‘Shake! has shown me a realisation of “the personal is political”, and it was Shake! that truly introduced me to a politics committed to engaging the imagination, heart and body as well as the mind.’
Shake! is a series of workshops that work to empower young people to challenge oppressive structures through art, and grassroots creative campaigns for change. No one theory can explain or solve the violent structural issues pervading our lives. As such, Shake!’s theory of change is pluralistic and dynamic, and a variety of methods are employed to find methods of resistance and change. Participants follow a poetry or film-making pathway, and utilize these art-forms to tackle power and privilege through the lenses of race, class, gender, sexuality and environment, amongst others; the power inherent in art is made manifest.
In February, the theme was “States of Violence”. One of the most pertinent questions discussed was whether, under an inherently violent neoliberal system that has also insidiously invaded our minds, reconstruction and resistance must necessarily include aspects of violence. This was followed by a focus on moralizing violence, using Fanon as a touchstone – the general consensus here was that violence, for the oppressed, can sometimes be a necessary course of action, but that this can have dangerous –violent – implications on the psyche of the oppressed.
The topic was challenging, but two things meant that we flourished in spite of that. Firstly, the facilitators and group itself were devoted to the safe space policy, and people strangers moments before were sharing their most deeply personal experiences. Secondly, we explored self-care as a radical act, enabling us to outwit and outlast our oppressors.
Shake! has shown me a realization of “the personal is political”, and it was Shake! that truly introduced me to a politics committed to engaging the imagination, heart and body as well as the mind.
To find out more: @voicesthatSHAKE
Red Pepper are running the People’s Agenda series in the run up to the General Election, demonstrating the breadth of exciting grassroots political activity in the UK.