Last year, I achieved my desired goal of bringing TCFT to Croydon – it was important for me to bring the programme that had made such a huge impact in my life to the place I call home. Putting on the TCFT Croydon Pilot was a huge achievement and I could have easily stopped there – at times, I did want to stop there – but it was always my intention to continue developing TCFT’s presence in Croydon.
After some careful consideration, time spent reflecting on the Pilot and speaking to Tina, I made the decision to bring TCFT Croydon back for three Sundays across the months of May, June and July. This was something that TCFT had never done before and as I was planning, I begun to wonder why I had chosen to do it, but there is a method to my madness. I wanted the participants to be able to process everything discussed and have the time to further develop their work, without the intensity of a week or two-week straight residency.
With the time scale set out, I chose to focus on the theme of Change, which I think is extremely important considering all that it is going on around us and all that is affecting young people. I wanted the participants to think about what they wanted to change and how they could spark change through arts, as the arts are a great way of making changes happen.
After much planning, organising and emailing, TCFT Croydon 2018 started on May 27th in Turf Projects. Participants took part in a collaborative visual art activity with Cedoux to free our minds at the start of the day, a poetry activity with myself to get us warmed up after lunch, and an improv music session with Catherine to wind down at the end.
However, the day’s focus was conversations and discussion focused on Change, led by Lora and Rosie. I wanted to ensure that we had the time for in-depth discussions to give us strong foundations to build on throughout the upcoming Sundays, which we ended up with due to guidance from the dream team that was Lora and Rosie.
We were first split into groups of four to make a list of all that we wanted to change, no matter how big. Lora encouraged us to open our minds and think without boundaries, as this was about the what rather than the how. When we all came together to feed back, a long list of what we wanted to change was generated, showing that young people really do care about the world around them. Items on the list included challenging stereotypes, violent crime, replacing Trump with the Obamas, eradicating homelessness and LGBTQ equality.
Once the list had been written, we were then asked to choose three focal points as a collective. The decision was made to focus on mental health, more youth services and bridging the gap between generations. I was interested by the choices of three very different things, which are all important in different ways.
Everyone was then split back into small groups – different groups this time – to come up with ways that changes could be made in these three areas. We then came together as a collective and spoke about the ideas that had been generated, providing extra context if necessary.
After speaking about these ideas, we were asked to write on post-it notes what we could personally do to make change happen in these three areas – particularly though our art form – or what help we needed to make changes happen. We were encouraged to write on as many post-it notes as we liked, and stick them on to the flip chart sheets for the three different areas. It was amazing to see so many post-it notes with ideas of how we could make change in our community.
Following on from that, we were asked to share at least one of the action points we had written and how we could go about making it happen. Everyone had some sort of idea of how they could make what they had written tangible, which I hope they have begun to make a start on. It was beautiful to see so many change makers in the room.
One of the best things about the whole day though, was seeing the high level of engagement and positive interactions throughout. Overhearing the conversations had during lunch blew my mind – that is what TCFT is all about.
I’m now looking forward to seeing how the process will continue to develop with the start of the creative workshops on June 24th. Participants will be engaging in Music, Poetry, Theatre and Visual Art, with collaboration being highly encouraged. I am continuing to do things a little different from the TCFT norm by extending the age of participants from just 15-25 to 15+, in response to the young people wanting to bridge the gap between generations. The inter-generational element seems to work really well in Croydon, so if you are interested in getting involved, sign up here: bit.ly/tcftcroydon2018-signup
All that’s left to say is a huge thank you to Cedoux, Catherine, Lora and Rosie for leading out in the activities on the day, as well as all of the volunteers for giving up time on their Sunday and to Peter for taking the photos that I cannot wait to see. A big thank you to the wonderful participants for being so engaged. And an extra special thank you to Curry on NaanStop for providing lunch, Turf Projects for the use of their space and Spread The Word for partnering with us. See you again on June 24th.
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