Sankofa Storytelling Arts is a drama business that is centred in using conversation and performance to imagine alternative outcomes to perceived obstacles. Our remit is solution-based, applied drama. This involves creating a safe space to try out ideas through role-playing and social drama. I also look at paradigm-shifting storytelling, which explores what makes you think and why you think it. An example of this practice is in dealing with difficult or important issues – we present a story, and then I add obstacles in that story and give people the opportunity to create a new ending. For instance,with Hansel and Gretel, I turn the crumbs into balls of paper that represent fears such as feeling anxious about making a decision. With 20 years in community arts and education, I have identified the systems that unintentionally lead to barriers, as well as recognising issues of access and socio-economic inequality.
Use dialogue to diversify resident groups
Community dialogue can feel difficult at the moment, for example Tenants and Residents Associations (TRAs) might not feel diverse, but there is space to be heard. There is a need to foster community dialogue and create equitable opportunities. For us, this means using our form of drama called Applied Theatre – which is an umbrella term for social drama, a process for developing new ideas and solutions – to open up dialogue.
Imagine a group of teenagers wish to develop a project that improves their employability, while also contributing to their neighbourhood. They could approach their local TRA or other existing community group with their ideas as youth ambassadors.
Through these new connections and conversations, we could create a new form of TRA, with equal representatives of older residents, teenage residents, parents and professionals. This is a big change, however there is a real need to celebrate and promote diversity and some really great projects may blossom.
Spearhead diverse leadership in the community
Let’s celebrate the rich tapestry of lived experiences that reflect and respond to the needs of the community in an authentic way. Engaging different groups, from intergenerational groups, to one-parent families, under-18s and more, is a way to set up a ‘living directory’ of experience in Camden and could lead to some really exciting developments.
Collaborate with local organisations
Camden Council partnered with the brilliant organisation LABS to offer not just office space but mentoring with a business based within their beautiful co-working space. Get in touch with them, immerse yourselves with the range of resources on offer and make the plan to action your ideas.
Want to find out about funding your community idea?
Do you have a great idea that could help your community? The We make Camden Kit gives money and support to Camden residents and community groups who want to get started on a local project.