Thank You Yasus!
From the National Trust's Whose Story? project team: the Back to Back Houses in Birmingham were able to work in partnership with Learning Links International and international poet Yasus Afari on a programme for Black History Month on an exciting initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Yasus Afari worked very positively with the Back to Backs learning staff, the Outreach Officer and 40 plus 7-14 yrs olds from George Dixon Primary School and Harborne Hill Secondary school in Birmingham.
Yasus Afari also delivered 'Jamaican Memory Lane' sessions to explore the stories of the diverse people who lived in Back to Backs; paralleled with his experiences of living in a collective living environment. Using poetry, reasoning, storytelling and drama to make comparisons and analysis of urban dwelling then and now, with respect to the ideas of turf, pecking order, social stratification, sense of community and relationships between work and domesticity and also married with sharing language and traditions from Jamaica; shared in a Back to Backs parlour setting.
We found both events to be entertaining, inspiring and encouraging bringing new and diverse audiences to our property; as well as enlightening and educating staff and volunteers. We feel Yasus Afari's exuberant and unique style brought our property to life in an overwhelming and interactive approach. This is reflected in the full workshops and extremely positive post evaluation from a wide ranging and multi aged audience. We look forward to working with Learning Links International and Yasus Afari in the future.