Originally founded in South Africa in 1996, Project Phakama is an arts-based organisation that works to empower young people to tell their stories and find their places in the world. Phakama means stand up, elevate, empower yourself in the Xhosa language. Since its inception, a programme of intense cultural training combined with a series of adventurous public performances has blazed a trail of inspirational endeavour and left a legacy of networks and opportunities in its wake. Now an independent charitable organisation based at Queen Mary University of London, Phakama continues to empower young people, believing that everyone has a story to tell.
Members of Project Phakama's youth forum, along with young creative leaders and researchers from QMUL will be travelling to Paris to engage in an intense two-day exploration of the streets of the northern quarter of the city with people who currently have nowhere else but those streets to call home. This work will build on and extend the map-making workshops carried out by the Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression through the autumn as part of the Lost and Found in Paris project. We will bring our explorations back into the space of the university and work with our experiences towards a series of performance-based interactions.