people a kick up the bum because young people don’t vote too much.”
Matt Hardy’s twitter blog is @thepoliticosu
Follow his personal twitter on @matthardyjourno
DIANA SERENLI, 18
“I’m Ukrainian from the Russian side of Ukraine, there’s always been a split in Ukraine – and Kiev used to be the capital city of Russia. My mum is from Russian side which we usually visit every year – although I haven’t been there for two years. I’ve got family in Russia where the 2018 world cup is happening but my dad can’t go because he’s got a new job.
I’m quite sporty – I support Chelsea. I used to play football but when I was three years old I started doing artistic gymnastics on the bars, beam, vault, floor. I was going to be Olympic level but I decided to stop when I was 9. Olga Korbut [the first gymnast to get all 10s] was my inspiration. I thought my coach was her because she looked like her. I’m not sure what journalism I want to go into. I love travel journalism and want to travel the world. At City they’re teaching you everything. Next year we are doing sports journalism and I love photography too.
My dream is to live in another country. I’m the first person in my family to be born in England (I was born in Greenwich hospital, then we moved to Lewisham) and also schooled here, but my dream is to live in another country.
After two years of homelessness, linguist Pandora Khody, 21, works long hours to ensure she’s got her own place to go back home to. A big fan of fashion and art, here Pandora explains how life is looking up since she discovered the Pilion Trust. Q&A with Nicola Baird
Pandora Khody from the #HearMeSpeak team styling her selfie. (c) PK
Q: What’s your connection to Islington? “I came to London when I was 10 or 11 and grew up in west London, then I moved around a lot. I used to rough sleep around Islington for a while, from 18 – 19 years old. Now I live in east London. I’ve lived in so many places.”
Q: How did you discover the Pilion Trust? “Through my friend Fardowsa – she introduced me to Savvas [CEO of the Pilion Trust which runs a night shelter for young homeless Londoners]. On the day I got in touch with him I went to stay at the Crash Pad. I thought it was going to be a hell hole but I felt really safe and nurtured.”
“Society lacks understanding about the problem of homelessness. Being homeless as a young female adult is very common, especially around Islington. The health care, government, media and stereotypes that we face for being homeless is very harsh. We need to raise the red flag. We need more support – hostels, shelters, access to food, clothing, money and counselling.”
Q: Are you working? “Since December I’ve been working at Ugg (a famous Austalian sheepskin boot brand) in central London and really enjoy it. One thing I really like about my work is there are so many tourists and I’m able to use all my languages. It makes me look back a couple of years and think oh my god I’m here. I love the staff and conversations with the customers.”
Q: How are you feeling? “I’d been homeless for three years and a bit. I never really thought I’d be working where I am, or I’d be renting and earning money. I always looked down on myself. If it was not for Savvas, and my partner, I’d not be here. Life can always improve but I’m very happy with my life.”
Q: Why did you get involved in Engage London? “I like to get myself involved in activities and experience new things. Because of Savvas I was confident that #HearMeSpeak was going to help me gain knowledge, confidence and have a learning experience. And I enjoy being with everyone, the activities and being creative.”
See Pandora on the TV panel live Question Time show here.
Pandora Khody with fellow panellists at City university after a live TV Question Time in front of a studio audience. L-R Surelle Stevens, Pandora Khody and Fadz Ali (c) SS for Engage London
===== Places Pandora likes in Islington Angel – it’s really small but has so many things to look at and I love one vintage charity shop. It’s also got really nice restaurants and the Business Design Centre where they have shows. I like the way you can walk from Angel to Cally Road by short cuts and can walk to central London.”
King’s Cross– My all time favourite place is King’s Cross. It has an amazing canal view, fountains and events. Also it was there where I worked at London Fashion Week (LFW) at the University of Arts London (UAL) Central St Martin’s where I was accepted ,but didn’t take up the place. I could not have had the experience working for LFW if it was not for Savvas
Pandora is one of the three members of Engage London team who is due to go to Romania to meet Engage Europe. Safe travels, or as they say in Romania, cālātorii sigure.
Society lacks understanding about the problem of homelessness. Being homeless as a young female adult is very common, especially around Islington. The health care, government, media and stereotypes that we face for being homeless is very harsh. We need to raise the red flag. We need more support – hostels, shelters, access to food, clothing, money and counselling.
Brandon Richards, 24, spent last winter at the Pilion Trust night shelter for young people. One of the first to join the Engage London project, here Brandon talks about why he got involved. Interview by Catriona Beck
Watch the TV show Brandon produced thanks to the Engage London project here. He also did a fab radio interview, on the Engage London podcast, Staying Safe in London, see this link here.
