New Town Voices
Belinda Zhawi, 2020

Writer and educator Belinda Zhawi explores spoken word, poetry and self-publishing with care experienced young women.

Copyright, 2020, Belinda Zhawi, LBBD and Jimym Lee

For New Town Voices, writer and poet Belinda Zhawi collaborated with a group of young people from across social care services in Barking and Dagenham. The sessions explored the power of spoken word using a range of creative and collaborative techniques including protest, cut-out, black-out and audio poetry, to reflect on personal experiences of the year and imagine alternative futures.

New Town Voices created a safe space for young people to collectively explore dynamics and structures of power, oppression, injustice and isolation; providing a platform to be subversive and reflective about society. The workshops supported the development of a set of tools for young people, helping to mobilize their voices, words and stories for personal and collective empowerment.

New Town Voices will continue throughout 2021 and culminate in a series of co-produced broadcasts accompanied by a printed zine and resource toolkit to support social care professionals.

"I felt nervous at first because I was nervous about how things would become. I feel happy and joyful now, because I feel more confident than before." (Participant)
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.