Young Minds Matter LX- VOL2

In the 21st century, where a number of environmental and political catastrophes have lead the human race to an undeniable period of uncertainty, the hopeful, fresh voice of the youth seems more essential than ever. However, we as artists, perceive things differently. Our nature causes us to analyse the situation in a much more poetic way, a way that looks back into the routes of the problems and deconstructs the factors of these issues in their entirety. We are by default to repeatedly analyse and try to find reasoning in everything. Hence, now, when our nation needs us the most we ought to gather our forces and use our artistry as a medium, not only to unite, but to bring awareness to the youth.

Our exchange program ‘Young Minds Matter’ is a youth lead international exchange project where young artists from European countries converge their diverse artistic mediums and approaches to create a fascinating three-day festival, combining theatre performances, street shows, concerts and an exhibition to reflect current youth voices on post Brexit, Islamophobia, xenophobia, mental health, hate speech, racism and violent extremism in Europe.

How to apply? 

Our application form requires the artists (from any field/related field of the artistic industry) to clearly state their creative direction in a few words. The description does not need to be long but  preferably summarised , giving a clear idea of the artists’ intentions and subject of interest. The idea is that all participants want to actively raise awareness about global issues and use their voice to inspire and give hope to the younger generation of a sustainable future in terms of economy, ecology, politics, etc.

Participants accepted on to this program will have the opportunity to create a variety of new work, by engaging in an experimental film project, a performance project and an interpersonal exhibition collaboration. All applicants should be ready to adapt, network and grow through their interaction with other fields of the artistic industry. As cross disciplined collaboration is the main concept of the expedition all participants should be aware of its importance as the only medium of personal and collective growth

Programme dates: 4th – 13th September 

Application deadline: 17th July 2017

Request and application form at: / FB: Elevate Young Minds 

Note that you will be required to self fund or join fundraiser to cover the cost of the programme.

This project ran in a similar fashion last year with great success and we look to continue to grow by bringing new artists with fresh ideas into the fold. We look to promote new work and push boundaries by encouraging the experimental work being developed throughout Europe and across the globe. Every artist has their voice embedded in their work, let us use this to create a better world for not only our generation but the many generations to come.

They do so much more than that but you need a short snappy title don’t you? Anyway yeah, these guys are promoting a healthy lifestyle and fresh diet whilst raising awareness for and joining the dots between climate change, social justice, organic gardening, environmental awareness and hip hop.

DJ Cavem (aka Ietef Vita) and Mixmaster Alkemia (aka Arasia Earth) run seminars, workshops and community programmes through their organisation Going Green Living Bling which include a culinary concert called “Food On Fleek” and screenings of their documentary “From Gangs To Gardens”. They are dedicated to promoting an organic and healthy lifestyle from setting up a grocery store/grow space called The GrowHaus where you can buy and grow organic vegetables, to releasing a vegan cookbook called Damn Near Raw and releasing an album/curriculum called The Produce Section: The Harvest, this couple are up for educating and promoting  a healthy lifestyle through any medium they can get their hands on.

Ietef was nominated for the 2014 Music Educator Grammy, has spoken at TedXManhatten and was even invited to The White House for the 127th Easter Egg Roll to perform their Culinary Concert.

“My goal is to promote the idea of holistic health, permaculture, urban agriculture, yoga and culinary wellness. Unfortunately, sometimes there’s almost a resistance to anything like that in our community. For example, in my school programs sometimes I’ve had to disguise yoga as breakdancing, math and engineering as music production and language arts as poetry and spoken word. I try to teach the students about how they can create their own business in urban agriculture. I also have a curriculum that introduces educational plant-based cooking, as well as juicing and raw foods. I have a lecture series that covers EcoHipHop, food justice, gang intervention, race and politics, organic gardening and graffiti art. I even lead a class called HipHop Yoga.” Ietef tells NBC.

Needless to say, trying to promote this kind of stuff to communities where there’s literally more liquor stores than grocery stores is no easy task but the couple have thrown themselves at the challenge whole heartedly and their sincerity definitely shows.

Check the couple’s Ted talk below:


Elevate Young Minds is pleased to announce EYM LX, a pop up festival for around 40 young artists in a cultural exchange based in Lisbon, Portugal. The one day festival will feature multidisciplinary art of all forms and is created around exploring connections and opening up cultural access to all.
This event was inspired by the passion of young collaborative artists and supporting artists on their ascent into the professional industry. At Elevate Young Minds, we believe it is important to foster and nurture artistic talent in all forms, and this exchange in Lisbon will provide opportunity to share work and to engage with others. Elevate Young Minds LX is made up of students from Leeds Beckett University (UK), artists from across the globe and volunteers and artists from Lisbon, Portugal.

