A group of Black and Brown Young People taking part in a yoga class outside on the grass

ANIMATED FUTURES: Celebration Residential in The Lakes

There were so many wonderful moments at our Animated Futures celebration residential at The Kepplewray Centre earlier this month. Animated Futures started as a result of our Race & Education event back in October of last year. We’d pulled together around 30 young Black and Brown pupils from a number of schools across the county and asked them what it was like going to school and growing up here if you’re not White? We popped a camera to record on and left them to discuss. The result was an incredibly moving and poignant recording which was shown to the 170+ attendees at the event.

It didn’t stop there though. We’d realised that our young Black and Brown people had enjoyed talking to each other, sharing their thoughts, ideas and lived experience and that they wanted to continue. They’ve been meeting up ever since online every Wednesday evening. During that time they’ve been creating an animated film about their experiences, based on the question they were initially asked back in October. They’ve been working with their fabulous Youth Mentors, Rachael, Chim and Joe and Project Manager Jess and they’ve been lucky to have Lou Kneath of 3k Plus bringing all her experience of film animation along to share with them and produce the end result. It’s been amazing watching all their creativity and hard work! The Youth Mentors and Jess comment all the time on how inspiring these young people are and Lou is blown away by their creativity.

They all thought they should have both a well-deserved break from and a celebration of their animated film making so far, so we approached the Michelle Jurd Memorial Trust, based here in Cumbria and who are well known for funding small grants to get young people involved in the great outdoors. Their grant meant our young people were able to have a residential weekend which enabled them to build rafted canoes and row them on Lake Coniston and try their hands at archery and abseiling, all under the guidance of instructors from Kepplewray. They had a cracking time channelling their ‘super powers’ in a yoga session with Rowan Carr (and his conch!) and what’s a residential without a competitive scavenger hunt, a ‘make your own’ obstacle course, a few games of football and a secret midnight feast!

It was a really fun packed action weekend, with lots of memories made, opportunities given and achievements reached; importantly for our young people, it was a time to just be themselves (with their capes of course!). You can see just how that felt for them when you see quotes like this in their feedback:

“Good because we understand each other and it doesn’t feel like we’re the odd one out. Loved the abseiling!”

And there’s more quotes and highlights in the video below.

There’ll be a sneak preview of the film at our Anti Racist Cumbria Summit on 2 November. The full feature short animated film will Premiere at Brewery Arts early next year and then tour around the county (and who knows where else – the sky is the limit!). The project is still open if you know anyone who wants the opportunity to join together in a safe space to discuss their own culture and identity, explore and find support for issues they might be facing, make friends and (at the same time) learn new skills.

You can learn more and sign up here.


Video: Sheenah Alcock