Afro reggae, 2011

From Favela to Salisbury

2012 saw the culmination of a three-year project between the Festival and AfroReggae, produced in collaboration with People's Palace Projects. In that time AfroReggae lit up our region not only with their inspiring mix of music and dance (combining samba, reggae, hip-hop and funk), but also with and most crucially with their commitment to changing the lives of marginalised young people.

Founded in 1993, Grupo Cultural AfroReggae was set up to transform the reality of young people in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas using education, art and culture to support and develop social inclusion. Strengthening self-esteem and building citizenship, AfroReggae has changed the lives of thousands of young people to challenge the violence, drug trafficking and under-employment that is prevalent in favela communities

Across our three-year collaboration,we’ve brought AfroReggae to Wiltshire and our region, becoming part of a UK AfroReggae network which includes programmes in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle-Gateshead.

The programme has featured: artistic collaborations by AfroReggae with top UK breaking company Bad Taste Cru and with Wessex Boys (a young men's dance group from Wessex Dance Academy in Winchester); a programme of CPD and training for music and dance leaders from Wiltshire, Bath, Bristol and Hampshire; workshops with Casa de Samba, Salisbury's community samba band (who performed at the 2010 AfroReggae takeover weekend at London’s South Bank Centre); an AfroReggae takeover day at Partridge Way, Salisbury, in 2011; a two-year programme with the Wiltshire Virtual School for children in care; opportunities for young peer mentors from Wiltshire Youth Arts Partnership; and in 2012, a programme which enabled 30 excluded and marginalised young people to work with AfroReggae, plus a celebratory project involving 700 children and adults as part of Hampshire Welcomes the World.

This project was made possible through support from: People's Palace Projects, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (2010 and 2011), Hampshire County Council (2012), Wiltshire Council, the Community Foundation for Swindon & Wiltshire, Wiltshire Police Authority, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (2011 and 2012).

We also thank all our project partners who have worked with us to bring an inspirational international cultural organisation to our region.

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