Taking place on the 3rd September 2016 at EKA Palace, this festival will begin at 6pm and continue into the early hours of the morning. At EKA the artists will converge their diverse artistic mediums and approaches to create a fascinating one-day festival, combining theatre performances, street shows, concerts and an exhibition to reflect youth voice at an international extension.
Line up and ticket information is below:

Tickets: 3 Euro— Sale opens at 18:00

Exhibiting Artists: Beatriz Bagulho, Inês Brito, Alice Albergaria Borges, Madalena Wallenstein, Pedro Saúde, Sebastião Ribeiro Soares, Luana Sal, André Correia, Diogo Gama, Lisa Fernandes, Bárbara Faden, Carolina Caramujo

Film Artists: Clara Jost e Tiago Santos, Rita António, Cru Na and Ana Anix Antadze

Slam Poetry: Cru Na, Marco Galrito, Vitor Malvas, Ana Homem de Melo

Performance Line up (Contemporary Theatre, Dance and Concert)
18:30- (Outside) Stitch Theatre – Rise to Vertex. James Rowling, Martyna Kozanecka
19:30-( Inside) -This Land? Beth Ellis, Matthew Hill, Edenamiuki Aiguobasinmwin
20:00- (Outside) – Camisa
20:30 – (Inside) –Two, Daniel Phung and Kayleigh Price
21:00- (Outside) – Ossos D’Ouvido
21:30- interval – 30 min.
22:00 – (Concert room) – Império Pacífico
23:00 – (Concert room) – Morning Coffee
00h00 – (Concert room) – Maxi Zee
01h00 – (Schwarzwelt) – Vince Royce


We are also looking for volunteers from Portugal who are able to assist with the running of the festival, volunteers will need to be available on the 3rd September 2016 and passionate about supporting an arts based festival.

If interested please contact: 


Elevate Young Minds is pleased to announce that we will be recreating Young Minds Matter LAB, a scratch platform curated for artists of all medias to come together and share their work.
The LAB event which will take place on the 1st October, is the extension of the international tour Elevate Young Minds has already created platforms for in Tanzania and in Lisbon this September. The event itself will focus upon the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly in younger people.  At Young Minds Matter LAB we will discuss mental health, through performances and expert perspective on the issue. Young Minds Matter LAB will offer local and international students from different artistic disciplines, the opportunity to present their work to reflect youth voice at an international extension.


Elevate Young Minds is announcing a call out for musicians who would be able to perform at Young Minds Matter LAB on the 1st October 2016 at Headingley Campus, Leeds Beckett University.
The musicians may be from any discipline or genre, just with the passion for sharing art and performing. If interested or have any further questions/queries,  please contact:

Performance captured from Young Minds Matter LAB 2015                                                                            Performance captured from Young Minds Matter LAB 2015

As an organisation, Elevate Young Minds aims to prompt better understanding and helps to reduce the stigma of mental health for young people through art and movement. Giving young artists the platform to grow within the arts community through connecting them with professionals in the industry and the general public, will provide stepping stones needed to be immersed in the exciting world of arts.  We curate and organise collaborative events throughout the year, this year we have five events in line locally and international, aiming to support and connect over 300 young artists, online and at our events.

Headingley Campus, Church Wood Avenue, LS6 3HF Leeds

A hundred and twenty years ago, Swami Vivekananda was a famous Hindu monk, who had toured America and was giving a series of lectures around the UK about his beliefs. By openly discussing his own particular philosophy, Swami is credited with raising interfaith awareness and introducing Indian philosophy, including Yoga, to the western world.

Here are some great quotes I have discovered:

“Whatever you think, that you will be.
If you think yourself weak, weak you will be;
if you think yourself strong, you will be.” 

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success…”

“The essence of Vedanta (the form of Hinduism that Swami practiced) is that there is but one Being and that every soul is that Being in full, not a part of that Being”. He also said: “The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.”

Crammed into Cassie’s Citroen C4 on the M1 (northbound), I had no clear idea what the next ten days would have in store. I’d only heard about this trip t’north, minus my own immersion into the ‘close-knit’ C4 community, about a week or two previously – Cassie having mentioned that the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) in Scarborough had reopened applications for its technical team. Not owning any previous experience with theatre ‘tech’, I could have responded with polite, restrained curiosity towards this news, thereby ensuring healthy blood flow to my lower limbs, which were now fighting for space with Beth, James, rucksacks and Caitlin’s premier front seat. Alas, this wasn’t to be. Instead (after circulation won out) I spent hour-after-hour wheeling large, ambiguous metal cases, carrying obtrusively long metal poles, awkwardly climbing tall metal ladders, and ‘focusing’ lots of oddly-named metal lamps, which made me pretty grateful for a comfortable bunk bed (first floor) at the end of the day. On top of that, I learned a thousand new things, helped facilitate some incredible theatre from around the country, and spent time with some of the most welcoming and enthusiastic people I’ve ever met. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I’m now interested in careers in the theatre industry and aim to become more involved with the tech crew at Sheffield Uni.

