News from Raw Material

NEW ARTS NIJMEGEN– This week Raw head out to Nijmegen in the Netherlands to meet up with New Arts, an innovatory arts organisation.

We are joined by our Croatian and Italian partners for this initial get together prior to the 2016 ‘Creative Lab’  ERASMUS+ project. The Raw group and partners will be spending two days in Nijmegen and going on an ‘Art Tour’ to Den Hague with the New Arts project team.
Creative Lab aims to explore and share best practice in arts work with young people in a European context. Pilot work took place in 2015 in Turin Italy in a mental health setting.
GRIT SCHOOL kicks off on Monday. This is a six week project for young musicians to gain industry awareness through a series of masterclasses and hands on sessions in the studio. Run with partners SGS,  a new Lambeth group that works with schools, this project is a first for SGS and Raw Material is pleased to provide the support to such projects that share resources, expertise and create increased access to high quality experiences for young people.
YOUTHSAYERS – funded by a Grants for the Arts award, this project will provide a different kind of experience for young musicians. It starts this Wednesday with members from the Soothsayers Afro Beat collective, headed up by horn maestro Robin Hopcraft. Young musicians  will spend several weeks honing their craft across all instruments towards a final concert.
BIG LOCAL ‘PRODUCTION HOUSE– A Youth forum is taking place this week in preparation for the next Production House project that launches on 19 April. The project runs for 10 weeks, covers music production, live sound, radio, DJ skills, graphic design, marketing and promotion and culminates in a performance event.
ENO– the Raw team and community partners meet up this week with ENO Baylis team to review the recent highly successful ‘Millions of Years’ performance at the British Museum of Philip Glass opera ‘Akhnaten’ and discuss new plans for collaborations later in the year.
BUILDING BEATS– Plans have been under way this week to visit Building Beats, an exemplary New York based youth music organisation, with a view to developing an international partnership, following our visit in late September.
FINAL TOUCHES– completing our Strategic capital grant funded renovation of the centre, we hang the final commissioned art work from artist Laila B,  a total of 8 large canvasses were commissioned.
EVALUATION- We review the last 12 weeks of the RAW SOUNDS mental health programme, which culminated in a capacity event with spectacular live music at POW club Brixton, all filmed by the Community Channel. A new project will be starting with Tate Modern in May using photography and design for music album art work.
ROCCHA Seminar- Effectively Measuring Impact- The well attended seminar from ROCCHA is helping to pave the way to both understanding and measuring real impact in our work. A further session is planned for May.

The Southbank centre has been packed with thousands of children and young people during Lambeth Music Week, a real musical mash up with every conceivable genre and style of performance.

The Lambeth Music network held a special forum to discuss and share expertise and experience of working with young people in challenging circumstances, including SEND and mental health contexts. Hosted by Kinetico Bloco, Raw Material’s mental health programme manager Indra Khera was on the panel to discuss our work in mental health and to share notes with others.

Schools, parents, young people and arts organisations were all represented and endorsed the need for the work and for strategies to support to sustain the sector. The Music Network, as a music hub, has a clear challenge and role in taking the lead on this.
A well attended event took place at Raw Material this week, presented by Rose Challies of ROCCHA, an innovatory organisation that aims to provide a directory of voluntary organisations that have real impact in society, in order to attract investment to the sector.
Representatives from local and London wide charities and voluntary organisations attended the intense two hour sessions, that broke down the thinking and implications of measuring impact, stripping our actions down to the fundamental vision and need  for the work.  This provided the basis for insightful thought and debate on our activities – and its real impact. People left with a refreshed view on how to measure this and for it to have meaning to both the organisations, their constituents – and the funders.
ROCCHA will be returning to Raw Material for further presentations during the year.

Following on from their work with the ENO in ‘Millions of Years’ at the British Museum, Raw Material and Brixton Youth Theatre were at the Coliseum on Friday night for the performance of Akhnaten – a thought-provoking, absorbing experience. Beautifully produced, with amazing sets, lighting and music, it got a definite thumbs up from all the young people.

The opera tells the story of the divine ruler of Egypt, husband to Nefertiti, father of a new religion. Akhnaten decrees that the sun god rules supreme, and the old gods must be banished from their temples. But instead, his people turn upon their Pharaoh as a traitor. Akhnaten must die. At the end will his new faith live on?

This extraordinary work has not been seen in London for 30 years and forms the last of Philip Glass’s trilogy of ‘portrait’ operas in which he looks at figures from the fields of science (Einstein), politics (Gandhi) and religion (Akhnaten).The mesmerising opera uses texts drawn from ancient hymns, prayers, letters and inscriptions sung in their original Egyptian, Hebrew and Akkadian. ENO’s new production is directed by Improbable theatre company’s Phelim McDermott and follows his spectacular stagings of Glass’s Satyagraha and The Perfect American. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo sings the title role, while conductor Karen Kamensek, a specialist in Glass’s music, makes her ENO debut.

We will be meeting soon with the ENO Baylis programme staff to feedback on the whole experience and to discuss new ideas and projects.



Pop Brixton lit up this Saturday with performances from Lambeth emerging music talent. Music Masters, Raw Material, SGS and Groove School gave it their best – from classical to hip hop and dub vibes, all showing some of the best new talent developing in Lambeth, from 11 year DJ’s and dancers, to rappers and singers and a full orchestra, all under one roof.
Earlier in the day Kinetico Bloco roused up Black Cultural Archives and spread their beats out across Windrush Square, all part of Lambeth Music Week and the Music Network programme.
Included in the activities catch the debate on Thursday 24 at the Southbank centre 2-5pm where we will be exploring how music works with young people in challenging circumstances- Raw Material will be focussing on our work in mental health.