The 3rd UKHipHopEd Seminar went off on March 9th at Gayhurst Primary School in London Fields, Hackney. Although this monolithic Victorian primary school lacked some of the kudos of the previous 2 seminar's I.O.E. residencies, it brought the movement back to the streets that raised it. This fortuitous relocation literally took UKHipHopEd back to the old school. The choice of location was no accident however, as it is the school where long-time UKHipHopEd practitioner, Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom) delivers hip-hop education to the local youts on a daily basis. It is where he organises and leads 'Power To The Pupils'; a highly successful hip-hop orientated project working with students creatively, to explore issues of identity, personal responsibility; social justice and chicken and chips! Darren is the driving force behind the UkHipHopEd movement and his passion and commitment are evident in the work he does at Gayhurst.
Being back in a primary school, led me to think back on my own time as a primary teacher, working in a special needs school in north west London. It was during this time, having completed my teacher training, that I first started to think about hip hop in an educational context. In 2006 I was encouraged to participate in a teacher/artist professional development and action research project run by L.I.F.T. and called TAPP. In this highly academic environment I was able to explore my identity and beliefs as a practitioner, as well as learning much about pedagogical approaches and theories that bolstered my belief in the validity of hiphop as not only an educational tool, but as a transferable framework for shaping and informing an entire approach to teaching and learning. The Hip Hop Stance is an essay I wrote while facilitating on TAPP in the following year. It explores my personal history with hip-hop and education and begins to define some of the key aspects of my practice at that time; much of which still informs my current practice.
Inspired by a culture I had stumbled across as a kid in Wembley, I unknowingly started along a journey of self-managed continuous professional development (cpd) that would eventually lead (after 7 years) to a parquet-floored hall (on a Saturday morning) in East London, to discuss the finer points of hip-hop pedagogy with leading hip-hop academic, Dr. Patrick Turner; legendary British rappers TY and Reveal and an assembled crew of teachers, workshop leaders, music producers, DJs, MCs, educators, environmentalists and the very nice lady from rapgenius.com.
When KRSONE said that, rap is something you do; hip-hop is something you live, even he couldn't have imagined that 20 years later, events like this one would be further pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and exploring the culture's potential for enriching the lives of a whole new school of hip-hop kids.
(Link now works!!)