Coventry through my eyes

A few years ago, a boy in my class told me that if I was with a predominantly white group of people, I wouldn’t really fit in, and if I was with a predominantly black group of people I wouldn’t fit in there either, because I was mixed race. I “didn’t have anyone else like me” he told me so I “wouldn’t have anyone to relate to or be friends with”. He said that I didn’t really fit in anywhere, so when I told my mum about this event which had hurt me, she told me that because I was mixed race, I could go wherever I wanted and I would be accepted because I was a little bit of everything. These words I treasure and value so much. It also made me realise, however, that it didn’t matter if I wasn’t like anyone else, I could still have friends and be myself. I feel like I belong in Coventry, because of its incredible melting pot of different cultures and races. Coventry is extremely multicultural with increasing variety of foods, restaurants, shops, art exhibitions etc. Everywhere you go there is something new and different to enjoy and experience.

The Belgrade Theatre is like a second home to me (and I’m sure it is to many other people). The amazing range of productions, shows and festivals they hold, create and develop are unique and can pull audiences from different age groups, different backgrounds and different cultures. One of the most inspirational programs the Belgrade runs is the Theatre in Education program. This program was set up to help children and young adults learn in a supportive and encouraging environment using theatre and drama. Branching off the Theatre in Education, youth theatre groups were set up e.g. Black youth theatre, Asian youth theatre, Middle youth theatre, Senior youth theatre, Canley youth theatre and many more. The youth groups were targeted at specific races/cultures of people because of the lack of diversity in most theatre groups. They were created to encourage different races to get involved with the arts not just for acting, directing or play writing purposes, but for developing skills in public speaking, self control, self confidence, team working skills, acceptance of others and acceptance of our selves. I am a member of the black youth theatre where we devise our own plays, write our own songs, act and sing. I gained most of my confidence in Black youth theatre and I met two hugely important people to me there. I always look forward to going and love the atmosphere of the group. We all get on really well and can push through disagreements and dissatisfaction when they come our way.

The Herbert Gallery has also been good for me growing up as it holds so many different styles of art work – from a few of Degas’ sculptures to the art history of Godiva.  I’m interested in art, and it’s shows me that different styles of art can give different meanings.   It’s not all about portraits of kings and queens.

There are also good opportunities for people interested in making music. The Tin is an organisation which boosts the confidence of young upcoming musicians, encouraging them to get themselves out into the world. It provides mini concerts for young people to sing and play their own original music or to perform covers of well known contemporary songs. The Tin also links up with other organisations and individuals, including recording studios and local musicians, to help give practical advice and support on the mechanics of music-making. I attended one of the mini concerts called Open Mic and was inspired by the talent of people a similar age to me. Two of my friends from Black youth theatre (called Izeidi & Izeidi) where playing and the music was so beautiful and well crafted. As a result of this concert, I’ve begun to compose some of my own music.

As well as the arts, Coventry offers quite a few Design Technology and scientific resources. A few weeks ago I joined a place called the Fab Lab which was made for the purpose of supporting local people to design and create anything! I joined because I had an idea for a lamp design for a school project. However, my school could not provide all of the resources I needed so I had to find somewhere else to help me. The staff there are kind and easygoing, and they made the whole process a lot easier and quicker. They knew what they were doing with the various parts of equipment (e.g. Laser cutter, silicon moulding etc.) and were extremely helpful. I was in awe by the fact that they were so welcoming.

Coventry had set up such a place for people to just come in for guidance and help on building and designing anything.  They were also able to make contact with another creative organisation, called Mandala, who gave me additional advice on my design, and ways to modify it to my liking.  The experience was amazing and very educational.

Knowing that I am a part of Coventry makes me feel proud and I’m sure many other young people would say so too. The culture, the creativity, the curiosity, the development of Coventry is overwhelming and I’m sure Coventry will grow into an even more thriving city.