In an exciting collaboration between Elliott Hudson College and the prestigious British Library, a group of students has spearheaded an innovative project culminating in the creation of an animated film titled “Myths & Legends: A South Leeds Odyssey.” This project marked the British Library’s first co-creation venture with students from Elliott Hudson College, aiming to authentically represent the vibrant youth voice of South Leeds.
The collaboration project has been running since February as part of the students’ enrichment programme, and has included trips to London, local libraries, and museums as well as print-making workshops. The students then decided to bring together everything they had been discussing and conceptualising into a new animated film celebrating the diverse cultural tapestry of South Leeds.
Two recent graduates from the Northern Film School were chosen to bring the envisioned tale to life, drawing inspiration from Anansi, the revered Ghanaian/Caribbean folklore spider trickster. Renowned Leeds poet Khadijah Ibrahiim contributed by crafting a new narrative for the animated film.
Flora Young, Elliott Hudson College Student, said:
“It was an amazing opportunity that formed friendships between us. It was completely student-led with only small suggestions made by Jodie which gave a sense of accomplishment but also project management and problem solving. The premiere helped us to see our efforts on a big screen and realise the size of our project.”
The much-anticipated premiere of “Myths & Legends: A South Leeds Odyssey” took place on 10 October 2023 at the School of Art in Leeds Beckett University. The premiere event was a glamorous affair, resembling a red-carpet spectacle, providing the students with an unforgettable experience amid the glitz and glamor. The venue sparkled with the creative energy and talent exhibited by the students and collaborators.
The students showcased their enthusiasm and dedication by promoting the premiere on Chapel FM, a local radio station, discussing the intricacies and significance of their collaborative journey on air.
Sam Ashik, Elliott Hudson College Student, said:
“The biggest lesson I learnt was probably on the many different aspects, views and opinions on culture and heritage as a whole. While some people seemed to care less about ethnic culture, they were a lot more interested in the culture of the area they lived in. The many different interpretations of the same story (Anansi), was also a valuable insight to me, as while as a whole in most cultures, trickery was frowned upon, certain instances of it were praised and revered. Sometimes, like with Anansi, there was a blurry line between the two, with some of the spider’s actions causing chaos, and others causing confusion or playful mischief which helped the wider society.”
Following the resounding success of the premiere, the co-created animated film is about to embark on a tour across Leeds libraries in early 2024, reaching out to wider audiences and further celebrating the rich heritage and stories of South Leeds.
Jodie Russi-Red, British Library Co-ordinator of the project said:
“The British Library/Elliott Hudson co-creation group has gone on such a journey this year. We had no idea what this group would end up operating like or coming up with when we started in Spring, and it was such an amazing moment for me and the rest of my colleagues to step back and see what the group has shaped. It’s proved to us what a massive difference it makes to have local young people steering a project.”
“This landmark collaboration not only underscores the British Library’s innovative approach to engaging young minds but also highlights the students’ remarkable creativity and commitment in authentically portraying the cultural essence of their community through the mesmerizing medium of animation.”
This post was written by Kim Silverstone
Photo credit: Jodie Russi-Red
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