Waking the Dead is launching!

Wednesday 15 March 2017
WTD james wilkie

Our digital media team has completed a  project focused on Kensal Green Cemetery, which has helped local talented and creative young people, some of which were isolated, gain digital media skills while exploring the difficult subject of death.

Waking the Dead is a project which was funded by £76,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We engaged with over 100 young people of varying ages and backgrounds from the local area were given access to numerous training opportunities such as oral history recording, film making and archive research. The young people have created 2 short films, a visual media art sculpture and a smart phone app which creates an interactive tour of the cemetery, documenting the notable and interesting figures buried there.

Some of the young people who were unable to access this sort of digital media training were feeling isolated before this project, due to mental health or unemployment.

During the project the young people explored the lives and local history of the figures buried at Kensal Green Cemetery (such as Joe Strummer, Harold Pinter and Wilkie Collins) and explored the different traditions, cultures and approaches to death.

The young people have created 2 short films, a visual media art sculpture and a smart phone app which creates an interactive tour of the cemetery, documenting the notable and interesting figures buried there. The first short film ‘Beats Beneath’ focuses on those who helped create the Notting Hill Carnival and the musical figures who pioneered soundsystem culture and layed the roots for grime and hip hop.

As part of the project the spoken word artist Akala delivered a workshop to 10 and 11 year olds from local St Thomas’ primary on the musical history of the local area which the young people used as inspiration to create spoken word pieces and art exploring death.

Brian, a young person involved in the project says:

“I got experience with lots of different types of cameras and even drones. I learnt how to frame shots, how to record professional sound and how to tell a story with more than one camera. It has made me a better all-round film-maker and cinematographer”

To launch Waking the Dead we are having an event on the evening of the 22nd of March based at the Dissenter’s Gallery at Kensal Green Cemetery with live musical and spoken word performances around the cemetery, artwork created by primary school students as well as some of the young people involved in the project acting as tour guides.

Reena Mukherji, Director of The Octavia Foundation, says:

“There is a need for opportunities for young people to learn digital media skills. In our increasingly digital world, these skills help future employment prospects. We have found that digital media is an effective way to reach out to young people who may be isolated or not engaging with education in the usual ways. Further to ‘Waking the Dead’ we will be offering more digital media training and opportunities for inter-generational work from a brand new centre in north Kensington from summer 2017.”

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