BREATHE Academy is a youth project for 12 – 25 year olds, empowering marginalised young people from across the UK to harness creativity. It is launched in partnership with suicide helpline CALM by international beatboxing star and CALM ambassador SK Shlomo. Utilising a range of artforms, BREATHE Academy empowers young people to address essential topics such as mental health, disability, identity, diversity, and self-expression.
All workshop participants will be invited to sign up to the next stage of BREATHE ACADEMY happening on Saturday 16 March 2024 at Komedia in Brighton, followed by the chance to perform alongside SK Shlomo during their performance of BREATHE on Saturday 20 April 2024 at Brighton Dome including rehearsals on Friday 19 April.
BREATHE Academy exists to enhance well-being by empowering young people aged 12-25. Developing a strong sense of identity during teenage years is known to reduce the risk of suicide later in life, especially for minority groups. The workshops are a welcoming platform for young people to explore and embrace:
…this is a place where you can explore and create.
The workshop begins with a welcome and a performance by SK Shlomo, showcasing excerpts from their solo theatre piece “BREATHE”. The show uses beatboxing, live looping and interactive storytelling to address themes like mental health, anti-racism, disability, and queerness. This introductory moment serves to: demonstrate the power of sharing vulnerability through creativity establish that BREATHE Academy provides the inclusive, safe and open space to do so, and encourage the participants to think about which themes and art forms to explore next.
The workshop then moves into a series of fun exercises that gently prompt discussions on identity, starting with light-hearted games like co-creating a playlist and listening to favourite songs, aiming to lower inhibitions, and build connections and trust within the group.
As the workshop deepens, participants are encouraged to explore their identity in more depth, which can lead to meaningful discussions about relationships, race, gender, sexuality, family issues, and more. We are very careful with our language: every interaction of the workshop is described as an ‘invitation’ rather than an ‘expectation’, ensuring that participants have expressed consent and agency as to whether they contribute, feel safe and comfortable, whilst ensuring that any access needs are met.
We then shift gears into creation mode. SK Shlomo sets the young people a time-limited creative challenge: how can we turn these shared stories, ideas and experiences into artistic creations? Participants collaboratively decide on the art forms they want to pursue, such as beatboxing, dancing, songwriting, music technology, rapping, drama, film, visual arts or another creative avenue. Again, as the sessions are co-created, the possibilities are open-ended rather than predetermined.
Workshops conclude with a sharing session.
We prioritise the safety and inclusion of every participant. Our detailed safeguarding policy ensures a secure environment. We also work to accommodate diverse needs and access requirements. Safeguarding policies, DBS information and risk assessments will be shared prior to workshop delivery.