Beyond Labels: In Young Men’s Shoes

Young men at Hollins Technology College explored issues of identity with a variety of artists.

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Super Slow Way worked with Hollins Technology College in Accrington to connect young men with artists to allow them to explore their creativity through contemporary art forms as a vehicle for self-expression and self-exploration.

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Through a series of workshops, the group created spoken word poetry with Reece Williams and Keisha Thompson, members of Young Identity poetry cooperative in Manchester. In collaboration with Reece and Keisha, the group created spoken word poetry that gave voices to the lives of these young men, from their hopes and dreams to their anxieties and fears and everything in between. This lead to a live spoken word poetry performance and the creation of a spoken word coffee table book.

The group went on to work with Yussuf M’Abraty and Seal Films to create an original soundtrack for the poetry and script and produce a short film about the lives of young men in Accrington. Unique, thought-provoking imagery was produced in collaboration with digital artists Andy Mercer and Saqib Choudry, culminating in a poetic visual story of what life is like in young men’s shoes.

Beyond Labels places importance on a sense of identity. These young men, from diverse cultural backgrounds, were given the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, hopes and aspirations through different media, with a view to producing a touring exhibition of words, imagery, film and music. The Beyond Labels concept was developed and facilitated by Hollins Technology College in Accrington and began as a project with young girls, seeking to challenge perceptions of female identity and work towards empowerment and positive self-image.

In its second year, the project tackled issues of identity in young men and through Super Slow Way’s support, the project was able to expand its scope, enabling the group to work with established artists.

Find out more about last year’s Beyond Labels project with young girls