Love Letter to Brent

As part of the London Borough of Culture 2020 celebrations, The Poetry Society ran a series of workshops in Brent schools during the Autumn term 2020, leading up to the creation of a borough-wide ‘Love Letter to Brent’ film. The final film can be watched below. It explores the borough of Brent through the words of its young residents, and reflects on family, friends, culture, and community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The film was produced by pupils at John Keble Primary School, Elsley Primary School, and Ashley College, working with poets Abdullahi Mohammed, Shagufta Iqbal, and Rakaya Fetuga. The project was delivered by The Poetry Society, and supported by 2020 Culture Fund, part of Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture. Thanks to teachers and pupils at all participating schools, and to Joelle Taylor for delivering CPD, Grace Porter for Film Production, Meric Pine for Animation, and Gavin Swift for Music.

If you’re a primary school teacher and would like to explore a similar idea in your own classroom, here are some ways into the topic.

About the poets who delivered the workshops

Abdullahi Mohammed is a Somali poet and host, from North West London. He occasionally hosts Poetry & Shaah with a group of friends. Poetry first started for him at the age of 16 and it wasn’t until the age of 18 he took it to new lengths. His mission is to inspire as many people as he can especially the male generation so they can come forward and express their emotions.

Shagufta Iqbal is the founder of The YoniVerse Poetry Collective and Kiota Bristol. She was longlisted for the Jerwood Compton poetry fellowship, is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, workshop facilitator and Tedx Speaker. Her poetry collection ‘Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam’ (one of Burning Eye Books bestselling collections) has been recommended by Nikesh Shukla as ‘a social political masterclass.’ ​Her poetry film ‘Borders’ has won several awards, and has been screened across international film festivals, including London Short Film Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Athena Film Festival. She sits on the board for Cape Farewell (An  Art Response to Climate Injustice), and is currently writing her second poetry collection and a debut novel.

Rakaya Fetuga is a poet and creative writer from London. She won the Spread the Word Poetry Prize in 2017, the Roundhouse Poetry Slam in 2018 and performed her first poetry play, Unbraided, in June 2019. Rakaya has performed at various London venues including the British Museum, Royal Albert Hall and Trafalgar Square. She has also shared poems across the UK and internationally at several European festivals. Rakaya has worked with schools and youth groups of KS2, year 9, year 10 and Sixth Form to produce poems in response to various themes and stimuli. As well as facilitating workshops in London, Rakaya joined the English Touring Theatre for the Othello Project in Warwick and Newcastle. The students explored Shakespearean themes using poetry. Rakaya also worked with SLAMbassadors to develop writing and performance techniques of Primary School pupils and was a judge for the final Tower Hamlets Junior Slam 2019.