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Long Walk to Freedom

on Mon 13 Jan 2014


As far back as I can remember South Africa has been a feature of my life. I first learnt about the injustices of the Apartheid regime by my passionate primary school teacher when I was just 7.

I was in my late teens when Nelson Mandela was released from prison – around the same time when the wall came down in my home country Germany.

I lived for one year in South Africa in the early 1990s just before the first democratic elections made Nelson Mandela the first black president, during a time when everything was in change.

I'm still mourning last month's death of Nelson Mandela and the loss of

Let's Talk About Mental Health

on Thu 23 May 2013


On 20 May deep:black supported an event to raise awareness of mental health in the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) communities especially for people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. The focus was on tackling the stigma that often stops people speaking out or asking for support.

Let's Talk About Mental Health was delivered in partnership by the mental health charity Time to Change and the mentoring organisation A Band of Brothers and my role was to support the group discussions as a facilitator.

Conflict Education

on Fri 29 Mar 2013

The following article was written and included in issue of Peace News by Val Archer whilst she was working as a teacher in a small, alternative school. Since the article was published the school has closed down due to issues around governance. However, when deep:black asked Val for permission to republish it here she agreed feeling that the circumstances around the school's closure did not take away from the essence of the article.



Does mainstream education steal conflict from children?

By Val Archer


As I pondered how to write this article – about the way conflict is approached at the

on ubuntu, arts and kindness...

on Sun 10 Feb 2013

What I'm trying to do here is a little ambitious: to explain what an article on arts & kindness, an exhibition at Iniva, 'The Artist's Way' and the 20th anniversary of my year of living in South Africa have in common. And to do it brief of course, ideally to fit on 1 page. I'm already slightly overwhelmed by this and don't know how to start...


When I don't know how to start writing I usually try and find a 'hook' as in a quote or a picture. So here's my quote by Leonard Bernstein the late and great American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist to whom music has always

nurturing resilience

on Thu 20 Dec 2012

Here's our comment on Nina Mguni's article The Resilience Illusion:

I'm looking forward to reading Rowing against the tide in full length because 'community resilience' is such an important topic to critically look into at times of ongoing Government savings. As a community facilitator and mediator I believe that community resilience is a) always there, somewhere, somehow, and even just as a possibility; and b) is an ongoing process that needs nurturing and as the authors say the right ingredients.

I agree with the above that 'passionate individuals' are such a key ingredient – I know from my

a source of inspiration

on Fri 19 Oct 2012

When it was announced last week that this year's Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the European Union I was a little disappointed: much as I'm very Europhil and very supportive of building and strengthening relationships across Europe and especially across often quite random borders – the EU to me is a very abstract, anonymous and massive building with endless corridors that produces laws & policies and has a canteen where real people meet over a cuppa to disagree.

Somehow I felt a little betrayed by not having such a real person awarded the prize – someone inspiring who I can look at or up to and take inspiration

a week of peace?

on Sun 23 Sep 2012

photo & art work by East London artist Lanre Oluwole, Peace Week 2009

16-23 September saw London celebrate the yearly Week of Peace. It was launched in Haringey 11 years ago in response to concerns around community safety with the idea to inspire Londoners to make a positive change in their communities. And by 2006 it had inspired all 32 London boroughs to come on board and launch their own celebrations which included performances, talks, get-togethers, prayers, school events and marches.

Yet Peace Week is much bigger than even that, it’s part of a global movement towards a culture of peace:


on Sun 2 Sep 2012

deep:black has been obsessed with crows recently: we’ve developed a project called CROW based on Rafik Shami‘s children’s book ‘The Crow Who Stood On His Beak‘ which is all about celebrating people’s talents and exploring difference within community.

The main character of the story is the little crow who in a quite refreshingly unpredictable manner is a very funny and creative bird with some special talents, and who ends up competing with the peacock who quite frustratingly predictably is this rather unpleasant, self-obsessed & vain shallow fellow.

breathing space

on Sat 11 Aug 2012

So, deep:black has been on a retreat. On a creative retreat. It did occur to us that ‘retreat’ is what an army does before getting ready to strike again, a time to recollect, reconnect and re-form. Well, in some ways doing business in the current financial climate is a bit like entering a battlefield, and our retreat was very much about gathering and reconnecting.

But we also thought of the ‘treat’ in the word and looked for a place that would feel like a treat. We ended up in ‘Breathing Space’, a small retreat house close to the Norfolk coast somewhere between Happisburgh and Sea Palling.


on Mon 23 Jul 2012

'It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in the unknown, the unfamiliar. Scientists transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea’ Rebecca Solnit