All the Extras
This page is where I'll discuss a mix of other topics which either are important or I just want to discuss and let you know about.
On Thursday 7th December 2017, the young people of the Spoken Word creative writing project at the Warren Centre took part in the Substance Panel, along with Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Hessle and the west of Hull, and Kathy McArdle from the British Council. Part of the debate to do with Brexit and politics arose after the Next Generation UK report. This event was in partnership with the Hull City of Culture 2017 team.
At the Warren Centre, the Spoken Word group is run by Joe Hakim, a local poet and Merrick 'Mez' Sanders-Green, who also works with the young people in music and other areas.
First of all, the young people each performed a poem or two which they had written for the event. These are all listed below, with previously filmed footage of two of these pieces.
Spoken Word Performances
Jodie Langsford- Flex It and Seventeen
Andrew Gooch- The Young People's Manifesto and The Job Market
Jack Foster- Fight
Frank Mathers- Fiction or Fact and Power of the Wasters
Josh Weaver- This was an untitled piece at the time and the panel was Josh's debut.
Below are two performances of some of these poems when filmed for the Talking Doorsteps project. They were filmed in part of the city centre in Hull.
For more information on this project, visit the website here.
In the second half, the panel then discussed several different topics, both the young people adding their input, along with Emma Hardy and Kathy McArdle giving their insights as well.
Topic 1- Education
How do you feel about your own experiences within traditional education? Do you feel prepared for the modern world?
Several of the young people answered these questions by saying they didn't feel prepared enough with what the had received in the modern education system. They discussed how schools take you through lots of exams, but there isn't enough preparation for practical life skills, such as helping with mortgages and paying tax, among other things.
There was also mention that school work experience had been cancelled in some cases, leaving them without the skills and knowledge which could be gained from this. One of the young people gave the analogy of them being a plant, and that the education system isn't giving them the right nutrients to grow and succeed once they've left school.
All were agreed that the Warren has helped them in different areas where the educations system didn't.
Topic 2- Politics
Local vs National politics. How do you bridge the gap between local and national politics? How important is it to demystify politics to young people?
This topic was passed along to Emma Hardy, whose first visit to the Warren Centre was in April this year. She noted the importance of provisions for young people with places like the Warren. She is also working to make changes both in having more community centres and helping the young people to engage more with politics.
Topic 3- International Relations
The project with Talking Doorsteps involved people from Trinidad working with the young people at the Warren Centre.
It was noted that the young people felt they didn't have the opportunities to go abroad for work and other reasons. Kathy McArdle said that the British Council want all young people to have international access and are working to improve on this. She noted how making international relations can be life changing, and having the experience of being abroad with other cultures can be very positive.
Topic 4- Class
Do you feel class is important in modern society?
The final topic in the panel was about class, talking again to the young people. Some of them said they didn't notice they were from a working class background when they were growing up, but it became more apparent as they got older. They said how being from a working class background meant that certain opportunities are closed to them because there seems to be a bigger influence on money over the talents, skills and knowledge they have.
Other points made were the media influence, which focusses on London a lot of the time, and also wit being a lack of working class icons. It was acknowledged that there is a class divide, when there should simply be equality for everyone.
Panel: Joe Hakim, Frank Mathers, Jodie Langsford, Andrew Gooch, Jack Foster, Emma Hardy and Kathy McArdle
Personally, I found myself agreeing with many of the comments made by the young people at the panel, especially in terms of class and also with the education system.
It was approximately at the beginning of October when I began coming to the Warren Centre and not long after became involved in the Spoken Word creative writing. In this short time, I can also testify to the fact that being involved in various areas provided by the Warren has helped me, as it has with the other young people on the panel.
My confidence has improved a lot with meeting new people, I'm learning new things I didn't get the chance to at school, such as learning to cook and getting information on paying bills and taxes. Being involved with the Spoken Word writing group has also given me the chance to improve on my skills as a writer and push myself to try new things I didn't think I could do before.