13 June 2019

Young Ambassadors Bring Windrush Into Schools

Over the past two years, GCF have been working on a Windrush project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The first half of this project culminated in the production Sorrel & Black Cake: A Windrush Story that was performed at the Mandela Centre in Chapeltown, The Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds Central Library and at the Ilkley Literature Festival. We also developed a Windrush Learning Resource that contains everything you need to plan and teach a lesson on Windrush or simply educate yourself.

As the project draws to a close two of our Young Ambassadors, Adeline Pitu and Lulia Togara have been developing a workshop to deliver in schools throughout June. To find out a bit about how they have found the experience of putting together a workshop and presenting in schools I asked them a few questions.

Adeline and Lulia presenting the workshop at Notre Dame Sixth Form College.
Adeline and Lulia at Notre Dame Sixth Form College

What have you learnt from creating the workshop?

Lulia: The importance of the bigger picture! Not just focusing on the interesting bits of information I want to share, but really thinking about how to make an engaging exercise into a life lesson.

Adeline: How to deal with certain information, materials and different ages, applied to Windrush and migration.

What’s been the hardest part about it?

Adeline: This one is a little difficult to answer, as I’ve only had a few experiences of creating workshops before. However, I do think it’s hard to pin down what material you want to use and why and keep in mind the time of how long each section and response will take. But I know that this situation can be experienced in any type of workshop, depending on the topic.

It also depends on what age range you will have to teach, as it can be difficult to try to balance different perspectives on what they would and would not be used to. (E.g. Different learning styles, visual, auditory, etc).

Lulia: Realising there’s a lot of information I want to share and only an hour to do it in.

What’s your favourite bit of the workshop?

Lulia:  If I had to pick, I’d say the Powerful Passports exercise, but I think all the sections are really lovely.

Adeline: Having fun while learning.

How do you feel the first workshops went?

Adeline: It was hard at first but by the end we really got into it. The hardest part was being nervous at the start, but I know that the more practice we get with the workshop, the easier it will get.

Do you want to do more things like this in the future?

Adeline: I would like to lead different workshops when I can, that can help and inspire others as well as learning from them myself. The more I put things into practice, the more confidence I have to give others what they need.

Lulia: Definitely!

Many thanks to Adeline and Lulia for letting me chat to them, and congratulations on delivering several successful workshops!

Lulia presenting the workshop.


9 May 2019

Introducing our Windrush Learning Resource

In just over a month’s time on Saturday 22nd June, we’ll be celebrating Windrush Day 2019. It is a wonderful opportunity to come together to celebrate and commemorate the remarkable contribution of the Windrush Generation to British economic, social and cultural life.

In the meantime, we’d like to take the opportunity to do a big shout out about our Windrush Learning Resource, where you can find out all about the Windrush Generation. Our resources combine a mixture of short films, interviews, recipes, reading lists and playlists. View the full resource here.

If you would like a free workshop in school or the community about the Windrush Generation, please contact GCF: selina@gcfoundation.co.uk.

31 January 2018

A Cup of Tea with Khadijah

We sat down for a cup of tea and a chat with our Creative Associate Artist, poet and theatre-maker Khadijah Ibrahiim, to discuss creativity, her inspirations and heritage, and our upcoming project, ‘Windrush: an Influential Force on British Culture’.


First question on the agenda was ‘What does being creative mean to you?’ For Khadijah, it means “…using your imagination and allowing it to be free, to flow, to come up with ideas that one would expect to do if one was dreaming about things…reimagining the world in a different way.”

Khadijah is the Artistic Director of Leeds Young Authors, an organisation which aims to help young people develop their artistic abilities as confident writers and live performers. Although the group was initially planned to run for only a year, it has now been growing for over 15 years, and has been central to Khadijah’s life for a long time: “To watch the young people involved grow into independent artists and go on to create theatre, be published, be radio producers, be journalists is amazing. I’m very, very proud of that aspect of my creativity in terms of engaging communities and young people.”

