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Friday
May122017

INTERVIEW WITH NAJI RICHARDS

Spring is in the air!  In our latest newsletter we're shining the spotlight on Naji Richards, one of our veteran delivery staff who has been with us since the very beginning.  Naji has extensive experience in the music industry and has long been involved in music-making activity.  He talks to us about his passions, upcoming projects and experiences.

Interview with Naji Richards

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be involved with Pedestrian.

I became involved with Pedestrian back in 1998 or 1999, soon after it was first established.  Back then Pedestrian was built around delivering DJing and turntableism workshops and experiences, and one of the founders asked me to help with this.  At that time I was doing a lot of DJing myself, both in the country and abroad in Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Spain.  I was also in a Portugese funk band called Blackout and was touring with them from 1998 for a few years.  My first love is producing  Hip Hop music, so at this time I was also busy putting my home studio together.

What has changed about Pedestrian over the years?

I think the biggest change has been the range of activities that we now deliver – when Pedestrian started we were predominantly delivering music and turntableism workshops but over time that scope has broadened to include photography, creative arts, crafts and digital arts.  Of course the technology has changed too: vinyl used on a turntable has for the most part been replaced by digital controllers and DJ software.

What have been the biggest changes in the lives of the people you’ve worked with?

Well for the other Pedestrian staff members the biggest change has been having kids – nothing changes you like that!  As regards the young people I’ve worked with, it’s great to see the success stories: many come to us facing issues and difficulties so it’s good when they overcome those and go on to be successful.  Lots of the young people are proud to have grown up and moved on, and several are still involved in music.  For others they got a lot out of just being in a creative environment and getting support from the tutors.

What’s the most important/effective thing you do as a tutor?

Inspiring the young people is the most and only important thing you can do: encouraging them to see the value in themselves and manifest it, do great things and fulfil their potential.

What do you like most about your role at Pedestrian?

The best part of my role is providing young people with the tools they need to build their own ideas and aspirations.  Showing them how to make things is very rewarding.

What has been your greatest challenge in life so far?

The greatest challenge has probably been raising my children and juggling them around work!  But it is also my proudest achievement.

 What makes you happy?

Music, family, sunshine and good food (not necessarily in that order!)  Music is like medicine for me, and the studio is my sanctuary.  If I’ve had a particularly stressful day I head to my studio and get creative – that always makes me feel better.

What’s the hardest thing for you to do?

I sometimes find it hard to hold my tongue when needed – I have a low tolerance for foolishness!  I tend not to dwell on life’s difficulties though as I believe that nothing is impossible, I prefer to think of ways to make hard things easier to deal with.  Rather than focusing on problems I like to concentrate on finding solutions.

Is there a project you’re working on at the moment that you’re particularly passionate about?

The project I’m most excited about at the moment are some workshops I’m hoping to do in Antigua teaching young people how to make music using technology.  The first ones will take place in the village that my Dad is from; we have lots of family and friends there so it will be pretty special to give something back to the community and share my skills.  There will be some tasters in July, hopefully followed by further workshops at the end of the year and eventually expanding delivery to other regions in the Caribbean.  The Caribbean is saturated with talent and ability, but chronically low on resources and funding.  At the moment I’m looking into funding streams to acquire the equipment and kit needed.

I’m also really enjoying working freelance at the moment: it allows me to do more creative work and have control over my own time.  I’m looking to do some recording work with Leicester MCs, as a lot of talent has emerged over the last two years.  The hip-hop scene is growing and very healthy in Leicester, and I’d like to contribute music to their creative journeys as well as building bridges between old school and new school ways of making music.

Friday
May122017

INTRODUCING INVEST AND INSPIRE

Pedestrian are pleased to introduce our newest programme: Invest and Inspire, which aims to train adult volunteers as well as engage and inspire young people to develop weekly workshops based on needs in their community. 

This project will work in two phases.  In the 'Invest' phase up to 15 volunteer adults will attend a day of training, which will equip them with the skills and knowledge they will need to support the delivery of the second phase of the programme.

The second phase is called 'Inspire', this will involve the volunteers who attended the training supporting the delivery of 3 week-long residencies, which are tailored for 8-15 year olds and aims to encourage the young people to develop thir own weekly workshops which they could deliver in their local communities.

We're recruiting for this programme right now, so if you're an adult interested in volunteering or a young person wanting to get involved, get in touch with us here: invest@pedestrian.info

Wednesday
May102017

Evolve: End of project outcomes and achievements

It’s an emotional time at Pedestrian HQ as we bid adieu to Evolve, a project funded by Youth Music with the aim of improving young people’s technical skills and abilities.  It is a developmental project that encourages and nurtures life-long learning and progression through the power of music making.

