Young people in St Leonards and Hastings inspired by UK hip hop artists for spoken word performance

Part of The Family
Part of The Family

Young people have been exploring family relationships in creative writing workshops led by DJ and producer Skitz and featuring acclaimed UK artists Rodney P and Harry Shotta.

The sessions, a series of twice-weekly creative workshops for people from the St Leonards-based Respond Academy and surrounding areas, culminate in a special performance, titled Part Of The Family.

Funded by Arts Council England, this will see a group of young writers offer intimate and revealing views on family life with spoken word and poetry.

This takes place at Blackmarket VIP in Hastings Old Town on Thursday, May 29, from 6pm to 8pm.

The event will include special guest Rodney P and forms part of an unique UK-wide project.

Coordinated by Skitz, a former BBC 1Xtra DJ, the workshops have featured masterclasses from a range of high profile UK artists, including Rodney P and Harry Shotta, offering participants grounding in spoken word techniques and creative writing as they explore personal perspectives around family relationships and the roles they play as individuals within the family unit.

After writing and performing compositions around these themes, all the young people involved will gain a Bronze Arts Award – a qualification widely recognised by businesses in the creative sector and colleges of further education.

According to Skitz, a Hastings resident since 2008, the project aims to help young people develop their creative skills and better understand the role of family within their day-to-day lives.

He said: “Part of the Family is looking to explore the role played by individuals within the family through lyrics, songwriting and creative expression.

“The course will culminate in a live show giving participants the chance to perform in front of an audience.

“The project aims to gain true insight and vision from the participants as to what family truly means to them and hopefully achieve more awareness and understanding through creative expression.”

Pablo McFee, Curriculum Lead at Respond Academy, who has provided support at the workshops added: “In a rapidly evolving world, the perspectives of our young people is integral to a clearer understanding of both ourselves and the diverse family ‘make-ups’ we all come from.

“The projects we work on at Respond are always facilitated by truly committed artists and tutors who have insight and awareness of the challenges our students face in their daily lives.

“Certainly, with Part of the Family it has been hugely positive to watch the young participants get inspired by Skitz and his guest artists and produce some truly original work.”

Part Of The Family is one of eight family-themed events developed by London-based arts organisation Small Green Shoots and funded by Arts Council England.

All are encouraging young people not in education or training to gain new experiences and create new works based upon alternative perspectives of family life.

Natalie Wade, Director of Small Green Shoots said: “Part Of The Family is one of eight unique events that Small Green Shoots has helped to develop – all exploring the diversity of today’s family life from the viewpoint of socially excluded young people.

“For these projects to succeed, it is absolutely crucial that we can partner with respected and inspirational artists like Skitz and use the local expertise of community organisations like Respond Academy.

“As well as producing some innovative and hard-hitting work, the event on May 29 will earn all the participants a valued Arts Award qualification.”