Facilitating productive exchange between teachers, educators and artists
Prompting thinking and critical reflection which continued beyond the festival.
– E, Teacher
John Agard was hosted by school leader and Shadow Heroes board member Yansé Cooper, who rounded off the session with questions from students at Totteridge Academy in Barnett and Frederick Raymer Academy in Walthamstow.
The UNTEACH panel brought together Amina Yaqin, a Reader in Urdu and Postcolonial Studies at SOAS; teacher, author and commentator Jeffrey Boakye; poet and educator Raymond Antrobus and writer and activist So Mayer. Chaired by Kavita Bhanot, each offered a powerful provocation, questioning the ideas that govern classroom environments and highlighting how far we have to go before education becomes truly inclusive of all identities and languages.
In the Shadow Heroes session, introduced by workshop curator Nariman Youssef, collaborators Mohini Gupta and Katharine Halls gave participants a taste of the workshops they had developed as part of the Shadow Heroes’ recent Arts Council funded project exploring race through translation. They explored questions of linguistic hierarchies, the relationship between race, religion and language, as well as outlining practical steps for adopting these methods in the classroom.
The festival ended with performances by Preti Taneja, Khairani Barokka and Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan. The profoundly moving readings carried the emotion of the day: from Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan presenting poems that show something of “the different ways in which language navigates me and I try to navigate it,” to Preti Taneja voicing the joy that comes from a celebration of language and its possibilities, and the “solidarity that can come not from having to explain or apologise or contextualise for majority.”
– G, Teacher