Creative Mentoring
Abiola Onabule, Albert Potrony, Aislinn Evans, Belinda Zhawi, Dauda Ladejobi, Jimmy Lee, Joe Namy, Marley Starskey Butler, Paul Crook, Yemi Awosile, 2021

Bringing together creative practitioners and young people aged 10-21 for one to one mentoring.

An adult and young person having a conversation whilst sitting at a table
Copyright, 2020, Belinda Zhawi, LBBD and Jimmy Lee

In 2021 New Town Culture launched a new Creative Mentoring programme for young people aged 10-21. Young people are referred to take part through Barking and Dagenham Children's Care and Support, Youth Offending Services and the Virtual School.

Our Creative Mentors are practitioners from various creative fields such as music, design, art, spoken word, fashion. They are commissioned to work one-to-one with a young person over a specific period of time to provide support and guidance tailored to the young person’s specific interests and needs. Our primary intention is not to develop young people’s creative skills but to use creative activities led by creative people to support the development and emotional well-being of young people. The scheme will provide young people with an opportunity to explore their personal interests in creative ways whilst building trust, communication and new positive relationships.

Creative Mentors will use conversation, making activities and collaboration to build a relationship with a young person over a fixed period of time. This is dramatically different to any type of interaction the young person may have experienced in school, home or through social care support. This approach has been inspired by the Virtual School in Derbyshire County Council where creative mentoring has been a core part of thier provision since 2014.

Abiola Onabule

Abiola Onabule is a London-based fashion designer with a master’s degree in womenswear from Central Saint Martins. Her work draws inspiration from her Nigerian cultural heritage and through the stories and lives of women. Celebrating form through silhouette, abstracting, and cutting techniques, her collections incorporate fabrics steeped in the crafts and practices of Nigerian textile culture. She is interested in the process of making as an ‘act of care’ and manifestations of personal, cultural and gendered stories within clothing.

Most recently, for her residency at the Design Museum, Abiola has been researching the craft of adire, the indigo-dyed cloth typically made in southwestern Nigeria by Yoruba women, using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques. 

Albert Potrony

Albert Potrony is an artist with a participatory practice examining ideas of identity, community and language. Albert is interested in generating social spaces through his projects, and participation from diverse groups and individuals is a key element of his work. His most recent exhibition is Equal Play, BALTIC, 2021. Albert has worked on participatory projects for galleries and museums including Tate, Serpentine Galleries, Whitechapel Gallery, South London Gallery, Gasworks, Camden Arts Centre, V&A’s Museum of Childhood and The Foundling Museum, Louisiana Museum, Serralves Foundation and Fundacion PROA.

Aislinn Evans

Aislinn Evans' practice involves film-making, comics, and experimental lo-fi game design. A common thread of enquiry includes explorations of place, class struggle and queering folklore. Aislinn is also a youth worker, using games and writing as a medium for social interaction and development. Recent projects and publications include Chump Change, Live Art Development Agency, 2020; Semaphoria, LBBD Council, 2020; Concrete and Protest Song, SPORAZINE, 2020; The Take Over, The White House and Create London, 2018 and The Sofa Slam, Barbican and Create London, 2018. Aislinn was awarded the Live Art Development Agency’s Future Proofing bursary and was Shortlisted for the LDC First Graphic Novel Prize in 2020. They are a National Poetry Slam champion, 2018.

Belinda Zhawi

Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean born writer and educator currently based in London. Her work explores Afro-diasporic research and narratives, and how art and education can be used as intersectional tools. Belinda also experiments with sound as MA.MOYO, collaborating within the ever growing South East London jazz and beat-making scene. Recent projects include Current Transmissions, ICA, 2020; Art of Now: Mixtape For Zimbabwe, BBC Radio 4, 2020; South X South East, The Showroom, 2019; Our Bodies Speak Poetry, Africa Writes Festival, The British Library, 2019. Zhawi was the 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet, the 2019 Serpentine Galleries’ Schools Artist in Residence, and is co-founder of literary arts platform, BORN:FREE. She is the author of Small Inheritances, ignition press, 2018 and South of South East, Bad Betty Press, 2019.

Dauda Ladejobi

Dauda Ladejobi is a spoken word artist, actor, educator and sound engineer based in London. "I have been involved in the arts from the age of 15, then just a participant in a weekly youth group in which we used drama and music as a vehicle to tackle issues in the local community". Now, Dauda delivers workshops in schools and to different youth groups mainly using poetry. He runs the poetry organisation and monthly poetry night Spoken, Not Stirred. He perfoms as frequently as possible. 

Jimmy Lee

Jimmy Lee is a professional photographer based in East London where he has lived all of his life. "My journey into photography was not through university, college or expensive classes but through misfortune, fate, hard graft and of course a touch of good luck, but I wish it had happened a lot sooner in my life". Jimmy's work is shaped by the people populating the spaces and events he is working in. Lee explains that whether he is "wandering the streets, at an event, a party, festival, family celebration, documenting a place of work or capturing very sensitive contexts such as care homes or funerals, it is all about blending in and trying to become as invisible as possible".

Joe Namy

Joe Namy is an artist, educator, and composer, often working collaboratively and across mediums in sound, performance, photography, text, video, and installation. Joe’s projects often focus on the social constructs of music and organized sound, such as the noise laws and gender dynamics of bass or the colours and tones of militarization. He was a participant in the inaugural Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace independent study program in Beirut, and has independently studied jazz, Arabic, and heavy metal drumming. Recent exhibitions, screenings and performances include Le18 Rooftop Disguised as Dancefloor, 1-54 Forum, 2020; Half Blue, Berlinale Forum Expanded, 2020 and Minneapolis Museum of American Art 2019; Libretto-o-o d'artifice, Royal Northern College of Music, 2020; Automobile Redux, V&A Museum, 2019; 32:The Rescore, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2019 and The Eighth Automobile, Art Night, 2019.

Marley Starskey Butler

Marley Starskey Butler lives and works in Birmingham. He was "raised by Wolverhampton, nurtured by Derby, born in Leeds". His art practice spans video, music, photography, sound and written works. His work focuses on opposites, parallels, memory, love, loss, mortality, and the politics of belonging within self and in society. Marley has a concurrent practice as a social worker. He says this keeps him tied to the lives, stories and experiences of the most vulnerable and complex members of society "whilst being a jigsaw piece in ensuring children in care have the best futures possible.".

Paul Crook

Paul Crook is an artist living and working in London. He works with a diverse range of media including video, animation, and computer screencasting to create works that explore the interrelation of taste, technology and social history. His video work has been screened at Hamburg Short Film Festival, Germany; Kassel Documentary Film Festival Germany; Ruskin Shorts, Modern Art Oxford, UK and ADD2CART, Glasgow, UK. He has also exhibited work at According to McGee, York, UK; Bohunk Institute, Nottingham, UK; INIVA, London, UK; Krabbesholm Højskole, Denmark and La Forge, Paris. Since 2017 Paul has been a resident artist at St Luke’s Community Centre, London. He is also Young People’s Programme Manager at South London Gallery.

Yemi Awosile

Yemi Awosile makes work informed by cultural insights expressed primarily through textiles and printed matter. Her practice bridges design and visual arts through social interventions. Recent projects include collaborations with Tent Rotterdam, Tate Gallery, Contemporary And magazine and the British Council. Her investigation into materials can be seen in the V&A Museum textiles handling collection and she was recently commissioned to produce two permanent public artworks in London due to be completed in 2022. She is an Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London teaching BA Design, Studio Practice.