Voices Against Hate
Over the past year, our main focus at Collage Voices has been encouraging local young people reflect and respond creatively to hate speech and discrimination. This has been part of a broader project called Voices Against Hate and has engaged over 100 young people. We found that all participants shared their unique perspectives with care and attention. Thanks to funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, we were able to deliver our workshop sessions with six schools across Haringey.
A group of Year 9 from Greig City Academy got together with producer Pep (Nostars) to create a fantastically wise and interesting podcast. The students shared their informed thoughts on topics including xenophobia as it relates to bullying, the struggles of being a person of mixed heritage and the negative perception of black men and boys as aggressors. Listen here.
Elsewhere, their peers worked with facilitator Jack Medlin and our artistic director Steve Medlin to produce a drama performance. With their dynamic freeze frames, the students put together a powerful commentary on cultural pride versus the pressure to conform. A short film of the work made by Greig City students can be watched here.
During Lockdown, Woodside High School students joined us virtually. In one of their Zoom performances ‘Positive Messaging’, students and teachers list the ideal attributes of men and women. Ranging from generic to comedically specific, the final pieces are a subtle and heart-warming declaration of self-love. Similarly, on the topic of identity and gender politics, Woodside High Schoolers wrote and performed the hilarious and superbly executed virtual play ‘The Mansplainers’. Set in a pub, a mixed-gender group of friends watch a football match. Things get heated are certain members vie for intellectual dominance.
Students from St Thomas More Catholic School, Haringey Learning Partnership and Haringey Virtual School worked with us to continue themes and developed some artwork, more drama sequences and poetry.
We know that younger children can express themselves and experience discrimination in different ways. We decided to run a pilot programme with Year 6 children at Noel Park Primary called Adventures in I Don’t Know exploring transition through physical theatre and philosophy. Their teacher said ‘they really enjoyed the sessions. They enjoyed the themes they were given and being allowed to act out scenarios… it helped with their confidence. Thank you!’
We, the Collage Voices team, have enjoyed working on this project immensely! Thank you to our instructors, partner schools and above all the participants themselves. The excellent films, drama pieces, poetry, podcast and images created has meant that we can continue this project for the next 3 years.