Q: What was it like growing up in Islington? “It was fun here. There were a lot of things to aspire to, lots of positive influences but also challenging ones too. My challenges growing up were being misunderstood and not being heard, it was nothing to do with the area I was living in. “
Q: What have you got from the Engage London project? A: “I’ve learnt how to use the media around me. I’ve also learnt that, I personally, don’t always have to be on stage. I am quite happy to be behind the scenes rather than be a radio presenter – so I’ve learnt something about myself too.”
Q: How did you first become homeless? “I was expelled from school in Year 11 for selling drugs so I could go to the Prom, then I was coming home high all the time. I was the youngest, my family didn’t understand me, my mum didn’t understand me, she told me to make my own way. I did seven months on the street, it was really difficult. I was with my crew and lived with them for a bit. They were all in their twenties – there was probably around seven or eight of us that were 15-16 years old.”
“I decided to go back home, and it was still the same. I just learnt to bite my tongue but it got worse, and they started to realise that I had stopped resisting their bullshit. One day, I exploded, they didn’t understand what happened. I got thrown out again.”
Q: How did you find the Pilion Trust? “I became homeless again for the third time in November 2016. A company I was working with referred me to Pilion, because they knew I was nearly exceeding the age limit, but Pilion was flexible and I’ve never met a more down to earth organisation. They’re reliable, they give great advice and give me great information.”
Q: What are you doing in Islington? “It’s currently where I live. I grew up here – also half the people I know live here too. I spend a lot of time here and I have a little girl who is 15 months.”
“I’m trying to get work, in my departments that I know (Brandon is ace at design, has a clothing brand and expert at new media). Life is good. I’m finding myself again – I first found myself when I was 17. I felt too young for this and I think that is why my family misunderstood me. I tried to breakthrough as an artist, it didn’t quite work, and I started to crumble mentally. Now, I’m learning to speak about things and ask for help when it’s needed.”
Watch the TV show Brandon produced thanks to the Engage London project here.
Brandon is one of the three members of Engage London team who are due to go to Romania to meet Engage Europe. Safe travels, or as they say in Romania, cālātorii sigure.
Five places Brandon likes in Islington
Clerkenwell – I lived there for three months, slept rough in a tower block. The majority of tower blocks in London have massive doors on them and once you do get past them, a resident would almost certainly insult you, rat you out or kick you out of the building, you think you’re safe but not. It happened in Camden – I was there sleeping, felt a door bang and the council kicked me out.
Market Road– just off Caledonian Road, I’ve spent a lot of time there, it’s stained in my memory, and I’ve had lots of good experiences in Market Road park waiting for a night shelter to open. I’ll chill out with people, look at the view, then 6 o’clock would come and you wouldn’t realise!
Finsbury Park– I grew up here, it’s where my journey into life started. I found my first crew in Finsbury Park.
Archway– I’ve a strange attraction to Archway, maybe because it’s in between downtown and uptown. It’s really high up, and I love scenery. It’s a nice place to go and look at the view. It’s a power thing as well – when you’re looking down at the city, you feel really powerful. I feel like a hero, like I’ve got some responsibilities. I want to be a fireman someday.
Angel– it’s the epi-centre. You can get anywhere from Angel. It sounds nice, it’s just the place. When I’m in Angel, I know I’m near somewhere. I’m close to home.
The majority of tower blocks in London have massive doors on them and once you do get past them, a resident would almost certainly insult you, rat you out or kick you out of the building, you think you’re safe but not.
During April the #HearMeSpeak team had a tour of City, University of London, journalism department and three workshops.
1 TOUR OF CITY University of London, journalism department
Our booked room for a post tour debrief on the exterior display at City. (c) Engage London
Tour: included the amazing journalism department with two radio studios, TV studio with seating for an audience, Apple Mac computer rooms with students working on their own projects, two lecture rooms – one with theatre seating and the other cabaret seating (which had computers that could be lowered to provide different studying experiences).