The project involved training a group of young people to achieve a Level 3 Education and Training qualification, they then became our Assistant Music Leaders.  These trainees would then help to run intensive music residencies during which time they would be teaching music to a group of young people in challenging circumstances.

Several of the Assistant Music Leader trainees have gone on to become part of the core delivery team at Pedestrian.  The project was delivered in 2 phases allowing time to pause and reflect in between to allow us to improve the programme where appropriate.

Evolve successes

 

We succeeded in training 8 young people to become Assistant Music Leaders allowing them to gain a Level 3 Education & Training qualification whilst supporting a delivery team.

We also succeeded in delivering music residencies to around 34 young people allowing them the opportunity to access high quality music-making activity, creating immediate and lasting impacts for their social development and musical progression.

Aaron Hira, one of our Assistant Music Leaders, gave us his account of his training and how he developed from a Trainee to a Tutor over the course of the programme:

“I began my journey as a music technology professional with no experience in educating young people. Upon applying to become an Assistant Music Leader I had no idea what I was about to embark on, nor did I realise how much I was about to learn."

"On my first day of training I was taken aback by the amount of variables that have to be taken into consideration when educating young people, especially vulnerable or challenging ones. Safeguarding, learning styles, group engagement and assessment styles were all new concepts that were essential to my development as an educator, as well as attributes I had to be familiar with before I even considered interacting with a young person."

"I encountered many young people through Evolve with a range of characteristics that had I not been properly trained, I would have had no idea how to manage. There was a very withdrawn young person who had been involved in a few criminal misdemeanours, a group of young lads from neighbouring villages who had the complete opposite musical taste to me as well as some young inner city girls who had never created music before. A very mixed bag, with unique characteristics that needed adhering to in order to engage them in their tasks. I found it tough to hit the deep end straight away, however, this was an experience that set me up to tackle any delivery and the additional training and 1-2-1 sessions helped me to deliver and support effectively."

"As a programme I thoroughly enjoyed Evolve, the young people were always surprising as you never knew the type of young people that would walk through the door. I also found that having something to work towards is always fulfilling, whether it be an arts award or the learners personal targets. It allowed me to share my skill set in the best way, to learners that really want to learn. Getting to be inventive with my delivery in order to tackle any barriers I may face with the learners personal/unique characteristics is probably the best part."

"As time went on I found my feet, with each Evolve delivery being a success (with all targets and contracted duties fulfilled) and I found myself being offered more and more delivery across Pedestrian’s various initiatives, and eventually becoming a Lead Tutor: setting my own standards, lesson plans and goals instead of facilitating a lead tutor."

"My personal target was to climb the ladder and begin to deliver my own sessions, this has now happened and long may it continue.”  

Tuesday
Apr182017

We're on the move!

Pedestrian are excited to announce that we're on the move! We have outgrown our current premises on Rutland Street and have secured a new address that allows us to bring our education delivery (Workshop) space and Studio office under one roof with improved facilities to support our educational programmes and workshop delivery.

 


We’ll be live at the new site from Monday 24th April, however; if anyone needs to contact us via post please use the new address immediately. If you have any questions regarding the move please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email or telephone.

Fortunately, we’re not moving far - we'll be staying in the city centre and only a few minutes walk away from where we currently are.

Our new address is as follows:

29A Horsefair Street
Leicester
LE1 5BP

We will have to set up new phone lines, and will share our new numbers once they are live from 24th April. Any calls placed to our current workshop number or studio number after that date will be greeted by a recorded message informing you of the new numbers, and we hope to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Now that Easter is over we’d love to welcome you down to visit  our new site, you can book a visit by emailing info@pedestrian.info

Monday
Mar272017

INTRODUCING OUR TALENT MATCH TEAM ASSISTANT!

The Pedestrian team are pleased to welcome Luke Petterson, our Talent Match Team Assistant.  This role will be primarily involved in running our delivery for Talent Match, which is a Big Lottery investment project to help long-term unemployed young people to gain employment across England.  Luke will be assisting Kev (our Talent Match Team Facilitator) to recruit young people to the Talent Match Team Executive Board and then help them to organise and run events in the Leicester and Leicestershire area.

Luke says:

I recently graduated from De Montfort University with a first class degree in music technology. The work I undertook there, as well as the previous work I have done with Pedestrian, inspired me to pursue a path within the music and arts charity sector. This has led me to gain experience doing sound engineering for contemporary South Pacific artists in Fiji, to teaching young people music production in the Midlands.
 
As well as this, I also work alongside a number of artists producing their music and creating musical projects, one of which is due to be released soon. I am currently undertaking a business course, which will allow me to submit a business plan and potentially receive funding to develop my music into an online business.
 
I am very passionate about contributing positively to the local community, and I am positive my time with Pedestrian as the Talent Match Team Assistant will allow me to do this in a meaningful way.