Whilst at NSDF I got the chance to help out with two shows created by students and graduates from Sheffield. Daniel by Footprint Theatre, and Departures: A Song Cycle by Joe Bunce and Matt Malone, both of which left lasting impressions on me and together picked up around 8 Judge’s awards at the end of the festival. Set on a station platform, Departures highlights the diminished sense of community in our modern lives through the awkward conversations of passengers waiting for a delayed train. We know strong communities are a crucial part of a fulfilled life and ‘7 Reasons Why Theatre Makes Our Lives Better‘ talks about how theatre (shocker) can help build them, by bringing communities together and evoking valuable new perspectives. Both these shows were first performed at the Theatre Delicatessen on Moor Street, and, this being a Sheffield-based blog, I’d like to encourage people to go and see shows there, as well as at other theatres around the city.

The first paragraph was designed to encourage people to take opportunities, even if it might make more sense to decline them. One opportunity I took at NSDF that was especially out of my comfort zone, was attending a workshop called ‘Writing For Performance’. To my dread, Chris Thorpe who was leading the session announced we would use the last 30 minutes to write something of our own… and then read it to everyone. With “why do you do this to yourself?” on a self-conscious loop around my reluctant brain, I seriously considered sneaking out. Yet I went through with it and it turned out to be quite a positive experience. I managed a short poemy-prose thing inspired by a moment in Departures that I loved, namely when 8 of the characters sit in a circle on the platform and extol, in magical harmony, humble ingredients of daily life. This is what I came up with:

The windows and walls, ceilings and floors


Drop away, evaporate, diss-apparate

Leaving us all naked on raised epiphanic velvet.

Frantically fleeting, yet oh so fulfilling,

I want it to become myself,

Hold my-self in this community of minds.

This is why we come to these dim places –

To explore where no external light can reach.

For something primal to be evoked

Not some prison to be preached.

Freedom from our enforced identities

Flowing through each other’s entities.

At last.

A collaboration between

Hantu collective

RBF Photography

Young minds matter

Atlas Studio Dance shoot-85Atlas Studio Dance shoot-149

Set at atlas studios and lead by Rob Felon, the studio houses up to 4000m2 of industrial backdrop of an old cotton mill situated in Bolton. We personally saw it as an artistic playhouse, there was endless possibilities in the studio, with dancer techniques ranging from ballet to breakdance. We were keen on letting this young minds loss in the studio, to improvise and develop interactive concepts for camera.
Atlas Studio Dance shoot-17 Atlas Studio Dance shoot-98   Atlas Studio Dance shoot-47

our main focus was adapting the body to interact with the space, working with such old and forgotten space the goal was to bring it to life with a vast range of dynamic vocabulary.

Atlas Studio Dance shoot-103 Atlas Studio Dance shoot-104Atlas Studio Dance shoot-102


I will start my very first post by saying that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is my number one inspiration!

Although I have been writing for many years, I have never wanted to take such a bold step as to share my material with unfamiliar faces; people I have not know well enough to trust with the content or my mind and heart.

Adichie has taught me that I have a voice and that is okay! It is okay to have an opinion contrary to that of others and more importantly, I have learnt that if you have a gift of words, share it because it may inspire others, just as Adichie has inspired me. She has also made me extremely patriotic about my country. I am from Nigeria, a third world country in Africa that receives a lot of negative backlash in the media for things you may already know of, such as11891150_10207033867352383_8238809062792027035_n the boko haram terrorist group who cause havoc throughout the northern regions of the country; and the ‘419’ (email scamming) side of the country that people tend to focus on when they speak of Nigeria, along with the poverty that mercilessly sweeps through the country. Adichie teaches in her novels about the other side of Nigeria, the side that people who have not had the chance to experience it would not know. This is simply refreshing and encouraging!

With that being said, as well as sharing my poetry, I will be addressing some issues surrounding Africa as a whole, and I will also be discussing certain issues that I have an opinion on; whether it be religion, sexuality or the like.

These are some thoughts and ideas i have gained from from personal experiences, and things i have found to be useful when feeling low, down or negative.

When you feel down, finding joy in things is hard, but i think the trick is to start small, every small victory counts and is important to your overall happiness.

In no order.. take from this whatever may help you.

Make A Plan

Whether it be a plan for your day or a plan for the future, planning will remind you of your goals and aspirations, however small. Planning gives you something to work towards, to focus on. Make a list, a mind map, visualise where you want to be. Make time for things you enjoy and that will benefit you mentally, physically, spiritually.

