Following the success of Afro 1, Railroad7, a leadership network project, came back for its second and final instalment with an event at the RSA. The event saw six artists showcase ideas after an eight month developmental process and brought together creative entrepreneurs across an array of disciplines for an evening of music art and other visual forms. Shakers Kavi, Nuha & Selina volunteered at the event and Eric, Shake facilitator and one of the showcasing artists, interviewed the Shakers to find out their impressions of the night…

1- How did you hear about the event?
Kavi: I was asked to help as a volunteer and assist with some filming by a fellow shaker.
Nuha: I initially heard about R7 from Simon and volunteered at AFRO 1 Event @ the BFI, it was a very exciting event, it discussed the personal journeys of the creative entrepreneurs of whom our own Eric was part. I stayed in touch with R7’s work, and producer Nkechi got in touch with me about volunteering at AFRO 2 n Yea I was up for it!
Selina: I heard of this event through SHAKE! and knew of both Gaylene and Eric’s involvement. I heard about the volunteering opportunity through fellow Shaker, Nuha.

2- What was happening at AFRO TOO?
Kavi: It brought together a mixture of talented artists, designers, dj’s ,photographers and filmmakers showcasing their work through music art and other visual forms. They had their own area where people were free to walk around experiencing their work and asking them questions.
Nuha: It was the climax of works that was on exhibit at the RSA. From paintings, live art, sculptures, cinema, fashion n music all at its best.
Selina: Well it was an event to showcase the work of 6 artists as well as an opportunity for many other artists to network and share their own experiences.

3- What was your highlight moment?
Kavi: For me the whole night was an inspiration, I loved looking at the art section, listening to a silent disco which I have never experienced and talking to creative people that share my interests.
Nuha: Working with film materials either with the camera on action with Sonia the filmmaker to the exhibition set up of the exquisite cinematic archive of June Givanni.
Selina: Seeing such a diverse set of artists all under one roof, doing the kind of authentic and artistic work that school never told me was possible.

4- Any low points?
Kavi: None.
Nuha: Wearing my heels from 2pm to 11pm! my walk home was very interesting…
Selina:  Wish I had more time to network- everyone seemed so interesting!

5- So you are a Shaker! What does activism and campaigning got to do with the AFRO TOO event?
Kavi: I believe activism and campaigning is important, this event showcased different styles of creative work that is both inspiring and interesting, which can be used to promote positive messages, so to reach people you must create something that comes from your soul, that is true and creative and that relates to your target audience. I also think that the way the event was organised and run can be an example of how you can work as a team to bring together talented people to showcase amazing work. This could be used as a template for future Shake events.
Nuha: The project started from an idea by Underground Railroad Founder Gaylene Gould that has been turned into reality. I was very inspired by its elements: Idea, Action, Collaboration and sharing with the public it was very resourceful and creative.
Selina:  I can’t believe I’m actually going to quote myself (!) but in a poem I wrote that, ‘power comes in numbers’. Having a network of people with about similar passions that you can connect and engage with is the very foundation of successful campaigning and activism. Railroad 7 is a great tool to enable this.
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