Thanks to an new project funded by Arts Council England, a group of young people from Lambeth are to draw inspiration from their family, friends and local environment before performing poetry and music at a free outdoor festival alongside MOBO-winning UK rapper Akala and R&B singer Ny.

The festival, which marks the 20th anniversary of International Day of Families, will take place at Camden’s Queen’s Crescent Community Association on May 15th between 6.30-8.30pm.

The aspiring young composers will appear after their involvement in an innovative family-themed project entitled “I Am What I Am, Because Of My Fam" led by acclaimed spoken word artists FLOetic Lara and AmeN NoiR and the Brixton-based music and media charity Raw Material.

Centred around workshops at Brixton Library and Raw Material’s SW9 headquarters, the project has aimed to develop the participants’ literacy and performance skills, while using music and poetry to explore the concept of “family” - both among the young people’s relatives and their peer group. From here they have pinpointed experiences that, they believe, have shaped them as individuals.

The results will be used as the basis for original compositions and collaborations that reflect the changing role and perception of family life.

All the young people involved will gain a Bronze Arts Award for their work, a qualification widely recognised by both creative businesses and colleges of further education.

In addition to their performance at the Queen’s Crescent festival, the compositions will also be displayed at Raw Material on May 30th as part of a special live music event.

According to FLOetic Lara, who has performed regularly on BBC and Channel 4, using literature and music has been crucial to exploring the importance of family: “The ‘I Am…’ project provides a safe platform to explore the importance of understanding and achieving goals," she says, "whilst building awareness of the role we each play in our community as creative young people. The sessions have explored how our family, friends and experiences - and even the music we listen - can stimulate an individual’s learning process and we have used texts such as Tupac Shakur’s ‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete’ as a focus point to stimulate discussion and explore emotional literacy.“ Tim Brown CEO of Raw Material added: “We are pleased to be able to offer young people from Raw Material the opportunity to be part of a festival celebrating International Day of Families. We work to support social cohesion and co-operation in our communities and the arts have been central to this work, in particular music and performance.

"Bringing young people together in this way provides a platform for their voice to be heard and sends positive messages to others, and goes towards supporting better understanding between people, their peers, families and in developing creative solutions in their communities.”

“I Am What I Am, Because Of My Fam" is one of eight family-themed events developed and facilitated by London-based arts organisation Small Green Shoots and funded by Arts Council England.

All are encouraging young people not in education or training to gain new experiences and create new works based upon alternative perspectives of family life.

Based on information supplied by Adam Webb.