By Naomi Awre, Sampad Learning Office
This August saw the return of the Sampad summer school! A jam packed four days full of drama, movement and creative responses to our project From City of Empire to City of Diversity.
They say that starting at the beginning is a very good place to start, but I’m going to take a risk and start at the end – with an evaluation question…
One of the questions we asked our young people as the final minutes of the summer school were drawing to a close, was ‘What three things will you remember about your summer school experience?’
We received some fantastic responses to this such as:
“Friends, Fun, Performance”
“The performance, the people I met, the experience”
“Action, fun, dance”
Not one to be left out I’d also like to share my three most memorable things:
What a group this was! Full of energy and enthusiasm and creativity. It was a real privilege to witness everyone’s responses to such important and at times challenging topics, whether they be an experienced arts practitioner, one of our wonderful summer interns or a young person who had never done anything like this before. Everyone worked hard to make sure all were included and as involved as they wanted to be. The young people could be seen working with different people every day to come up with answers and ideas. The staff were committed and generous in their time and responses. The room had a warm and excited buzz to it every time I came in!
That buzz also had a lot to do with all the different activities the participants were involved in. Each day brought new art forms for the young people to explore. Fun warm up games like wink murder, looking at photos from the exhibition, creating their own characters and stories with accompanying gestures and script, watching the exhibition’s accompanying Theatre in Education piece ‘My Journey, My Birmingham’, using physical theatre to create transport for those travelling to this country… I could go on! The creative responses such as poetry and drawings, not to mention the final sharing performance which came out of all of these activities, were committed and moving. While the end results were thought provoking, it was clear fun had been had along the way (not to mention that all these activities meant the young people all achieved a Discover Arts Award.)
Reflection played a key part in the summer school. The young people were regularly asked their opinion on activities and the content of the summer school, as well as being invited to think about all the different art forms they were experiencing. This formed a key part of their arts award process, and I really enjoyed working with them to gather feedback in creative ways such as recording them for ‘Sampad radio’ or helping them fill out their arts award booklets. Many of the reflections held real power with the young people not being afraid to express anger at the racism that migrants face, and they showed empathy when talking about the photos that had stood out to them in the collection and discussing the hopes and dreams of the characters they had created.
As the new learning officer this was one of the first big things I got to be a part of on my Sampad journey, and I’m so happy this was the case. An undeniably fun time, it was also a really positive learning experience for all involved!
I’ll cherish the memories and I can’t wait to do something like it again!