Page Hall Smiles brought together Roma and non-Roma to co-create a number of short films and collate images and a digital scrapbook exhibition that focused on the experiences, identity and voices of the people from Page Hall told by the residents themselves. The films and images form part of the Page Hall Festival (March 2021) and allowed residents, school and organisations in the area to highlight the work they are doing and the way they are challenging stereotypes.
Through celebrating culture using the arts (dance, music, films) and co-creating content the individuals involved learned new skills and connected with others online. The project team started working in October 2020 and invited residents to join online meetings and to work alongside us to help shape the direction of Page Hall Smiles. We ran a series of online workshops and responded to the changing COVID-19 guidelines accordingly. We went on weekly walks and starting Dec 2020 we put together arts and crafts packs and went around to deliver the materials. The families decorated their windows and or their homes with the art work.
Throughout January and February we collaborated with Greeentop Community Circus and ran a series of online juggling workshops for families.
Healthy Bodies Dance Project
In addition to the online workshops we ran a number of dance classes for residents including Flamenco, belly dancing and Russian Gypsy dance. The team also helped community members create dance tutorials for the Happiness Festival (March 20th) where residents taught and explained the historical background of the dance. Those tutorials can be viewed on the Happiness Festival website.
Terezia, Courtenay and Rosa sat down to talk about the process of curating, filming and creating the dance films for the festivals. The three will have an informal conversation and offer insight into how to bring dance into festivals, and offer some points to consider when bringing dance in the digital environment.
View here- LINK
The Page Hall Smiles team also invited the Endeavour team to contribute to the festival and their Community Ambassadors Programme curated a series of activities.
A key part of the project was going out for regular walks in Page Hall and meeting the residents and asking them to contribute to the festival. One Saturday, the team went out and we met these young dancers who were keen to show me their dance moves and Tik Tok videos.
For the actual festival Rosa Cisneros sat down with Otis Mensah and the two discussed poetry, hip-hop and using the arts to express and explore identity. Pride, place and belonging were also woven into the discussion and Rosa shared her experience of running the Page Hall Smiles project, which worked with local residents from the area to create materials. Otis also performed a short extract from his book “Safe Metamorphosis”.
Otis Mensah is a writer and performing artist with an alternative take on Hip-Hop music and abstract poetry. Focusing on art as a means of documenting journeys of introspection, Otis’ work aims to demonstrate the personal and political power of vulnerable expression.
Warda Yassin joined us to discuss her writing, her approach to poetry, and how to use poetry to celebrate culture. The online workshop explored different ways to write about culture and identity in relation to our neighbourhoods. All ages were welcome!
Warda Yassin is an award-winning British born Somali poet and secondary school teacher based in Sheffield. She was a winner of the 2018 New Poets Prize for her debut pamphlet Tea with Cardamom (Poetry Business, published 2019).Her poetry has been published in places like The North, Magma and Oxford Poetry, and anthologised in Verse Matters (Valley Press), Anthology X (Smith|Doorstep), Halfway Smile & Surfing the Twilight (Hive). From October 2020 she will be taking on the role of Sheffield Poet Laureate.