What did you think of City’s journalism department? “How modern the building is.” Favour
“It was interesting sitting and talking about workshop ideas. I’d like to be able to use this equipment during and after the project.” Brandon
“How do we get access to the equipment for our own projects?” Surelle
Planning a podcast at City from Opener to Goodbye. (c) Engage London
a) Radio know-how – including planning and assigning roles – technical (including using Burli autocue), research and presenting. b) Finding a peg – something that people are talking about. The podcast topic, staying safe in London, was picked because there have been 50 knife and gun attacks on mostly young people by mostly young people over the past few weeks. According to the mainstream press London’s murder rate is now higher than New York. The group know that everyone in Europe will be talking about this so they wanted to give their story. Put another way it’s their narrative focusing on individual experiences. c) Practice of a variety of interviews including over the phone, face-to-face and vox pop. d) Working to deadline in a team.
What did you learn? “The being team that you require to create a show. I found it interesting creating the script, seeing how the live studio worked and reading live from the prompter.” Surelle
“It was interesting being part of the brief at the beginning and watching how it came together at the end.” Brandon
“I found editing the audio interesting.” Pandora
“It was easier than I expected – amazing, a real pro-experience.” Martina
“It was harder than I expected.” Fardowsa
“Very professional equipment.” Gideon
“I learnt how to edit the audio that has been made. It was amazing. Most interesting was vox pox – approaching strangers and asking their opinion.” Favour.
#hearmespeak technicians with City technician Dave Goodfellow take a break after learning Tricaster skills and before the TV show is filmed. (c) Engage London
There was a big turn out for the TV show: seven City journalism students, most of the Pilion Trust #hearmespeak team and an audience of around 26. The actual studio seats 35 so we were close to bursting. There was a marked gender split with most of the boys interested in the equipment and technical skill. In the end our four panellists were all young women, apart from the anchor, City 1st year journalism student, Matt.
Most of the participants were surprised by the amount of thinking work that goes into preparing the questions that will be asked by the audience.
What each role involves – anchor, panellist, autocue operator, technical director, floor manager, sound manager, camera operators, studio camera operator. City uses Tricaster in its studio.
What did you learn? Favour (audience/question asker): “We worked together as a team.”
Gemmel (technician/floor manager): “Effective communication makes for a good TV show. It was interesting seeing a collaboration of workers come together to complete a show having fulfilled different roles.”
Naomi (audience/question asker): “I found the presenting interesting, as despite having a script, a lot of it is improvised to match the tone of response provided by the panel. Liked having a platform where we are freely able to express your opinion.”
Gideon (technician): “I learnt about film and lighting working with the studio and camera.”
Surelle (panel): “Found it interesting the order the show runs. Found the discussion well informed.”
Yasmin (panel): “I found it interesting learning about the different and important roles/jobs that go into creating a show. I think the high tech equipment and growing knowledge means we have created a platform that is interesting and eye-catching to a wider audience.”
Pandora (panel): “It’s very fun. It educates the world because youths like us are speaking #hearmespeak.”
Brandon (camera operator): “I found it interesting seeing how to work in your role and help the show to progress. Now we have this #hearmespeak material made, we can broadcast it through our media.”
Jahbarey (technician): “I think I can work as a sound manager. I learnt that the job requires focus. I like the way the #hearmespeak workshops are letting a lot of people know about how young people feel about the issues in society.”
Misgana (technician/studio camera): “I like the camera and learnt many things, like changing the positions. I had no idea before, and now I know what to do.”
Moon (audience): “I found it interesting that the questions are prepared beforehand.”
Thank you to Nandos Islington for donating two jumbo platters. Three panellists and an audience question asker look very happy about this after show snack. (c) Engage London
After the event we all shared some donated Nandos jumbo platters – chicken, corn, garlic bread, coleslaw.
Yes! We’ve had 1,000 views. Engage London and #hearmespeak are being heard… (20/4/18) (c) Engage London
=============================================== MORE TO COME
4 REVIEW WORKSHOP (workshop #3)
Back to City university to critique our podcast show. Barbara also ran another session in the radio studio to give people the opportunity to do freestyle podcasting – Fadz, Yasmin, Favour, Gerrell and Jahbary discussed the ways their style has changed. Meanwhile Misgana and others were helping use the sound equipment.
You can listen here, just click the link:
Planning for Romania
We’ve been having trouble ensuring that everyone has an up-to-date passport so they can join the workshops around Europe. But we do have three keen #HearMeSpeak participants – Surelle, Brandon and Pandora – who will be going to Cluj for the Romania workshop in May. As part of the preparation for this Nicola, who is helping coordinate the project, and Catriona, a 2nd year at City, interviewed them.
5 REVIEW WORKSHOP (workshop #4 TBC)
TV show to be screened at Ringcross Centre plus an opportunity to critique TV making and presenting techniques.