Yesterday I was delighted to be welcomed by Community On Solid Ground in Manchester to deliver a poetry/spoken word workshop to a 7-14 aged girls group! Everybody produced some really creative work and some was absolutely amazing! The imagination is a wonderful thing and couple that with curious minds and creative agency- something wonderful happens! Language is such a powerful tool and to be able to harness it to say something in a unique way was a lesson all the girls went away with!
I left hoping that they carry on writing the world with their imaginations. One girl told me that she stopped writing so much because teachers had discouraged her! I am pro-education but I thoroughly believe in discovering fiction and non fiction reading outside of school. To find material that expands your heart and mind and gets you thinking – be that alternative histories, religion, study of languages, world travel, art, activism, people – children should be encouraged to truly search for ‘education’ outside of official learning! All the stuff school convinced you ‘wasn’t important!’
Yesterday reminded me how enriched the younger generations’ minds are and that with some creative investment, all can be convinced and given confidence that they can find their voices and be heard ( with hard work and commitment ) despite what the systems throw at you! We are phenomenal creatures xxx
How to commemorate the dead and do justice with your words? So many families were torn apart only twenty years ago, when my priority was my own merriment. How many Srebrenica’s are still going on right this very minute in the world? Humans inflicting violence upon humans. It’s our moral duty as compassionate human beings to ensure we all do something to counter intolerance, hatred and extremism. Feeling very sombre writing the poetry to read at Remembering Srebrenica’s 6th July Memorial Service at Manchester Cathedral. May all the souls taken rest in peace and may all those who are still living through horror, find tranquility X
I was part of the poetry evening scheduled at the end of an amazing conference engaging with a wide variety of critical academics and activists. I listened to some brilliant papers that actively challanged the normative forms of knowledge production we have all been subjected to at university and beyond.
The White Rose Critical Race and Ethnicities Network have been very busy developing critical academic spaces that are essential and necessary when surviving in a white institution. The papers presented yesterday helped me to push my critical thinking further in a way that is needed to ‘face the continued neo- liberalisation of these institutions and the structural inequalities and oppressions that trouble us all.’
My highlight was sharing a platform with Anthony Anaxagorou who was on form with his hard hitting spoken word and Hamja Ahsan who recited poetry created by his brother Talha Ahsan – an award winning poet wrongfully incarcerated without charge in the UK and then extradited to a US supermax prison. Please follow and share the links you can see in the photos.
Yesterday a package arrived on my doorstep, one I only opened after a poetess friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post with a picture of my poem The War-Torn Child in print! This poem won second place in Interpal’s Writing Competition last year with the promise of olive trees being planted in our name in Gaza.
So my entry to the Pangaea Poetry Slam can be found on the link below! It’s the first recording of mine that has been uploaded to YouTube and I still dislike the sound ofmy own voice! If you enjoy it though, please feel free to share 🙂 xxx
Valiant Hero or Oppressive Villain: Representations of Masculinity within Traditional Fairy Tales
The concept of masculinity and gender as a whole is widely debated within gender studies; questions of what it means to be masculine, whether masculinity belongs to men alone, and if it is a condition of nature or nurture, are repeatedly returned to. According to theorists like Judith Butler and Raewyn Connell, gender is a social construction; gender is not innate but an identity deemed socially acceptable that one performs based on their sex, for example men are masculine and women are feminine. Therefore, due to what Hélène Cixous argues is ‘hierarchized’ system of binary oppositions and ‘couples’ that function within society, gender belongs to a system of control; in Joseph Bristow’s words, ‘power was brutally gendered’ and men ‘were the bearers of it.’ Furthermore, this system is reflected within fairy tales as they become the…