Word Up, Authors Of London, Arts Emergency and Manifestos of Optimism

Last night I went to a new Spoken Word and Poetry night called Word Up, in Harlesden. I’ve been to a good few poetry nights in my life, but there’s something really special about going to one that’s walking distance from my house. The people and words that are spoken are part of the place I live, and that felt different and exciting.

Me and my Mr had to head off before the end of the evening, so missed some poets, but I’ll be back to hopefully see what I missed. We were there long enough to see some work from the Authors of London, the headline act. Having all grown up on St. Raphael’s Estate in North West London, six residents came together to write literature. Once they’d finished their book, they decided to publish 1000 copies and put a copy through every letterbox on the estate, encouraging creativity, optimism, words and writing.

They read some works from the book, the most powerful of which was the manifesto, that Andre related. It was a manifesto of optimism and creativity, imagining his estate as a hotbed of invention and art, becoming a place the city looks to for the newest, most exciting, most brilliant ideas, ‘A Generator of its own income,/where wealth and necessities are produced in-/house.’

He acknowledges that this level of optimism seems far fetched, but rallies that it’s ‘not impossible/it’s just never been done before.’

It was incredibly inspiring to listen to.

This optimism, unashamed declaration of the importance of art in people’s lives, reminded me too of the Arts Emergency manifesto – I’ve ended the post with a list of some of its statements.

So, my optimistic conclusion from last night, is to be optimistic, consider yourself powerful and don’t underestimate the importance of starting locally. Oh, and buy the Authors Of London book, and support Arts Emergency.

  • WE TAKE IT AS A GIVEN THAT A CIVILIZED SOCIETY VALUES EDUCATION, LIFELONG LEARNING AND CREATIVITY AS A PUBLIC GOOD
  • FIGHT THE CONDITIONING THAT TELLS YOU TO DEMONISE YOUNG PEOPLE. IF SO YOU WILL WAKE UP FROM THE TEDIOUS SLUMBER OF AGEING
  • BE FEARLESS. YOU ARE JUST AS ENTITLED AS ANYONE TO HAVE THE LIFE YOU WANT
  • THERE IS NO RECESSION OF THE IMAGINATION
  • THE FUTURE IS ANOTHER PLACE. ALLOW YOURSELF TO BELIEVE A BETTER LIFE IS POSSIBLE, SAY IT OUT LOUD, DEFIANTLY, TO EVERYONE
  • TO THINK CREATIVELY AND CRITICALLY IS TO FREE YOURSELF FROM THE LIMITS OF CIRCUMSTANCE, CLASS AND CONTEXT
  • BE GENEROUS. NOW BE MORE GENEROUS. SHARE YOUR PRIVILEGE
  •  DO SOMETHING. START SMALL, START LOCAL, KEEP GOING
  •  OPTIMISM IS A WEAPON  AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS BE SILLY.
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