Wednesday night, Wandsworth Road and Words on 4th December 2013 formed a worldwide web of wonder in the event highlights video for GROUNDation (see below).
GROUNDation was Safe Ground’s first ever spoken word/ poetry evening and was held at the LOST Theatre, Wandsworth Road in Lambeth. With this event Safe Ground was capturing an instance of a renascent commitment to creating new artistic works, projects and interventions. Following on from in recent years ‘Transitions’ (2012), Common Ground (2010) and the Creating Community Archives (2009), GROUNDation brought the voices of men in prison together with those from our local communities.
During the lifetime of the organisation our work with men in prisons, primarily through our relationship skills programmes Family Man and Fathers Inside, has often resulted in men producing poetry in response to the self-reflection and the examination of behaviours and attitudes the courses challenge men to take on. Over the years we have collected all this poetry and thought it would be a good thing to provide a platform for this expression and bring it together with that of communities outside of prisons.
We are very aware that for a lot of people the feelings of men in prison are difficult to listen to. Part of the work we do is to challenge men in prison to think about how people outside might think and feel about them, while in our community work challenging people outside prison to consider the people rather than simply the prisoners inside.
In the lead up to the event we held two poetry workshops, where the work produced would feature at GROUNDation. So on Saturday 16th November 2013 Dean Atta led a community poetry workshop at the Katherine Low Settlement, Battersea High Street. It was a deep, emotional and fruitful session. One of the attendees, Clare Vasiljevic, performed two pieces of her work at the main event. On Monday 18th November 2013, rapper and spoken word performer, Ty, led a workshop with a writing group in the library at HMP Wandsworth. This session provided a diversity of experience, voices and styles and some very profound moments.
On Wednesday 4th December 7pm, Safe Ground brought the HKB FiNN TRiO, Asabi, Dean Atta, Deanna Rodger and Roger Robinson together with the voices of men in HMP Wandsworth and HMP Birmingham and voices from the community, and had a wonderful night of words, music and wonder.
However words cannot adequately capture performance on paper and though films are fictions too, they can capture the truths at the heart of expression in a much more immediate way, so please go to our events highlights video below.
We would like to thank the LOST Theatre and staff, Haroon Mazhar, Sarah Leipliqer, Emma McLellan, Kevin Field, Harriet Childs and the rest of the staff at HMP Wandsworth, Ty, Sidel Stewart, Juanita Rosenior, Dean Atta, Deanna Rodger, Roger Robinson, the HKB FiNN TRiO, Clare Vasiljevic, Sean Wei Keung, Marita Algroy and the men in prison in HMP Wandsworth and HMP Birmingham who provided their words to be read out on the night.