Creatively Minded, Ethically Diverse
February 2023 - February 2024

Amanda Holiday

Amanda Holiday is an artist / poet, she studied Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon School of Art in the UK and exhibited her large-scale drawings nationally before moving into film; writing and directing several short experimental dramas and documentaries. Her first collection of poetry ‘The Art Poems’ was published as part of New Generation African Poets by Akashic Books (US) in 2018. Holiday is currently a Techne /AHRC funded doctoral student in Poetry, Race and Art at the University of Brighton.

Amanda led a month-long poetry and art-making project with children aged 4-16 in Netherfield Meeting Place in Farmborough as part of the African Diaspora Foundation’s summer programme in collaboration with The Wisdom Principle. Amanda devised sessions involving poetry reading and discussion and artmaking.

︎ The whole group read the Langston Hughes poem ‘Harlem’ and from this discussed what happens when things do not turn out as you wish, when dreams are frustrated and what you can do about it. In other sessions, younger children read the James Berry poem ‘Isn’t my name Magical’ leading to a discussion on names, origins and family. They then made artwork that incorporated name tags and moveable cardboard puppets. Older children made a staggered communal recording of ‘Piotr Sommer’s poem’ Continued’ and discussed change and what their chorus of voices made them think about. They also read the Rita Dove poem ‘Dawn Revisited’ and did an erasure exercise using this. This group then worked on making their own zines from newspapers and magazines.

Amanda’s project used poetry, spoken word and art as a tool to enable the young people to talk openly about things they hadn’t explored before such as racism and bullying they had experienced. The group leaders and young people themselves reported back that the sessions had been enjoyable and made them feel more confident and creative. They were also reassured through taking part in the project that they aren’t the only ones experiencing some of the bad feelings they sometimes had.

These programmes are organised by Arts for Health Milton Keynes in partnership with Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture (MKIAC) and the Milton Keynes Arts and Heritage Alliance (AHA-MK).
The project is supported by the Baring Foundation.


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Arts for Health Milton Keynes is the working name of MK Arts for Health charity number 1107625  company number 05137693