In 2014, Khadijah published her full collection ‘Another Crossing’ through Peepal Tree Press and went on to create a one woman show based on this collection which was performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. For Khadijah, the collection is “a culmination of personal stories, family stories, community stories…that otherwise wouldn’t be told.” She was shortlisted for the Jerwood Poetry Prize last year – a “very proud moment”. Despite these many successes, she still believes that “you’re only as good as your last work”.

Khadijah Ibrahim
Khadijah Ibrahiim

As a GCF Creative Associate Artist, Khadijah works very closely with the Foundation on many projects and helps us continue the legacy of Geraldine, who’s work Khadijah really admired: “She was not only an amazing composer and director, she was an amazing mentor and advisor, especially in the work that I was doing in my early days with Leeds Young Authors. She saw something in me that she would always encourage. It was maybe just a passing word from her, but these were very strong words that made you feel quite focussed…Her legacy, to be part of that legacy, to be working to keep that legacy alive – I feel really proud about that.”

I asked Khadijah what guidance she would give to young creatives who want to pursue a career in the arts. Her advice?

Never stop, always keep going…Keep on progressing. Keep on believing in yourself. The best advisor is yourself. The best motivation comes from self-motivation…I think creativity is a very spiritual thing – it’s given to you through some spiritual realm, that’s what I believe. You cannot force it…My advice is keep on going, keep on believing in yourself, surround yourself with creative people and creative energy that can inspire you, be inspired by other people’s work, be an inspiration to other people, and the rest will come.

Khadijah is a Project Producer on our Heritage Lottery funded performance project, ‘Windrush: an Influential Force on British Culture’. June 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of Windrush. Bringing the first wave of Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948, this momentous historical event marked the beginning of the mass immigration movement in the UK that resulted in an estimated 172,000 West Indian born people living in the UK by 1961; the ‘Windrush Generation’. To celebrate, we are producing a live presentation that will be performed by both young people and adults from across Leeds on 22nd and 23rd June 2018. I asked Khadijah about her personal connection to this story:

My connection to the story of Windrush is through my Jamaican heritage. First and foremost though my ancestral line, my grandparents who came to England. They were part on the Windrush movement…My grandparents arrived in the 50s and my parents arrived in the early 60s. So they’re part of that Windrush Generation…Everything I have created so far has talked about that migration, that settlement, that sense of longing, because as an African-Caribbean woman born in Britain, there’s always a sense of exploring identity and belonging, and so the Windrush story is my story.

Finally, Khadijah talked me through her ideas for our celebratory Windrush performances in June this year: “The idea is not to just tell the story straightforward because its been told many times, not to say it couldn’t be told like that as its been told before because I’m aware, as much as I know the story, a lot of don’t know the story so its still quite new to them. And it’s quite exciting working with the young people in presenting that story to them and how they visualise that.”

Click here to listen to Khadijah’s interview in full and discover more about her incredible heritage and vision for the Windrush Project. More info on our Windrush performances on 22nd and 23rd June will be released very soon. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on our website and social media pages!

9 November 2017

Call for Young Creatives to take part in new performance project

Looking for a new opportunity to develop your creative skills and perform to a wide audience? The Geraldine Connor Foundation is currently searching for young creatives aged 14+ and based in Leeds who are interested in music, spoken word, dance or film to create and take part in a production celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Windrush.

What was Windrush? The ship called ‘Empire Windrush’ brought the first wave of Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948, marking the beginning of the mass immigration movement in the UK that resulted in an estimated 172,000 West Indian born people living in the UK by 1961. To many, they are known as the Windrush Generation. Our brand-new production that you will help create will explore this momentous historical event and its impact in Britain today.

Weekly workshop sessions will be on Monday’s 6-8pm at the Mandela Centre in Leeds, and lead to performances in June 2018. We are looking for passionate and creative young people interested in exploring their cultural heritage to sign up for this exciting new project, which will also allow you to achieve the Arts Award at Bronze or Silver level. Please note, these workshops are free to attend and, although this opportunity is unpaid, it is a fantastic chance to develop your creative skills and work alongside professional artists.

Want to find out more and express your interest? Please get in touch! Contact the Geraldine Connor Foundation by email at selina@gcfoundation.co.uk or phone us on 0113 243 1166. For more details on this exciting project, click here.