Belinda Zhawi

Belinda ZhawiFor New Town Voices, writer and poet Belinda Zhawi collaborated with a group of young people across social care services in Barking and Dagenham.

For New Town Voices, writer and poet Belinda Zhawi collaborated with a group of young people across social care services in Barking and Dagenham. Hosted at the White House in late 2020, the sessions explored the power of spoken word using a range of creative and collaborative techniques including protest, cut-out, black-out and audio poetry, to reflect on personal experiences of the year and imagine alternative futures.

New Town Voices created a safe space for young people to collectively explore dynamics and structures of power, oppression, injustice and isolation; providing a platform to be subversive and reflective about society. The workshops supported the development of a set of tools for young people, helping to mobilize their voices, words and stories for personal and collective empowerment.

New Town Voices will continue through 2021 and culminate in a series of co-produced broadcasts accompanied by a printed zine and resource toolkit, to be launched in conjunction with the Becontree centenary programme in 2021.

The White House
884 Green Lane
Dagenham
RM8 1BX
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Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean born writer and educator currently based in London. Her work explores Afro-diasporic research and narratives, and how art and education can be used as intersectional tools. Zhawi also experiments with sound as MA.MOYO, heavily collaborating within the ever growing South East London jazz and beat-making scene.

Recent projects include Current Transmissions (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2020); Art of Now: Mixtape For Zimbabwe (BBC Radio 4, 2020); South X South East (The Showroom, London, 2019); Our Bodies Speak Poetry (Africa Writes Festival, The British Library, 2019). Zhawi was the 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet, the 2019 Serpentine Galleries’ Schools Artist in Residence, and is co-founder of literary arts platform, BORN::FREE. She is the author of Small Inheritances (ignition press, 2018) and South of South East (Bad Betty Press, 2019).

Belinda Zhawi: New Town Voices is commissioned by The White House as part of New Town Culture, a programme of artistic and cultural activity taking place in adult and children’s social care and curated by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. New Town Voices forms part of a broader programme that marks the centenary of the Becontree estate in 2021. This commission is funded by the GLA’s Young Londoners Fund, the MOPAC Violence Reduction Unit, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.