Nikky Norton-Shafa is a Manchester based artist and poet. She has been a core member of AfroFutures_UK since its conception and has run individual workshops, written and performed poetry specially for our gatherings and organised events.
I ran an interactive storytelling workshop at the Future|Journeys event, creating a bespoke story especially for the day. After the story was told directions were given to participants to encourage role play based conversation and activities. Here’s a snippet of the story…
“Welcome. My name is Goyah.
I have come from the space time UX. Planet: Ennead.
Here the shade of your skin changes with the temperature of the emotion that the chakras emit. We have fun with ‘race’ on our planet, but each to their own.
My planet Ennead, the world with nine elements, nine senses and nine Gods is entangled in another Great War. I have had triplets and all but one of them have been killed.
Our atmosphere is made up dream molecules, meaning it’s an amazingly lucid lifestyle, but highly sensitive to the thought waves of other species – in particular humans. You guys have no idea what geniuses you are! On the league table for imaginative capacity – you are on top. You imagine but you don’t, you don’t…
Look. Your dreams are dangerous. Take them seriously. I have come to tell you…”
TRAUMATIC HISTORY RETOLD
History is still alive, waiting to be discovered and re-written. How can we take responsibility for archiving our current histories?
I had a short but potent conversation with Levi Tafari who talked about his project ‘Black Poppies’. I was completely fascinated that an archive of documents was discovered hidden away in a drawer within Liverpool Town Hall. Within the documents were stories of black soldiers and workers who had fought in the Great War. Levi spoke with passion about commemorating these soldiers and I was left full of questions of why they were hidden away and how they were discovered.
ONE ON ONE
You don’t need everyone to go on the journey with you.
I had one willing attendee at my storytelling workshop – which proved to be very fruitful. Although I had designed the activity for 15 people, I had to change the format and instead took my participant on a walk. I told the story of a character, Goya, returning to Earth to talk of the perils of her planet and ask the participant for help. It was a very nourishing workshop. As a facilitator, I felt I was in a privileged position, working and walking, discussing and humorously interrogating what the future could look like and if we needed to ponder it at all. We got lost. We figured it out. Me and my new Hungarian friend discovered similarities in conflict as well as a love for oral storytelling that may lead to future endeavours.
MY FUTURE IS NOW
During the workshop we created a Vision Of The Future Declaration. Which included dreams such as ‘Empathy is a shared value’ and ‘There’s room for everyone to express their individuality’. Now, before you start vomiting and making Pollyanna protests(!) it wasn’t necessarily a description of an unachievable heaven but a guide for our future worlds Sat Nav. The exercise made me conclude that anything I want to feel in the future I have access to right now and that the past, in my opinion, ceases to be relevant.