The Poetic Debaters Project has been quiet for a while, however, the praxis of PDP has been vibrant.
I have been using Poetic Debaters pedagogy to facilitate workshops since the projects pilot launch in the summer of 2014 and Tale of 2 Cities initiative is a prime project for using strategies of truth-seeking and diplomacy to interrogate the pros and cons of gentrification that is rapidly consuming the city of London at a rate that is surprising and outraging many.
Tale of 2 Cities is an initiative produced by Muenda O Kamara from Big Creative Education looking at the fine line between regeneration and gentrification which seems to have evaporated and there are many stories to tell about the contentious transition – jagged cross-fade from one world of local social cohesion to another – corporate and property development profit.
Tale of 2 Cities (Tof2C) is an extended project which will provide space for 14 young people from ‘Inspire’ referral unit in Hackney to go through a program with a local historian, professional photographer, and myself to produce spoken word poetry with images about Hackney in response to the changes taking place. This project gives them the chance to reflect on a fast changing landscape that, although happening all around over the country, they maybe alienated from.
The Poetic Debaters pedagogy uses deep discussion with mainstream media and alternative media as stimulus, but Tof2C participants will bringing biography as a device to explore wider, social issues as the young people participating are directly affected by the gentrification explosion.
The project also delivers a Bronze Awards certification too. This is a perfect fusion of using alternative education to connect real life experiences with learning styles that encourage interrogative thinking, personal empowerment with the opportunity to prospects in the arts and creative media industries.
On Thursday 10th December there will be an exhibition of images taken in familiar places areas like Haggerston and Dalston by the young poets along with their poems and portraits. Keep up to date with the projects progress and their journey on the Tof2C online blog.
~ Zena Edwards, Creative and Educational Director of ©ViD