Yes! That’s what I am now, thanks to Manchester Literature Festival, alongside the extremely talented Isaiah Hull of Young Identity. In a commission titled Rewriting Longsight, I’ll be spending the next few months walking the streets and meeting residents to hear their views on what this area means to them. The plan is to break bread, share stories and map the area through its people.
A few weeks back I visited Longsight library and met with all sorts of surprises. One of the themes everyone kept coming back to was this idea of community spirit and friendship. My conversations with chatty retired men, with councillors, mums, staff, support workers, lively school kids and a mix of service users was a pleasure.
Being a fond library user from a young age, I know what a lifeline these places can be for people. And the unbelievable amount of activity going on within the building itself is such a step up from my childhood memories.
I was also honoured to be invited to a lively Boishakhi Pitha party by Ananna – a Bengali Women’s Organisation at the Pakistani Community Center where I got to judge the most beautiful dishes made by the party goers. The games played here gave new meaning to fun and dance for me!
Another incredible grass roots community hub I visited is called the Northmoor Community Centre located in the heart of Longsight where I met the absolute Queens that rustle up delicious home cooked meals for cafe customers every Wednesday from 12-2pm. You pay what you want and when the foods gone, it’s gone!
Through this residency I have had the pleasure of people watching and having meaningful conversations with individuals from all walks of life ( my fave hobbies ). This centre royally delivered.
I met the most inspiring people with gems to spill about the area and how they feel about it. From Lahore to Jamaica, from Ireland to Cape Verde, from Grenada to Longsight, the stories just kept on coming! I don’t know yet for sure what my creative response might look like but there is a seed growing for sure. Cultivated by stories, watered by hope. Let’s see what blossoms!
If you’re in the area, pick up a #channehchats menu from the library and fill it in with your voice.
Drop it in to #longsightlibrary for me! It will all feed into the #rewritingLongsight creative piece for Manchester Literature Festival in October!