MHHA Creative & Cultural Education
Unity Radio launches Manchester Hip Hip Archive’s, ‘Creative and Cultural Education’ offer this spring with MCRActive & Arts Council England as part of Manchester’s Holiday Activity Programme.
Working with a group of talented emerging young creatives aged 11-16, supported by MCRActive, MCC, & Arts Council England, the team delivered an innovative and creative Hip Hop Arts, Fashion, and Music Easter workshop programme – exploring locations to gather inspiration and produce works across the city including, Manchester Central Reference Library, Ancoats industrial backstreets, and back at Unity HQ, MediaCityUK.
The programme kicked off at MHHA’s new spiritual home; the city’s records vaults, where Manchester’s 40 year old Hip Hop history is housed to be surfaced, alongside the city’s births and deaths registers. Manchester Hip Hop given its rightful place and recognition as the influential youth movement that has captured and inspired generations of our multi-cultural creative residents and created a community which has made significant impact across the planet.
Young people worked with fashion and graffiti pioneers Chris Hamer ( Sheep Store) Kemi Gbadebo, Alison Carlin ( Manchester Fashion Movement), Benji Blunt Shank, Graffiti artists Nope and Skode alongside emerging Manchester DJ star, DJ Basha, to respond to a creative brief provided to help the group find their creative strengths and talents and work together to produce a ‘Fresh Skillz’ branded outfit for world class breakdancers to wear and produce video content at Street Heat 2, Manchesters FREE Hip Hop and Street Culture Festival, taking place on April 29 & 30th at Old Naval Yard, Ancoats, M4 6BA.
The project began by surfacing key objects from the archive, either belonging to or loaned into the collections. These provided an important opportunity to create meaningful discussion and conversations, delving deep into the significance, history, popularity, impact, and influence that objects and items had on teenagers, and the lasting legacy, visible today.
The items encouraged participants to test and explore, and overcome confidence barriers, using traditional Hip Hop methods and DIY customs, to create their own works. Works being showcased include the design and hand brush styling of a Fresh Skillz crew neck sweater. Inspiration taken from exploring the archive’s hoodies, and close inspection of Chris Cousers’ early 2000 ‘Tuff Tim Twist – hand painted Adidas jacket. Providing authentic BBoy source materials for young creatives to see the raw nature of homemade. Working with sustainable Northern based Hip Hop fashion designer, Kemi ‘Gbadebo’, the group deconstructed sweats to professionally segment panels for painting before re-stitch. The group then worked to explore the possibilities of up cycling and customising pre-loved with Manchester Fashion Movement, and experimented with a range of donated clothing.
Other incredible works created by the young group across the month include brilliant bright creations made with incredible sneaker restorer and customiser, Benji Bluntshank.
Looking at the iconic Hip Hop Adidas Shell Toe, with its continual presence in fashion, participants were given opportunity to add their own twist.
The Shell Toe, originally launched in 69, was popular in the early 1980’s, being championed in 1986 by seminal Hip Hop duo Run DMC. With their release ‘My Adidas’ marking one of Hip Hop’s earliest fusion’s with apparel brands, sending shockwaves across the planet to explode global sales and demonstrate the influence of Hip Hop on consumers. This spring, the archive benefitted from a kind donation of an original pair of French 82’s, by Adidas sneaker collector / restorer, Dave Lurky, which now means that these original shoes will be available for future scholars and researchers.
Working with Benji young people ‘exploded’ newly purchases superstars, removing stitching, dip dyed, custom branded with transfer and then re-stitched to create funky fresh and new versions of the timeless classic.
Working out in the Ancoats community, during the days and based between Hip Hop Chipshop and Mustard Tree, participants practiced Breaking ahead of the Fresh Skillz jam, produced personal graffiti design and painted out on hoardings on visible main routes and, selected and practiced DJ sets. Working together, the group have designed some very special crew activity, that will be delivered live morning of Sat 29th, as they join in Manchester’s Hip Hop community 50th year celebrations!! Special mention to all involved – we look forward to seeing you get creative at Street Heat 2!!
Unity Radio & Manchester Hip Hop Archive Creative & Cultural Education workshops will be returning for Summer 23. For more info, and for opportunity to attend, make sure your young people sign up to MCRActive.com.