Express yourself, empower yourself

Cinema4All - Erica & Danae
Danae Wellington

Story and photo by Fran Belbin

I first met Danae Wellington two years ago at a film screening in Burngreave Library that she was persuaded to review for the Messenger (see Messenger 125) so it is a pleasure to interview her about the latest project she is involved in, which will bring more cinematic experiences to the library.

Danae is the founder of Nyara Collective which aims to empower young voices creatively through film, poetry and the spoken word. She is currently collaborating with Hive (the hub for 14-25 year old writers in South Yorkshire) and Cinema for All (who provide support for screening films in the community).

She has devised a programme of poetry and spoken word workshops for the library that begins on 2nd February (for 12-15 year olds), and three film showings during halfterm – Freedom Writers (evening of 15th February), Slam (afternoon of 21st February) and Rize (evening of 22nd February).

Each film is related to the theme of creative self-expression and aimed at 14-19 year olds, though all are welcome. Entry – and popcorn! – is free.

Danae says:

“I want to encourage young people to rise up and walk through the world confident in their own individual truths” . “Poetry, spoken word and film can be the springboard into self-expression; to grow as a person, have confidence to create and use our voices for change. Mainstream education doesn’t promote arts careers, but with the right opportunities and the right people you can make a living – we’re not all starving artists!”

Vicky Morris from Hive and members of the library’s writing group are supporting Danae to organise the events.

Erica Patterson attended some of Cinema for All’s workshops.

“I’ve been learning the ropes of how to put on arts activities, how to use the equipment, how to create a good atmosphere in the venue and make sure it’s accessible. It’s a team effort and we are enjoying working together to achieve our aims.”

Danae hopes to lead more workshops in the future based on her positive experiences with Hive.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many artists, even from the US, and Otis Mensah, Sheffield’s first Poet Laureate. When the right people come together, you don’t have to put your dreams on hold.”

To book a free place call into the library or email nyaracreativecollective@gmail.com.

More information also on NyaraCreative (Facebook and instagram), hivesouthyorkshire.com or cinemaforall.org.uk