Start Something

Start a project, start reading a book, start learning a skill, practice something you love, anything, whatever it is you want to do, just start. This can be the hardest part, but try thinking about the positive impact this will have on future you; starting something you want to do, now rather than the instant gratification of deciding to do it later. This ‘something’ doesn’t have to be life changing, but feeling like you are achieving something, and actively working towards something will make you feel more positive.

Positive Affirmations

Tell yourself positive things about yourself. When you constantly tell yourself something, you will begin to believe it. When you continually tell yourself ‘I am sad’ or ‘I am bad at -‘ you will continue to feel this way. If you start telling yourself ‘I am confident/happy/beautiful’, this is what you will become in your mind, and therefore what you will radiate.

Treat Yourself Better: Get Active

Get up (I know this can be the hardest part)

Go on a walk, run or bike ride, practice yoga, attend a class, start a sport; find something you enjoy. Moving your body, breathing fresh air, being around other people, or taking time for yourself, will give you an energy boost, and your body and mind will thank you.  Endorphins! – Scientifically proven to make you happy.

Treat Yourself Better: Eat Better

You really are what you eat. What you put in to your body will ultimately affect your physical and mental well-being. When you feel good internally you are able to feel good externally too, so treat your body well and you will feel mentally better and healthier.

A good idea would be to set up a routine of what you consume, drink water when you wake up, hot water with lemon, or green tea; take this time for yourself. Plan and prepare your meals, and think about this when you are purchasing food, this way you wont be tempted to just snack on anything. Again, make each meal an important part of your day, make time to prepare and enjoy your food. Eat with intention.

Mental health and physical health often go hand in hand.


Sometimes your environment can have a massive impact on your mental health and mind. If your environment is cluttered, often your mind can be too, if you are in an environment which is not benefiting you mentally, change it. It could be something as simple as changing, clearing out or tidying your personal space, this change in physical space can have a big impact on your mental space. Remove the clutter from your life. If it is an environment which is out of your control, either leave, because it is not making you happy, or try and change this space in your mind. You decide how you view a situation or environment, you decide your reaction. This links back to positive affirmations; if you are telling yourself you are unhappy, you will be. It is easy to dwell on negative emotions towards a place, person or situation. However, if you come in to an environment or situation with acceptance and openness, think about how it is benefiting you, think of this as a phase in your life, what are you learning? Then it is easier to accept and see the positive and beneficial aspects.

Another important tip is to realise where you find your energy, is it being around people? or being alone? Think about where you need to be to recharge, go there.


Personally i have found this to be one of the most important revelations for my own happiness. It seems obvious, but i think feeling gratitude for the simple things, the basis of life, is something which really helps you become a more positive person.

Firstly, gratitude for your body – look at all your body is capable of, your body is so strong and precious, it is what gives you freedom, how can you feel negatively towards something that gives you life? Secondly, gratitude for the earth and this life – watch a sunrise or sun set, experience the elements, be. I think when you stop and look at the beauty of this earth you will be overwhelmed.

To live gratefully is a skill you learn over time, but it is something which will change your life.

Let Yourself Feel

When you are feeling down or negative your instinct is usually to try and push it away and ignore it, but instead, try being in the present moment.

Your feelings are valid, they are part of what makes you human. Let yourself feel everything fully, do not try to push it away; acknowledge and experience it, accept it for what it is, then move on. Dwelling on feelings is useless to your personal growth, accept the emotion or situation for what it is and let go.

Take time to reflect, this might also help you find or pin point the root of the negative emotions, and therefore help you let go.

Let Go

This is again one of the most important things i have found for finding happiness within myself. Letting go of negative emotions, towards myself and others, honestly changed my life in such a positive way.

Sometimes you will revel in your negative emotions. You feel stuck in a rut, stuck on negative thoughts and feelings.

Try letting go of the emotions which are not serving you. When certain emotions become useless or even hindering to your growth, realise that you are only causing yourself harm by holding on to them. I realised this once i read these words – ‘Holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, you are the one who gets burned’ – This applies to all negativity, when you are holding on to something negative within yourself, you are only hurting yourself. When you let go, the weight will lift and you will be free.

Be Mindful.

Be in the present moment. Let your mind be still. Feel your breath, feel your heart beat, feel your eyes in your sockets, your skin on skin, feel your body existing right now, concentrate on what you are doing, be. When you focus on experiencing your present moment, your fears of the future and anxieties of the past will leave you, being in the present is where you will find your true happiness.

You Are In Control

Realise you are in control of your mind and emotions.

What you think; the emotions you feed; you become, you radiate, you receive.

Everything you need in order to find your happiness is inside of you.

Honestly, i still have to continually remind myself of these things, i am still learning and growing, as we all are. Hopefully these ideas and practices can help you on your journey in some way.