Hi Finsbury Park,
Morgan and I went to meet Farah Mohammoud co-founder of YOU PRESS whose latest production was Voices Of The Movement at Park Theatre (scroll down to #IMAGINE FPK … Voices of the Movement – for our creative response to the performance). Farah is the Co-founder of YOU PRESS and talks with us about the growing importance of arts and culture in his work and for the community, as well as his drive and inspirations for his project One Story, One Voice:
Farah: “I am interested in storytelling, especially if it involves spoken word, music and poetry. I am from Somalia where up until the late 1960s, all our history, our culture and our knowledge was passed through poetry, so it has been in my blood since I was young. I’ve always been fascinated with going to poetry clubs and music gigs, with the diverse artists and how receptive they are and how they take you on a journey with their art form. Art is culture itself and is the root of how we see everything and how we interpret the world. It’s incredible to see how we can get different perspectives of somebody else’s point of view, their identity, their history and belonging.
I am the co-founder of YOU PRESS – which is a social enterprise that believes in the power of words and stories to change lives for the better and our work involves using the creative arts and writing to empower community members as well as young people to find their voice and be heard.
I once volunteered at a homeless shelter where I was meeting these interesting people and I was thinking wow – if only these two different community members can merge in order to tell their story and give the artists some empowering content to focus on. That was my first, fresh idea and it was called One Story, One Voice. I wanted to bring those stories to life and also challenge the negative conceptions that came with homeless people. From attending more poetry gigs and theatres and after approaching a local charity we had over 40 artist participants from various backgrounds involved and incredible stories of ten homeless people. We ended up doing a live performance and we retold those stories and there was such a demand for what we did! I thought that this is actually unique and could be tailored to different issues and topics. My big vision for One Story, One Voice is to carry on with the model, with a new topic as we’ve done three so far (One Story, One Voice, Voices of Redemption – working with young ex-offenders, and Voices of the Movement working with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants)”.
If you’d like to get involved at YOU PRESS there is a new project called ScribersHive available for young people aged 16-30yrs. It provides the opportunity to act as a journalist to report what’s happening within the community. You’ll also be paired up with upcoming artist mentors and journalists and produce different articles on young people’s thoughts. The artists will then create a graphic comic illustration based on what you speak about. It’s FREE and no writing experience is needed. Take a visit to http://www.scribershive.com and just pop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org describing whom you’re and what your interests are and they’ll set an informal meeting with you. You won’t regret it!