2021 marks 25 years since Phakama’s first project, Bulang Dikgoro (Open the Gates), an international exchange project in which Young People and Artists from London collaborated with Young People and Artists in South Africa.
Since that first project in 1996, Phakama has continued to spread our non-hierarchical methodology of Give & Gain, a process that creates the opportunity for collaborative arts and theatre-making; where everyone involved has something to learn and something to teach.
In celebration of this momentous occasion, Phakama will host 25 projects, shows, sharings and workshops which will continue to spread our spirit of exchanging, sharing, and seeing and celebrating the value in everyone’s individual voice, experience, and talents.
2021 Line Up
We will be updating this section throughout the year so make sure to check regularly to find out how and when you can get involved!
Power to the People
To kick off Phakama's 25th birthday celebrations our Youth Board hosted our very first Digital Festival called Power to the People, exploring the theme of 'resistance'. The workshops ran over Zoom on Sunday 17th January 2021.
Over the course of a day, we come together to explore the things we are resisting. Participants could choose from a range of workshops exploring movement, art therapy, creative writing and photography, sharing their ideas and building a small piece of performance that was then showcased to the group.
“It was great. Could not fault it. I look forward to an in-person one when it is safe to do so” - Festival participant
Digital Artist Bursary
Artist facilitators are integral to the ongoing growth of the company and it is our intention that artists aren’t just delivering workshops for us but are also involved in the shaping and creation of projects.
During this difficult period of physical distancing we have been encouraging ways of staying socially connected and increasing solidarity.
We kicked off 25 years by offering seed funding to support artists to generate new ideas and creative ways for them move their practice to digital formats and to reach out to participants who are feeling isolated.
We hope that this seed funding will allow creatives to test their idea whilst collaborating with and complementing Phakama’s vision. This round has now closed but keep an eye out for details about the project and any future artist bursary opportunities.
She(me): Reclaiming Shame
An experiment in building shame resilience through devised, digital performance art. A cast of six women from across the UK confront the unspoken and the uncomfortable with care, humor and creativity in this original work created by Indigo Arts Collective and developed with funding from Phakama.
Through a series of workshops the cast explored their personal relationships with shame, as it intersects with female identity. Filmed in their homes and presented through the familiar lens of zoom, the company courageously staged their discoveries for all to see.
The resulting vignettes include movement, spoken word poetry, sketch comedy and more, guiding audiences towards introspection, indignation and action.
Image by Shea Donovan
Language of Resilient Expression
The Lore is an invitation for
people 18 + to help create a
chapter for a book called
The Lore: The Language of Resilient Expression.
Have you endured challenges, obstacles, or struggles during the Pandemic? Or have you experienced lasting health issues? Have you had to find a way to be Resilient?
Come on an imaginative journey and tell us of your epic experience, using story drawing and creative story exercises to exploring how you came across one of life's big qualities – Resilience!
Artists Charlie Folorunsho and Sophie Herxheimer would like to work with 9 people to take part in one of 3 small participatory groups. The workshops will each last one hour. If you’d like to take part in this project, contact Charlie.
Creative Get Together
To maintain Phakama’s strong community of Artists and Young Creatives, and to keep us all feeling motivated and supported we have been hosting get togethers over zoom. These have ranged from informal chats sharing best practice and creative responses to Covid-19, to Bollywood dance workshops hosted by Young Creatives.
Image by Caroline Gervay
Phakama are working with Associate Artist, Jake Boston, and QMUL to provide students at the university with a series of workshops that will start by looking at the life of the celebrated East End prizefighter Daniel Mendoza.
With Mendoza in the ring with us, participants will explore the craft of writing and performing their own story in solo form.
This project ran over three weeks from March - April and was open to QMUL students.
Image by Jake Boston
World Book Day
On the 4th of March we celebrated World Book Day with nursery children in Soho.
Associate Artists Hayley Konadu and Django Pinter worked together to create an interactive zoom adventure for nursery children aged 2-4. Hayley’s wonderful storytelling skills transported the children into an imagined world, taking them on an adventure to find a stolen storybook. Django was able to use his wizardry-like tech skills to animate the story, weaving in the children’s own drawings, as well as live drawing their ideas to make the show as interactive as possible.
Young Artist Bursary
The Creative Pandemic - Young, Black & Queer Story Collection – Maritsa Baksha
The Creative Pandemic (TCP) is a creative writing website setup by Maritsa Baksha as a labour of love.
Maritsa is using the Young Artist to adapt and strengthen the project, and will publish the work of 6 queer PoC writers of poetry, first person essays, and short stories, all aged 18-30, over a 2-month period.
Submissions are now open for pieces of work that relate to one of three themes: Red, Fantasy, and Expression.
If your work is selected you will not only be published in the TCP website, but you’ll also be awarded a small writers fee! For more info go to:https://www.thecreativepandemic.com
From January - May 2021 we worked with 5 students taking part in School 21's 'Real World Learning'. The students worked with us to create a video that celebrates the wonderful artists that have worked with and inspired Phakama's work over the past 25 years.
Video to follow soon.
Dragging Me Out – Radhika Aggarwal
Inspired by the incredible artists on the East London drag scene, Radhika was blown away and invigorated by the confidence, sass, and fun these performers brought to the stage. Aware of her own suppression of this life force, she wanted to explore and learn in a shared space that could empower and support to set fire to this spark and explore what that is. Teaming up with the legendary Anthony Pius aka Bolly Illusion, "Dragging Me Out" is an injection of feeling fabulous, and stepping into our power through South Asian dance music. The project aims to increase community cohesion, shine a light on those who have navigated their confidence and identity in complex cross-cutting ways, through a celebration of each other and our unique ways of moving.
This project will consist of 4 x movement/ belonging sessions facilitated by Radhika and Anthony aka Bolly Illusion. They want to create a space where all participants can feel safe, free and have fun with their bodies in space.
Anyone is welcome at these sessions though we actively seek to engage , LGBTQIA+ of colour, artists of colour, those with complex and crosscutting relationships to their bodies in society and those who may have repressed elements of their sensuality for any reason.
Image by Jen Vanderlinde provided by Anthony Pius AKA Bolly Illusion
Phakama Celebrates 25 Years - 4-day Festival
Way to My Heart - Body & Soul
After our successful residency at Body & Soul in 2019, we are very excited to be able to celebrate 25 years with a new, collaborative project with this wonderful organisation.
Over the course of 8 weeks, Phakama artists will work with families at Body & Soul, telling stories, making props, and, importantly, sharing recipes that are the ways to our hearts. Recipes that mean something to us, our families or that we just love!
The families will work with artist chef Mike Knowdlen to explore their recipe stories, and with artist facilitators Radhika Aggarwal and Tom Drayton to delve into their creativity.