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Afro Kickz empowers young people in Slough through creative trainer customisation workshop

Date Created: 14th Aug 2023

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Earlier this month, on 2nd August, young people in Slough had the opportunity to attend a trainer customisation workshop, facilitated by Aida Kiraya, the founder of Afro Kickz 

Ruth, our Creative Producer for Slough, initiated a conversation with Rob, the director of Together As One to cultivate a creative workshop where young people would feel inspired and comfortable to share their thoughts and views on where they live. The young people on Together As One’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme – Global Grub, were lucky enough to work with Aida on this project, getting creative, making new friends, and talking about their hopes for the future of Slough. 

Photography in collaboration with Together As One

When bringing this project to life, Rob, the director of Together As One said, “This is precisely the kind of artist we don’t get but definitely need in Slough! She would blow their minds!”. This was part of Artswork’s Young Cultural Changemakers programme aiming to connect groups of young people with artists to explore and express ideas that can make a positive impact on their communities.

Aida Kiraya led a workshop that focused on customising trainers, drawing inspiration from their the young participants surroundings and environment. Her Afro Kickz journey began in 2018 when she embarked on a mission to create sneakers that bridged traditional African imagery with contemporary Black culture taking her to remarkable heights – from coaching Arsenal football players in sneaker customisation to collaborating with major brands like Adidas and creating an exclusive Capsule Collection for Foot Locker. 

Aida’s vision is to educate, inspire, and nurture creativity that resonates with underrepresented communities across the globe. Her story resonated deeply with the young people who attended the workshop. Working with the youth of Slough, she found a connection with their experiences. “Having attended a university nearby, I’ve visited this area on numerous occasions. Its familiarity reminds me of my own upbringing, and I’m genuinely excited to engage with the youth here,” shared Aida. She believes that the art she creates speaks a universal language that also resonates with the young people of Slough. 

Photography in collaboration with Together As One

For Artswork, the idea of customising trainers in relation to gaining insight from young people on local spaces and places was important as this is something young people can really get on board with. This was not just a creative workshop; it provided a platform for young people to be heard. We gained insight that the young people in Slough are concerned about the public perception of Slough, and how little respect the town gets from residents and visitors. They are eager to improve it, for their own sense of pride in their spaces, and for the wider perception of where they live. This partnership between Afro Kickz and young people was a call for change, highlighting how strong and determined these young cultural changemakers are.  

Photography in collaboration with Together As One

These insights will go on to guide our youth-led creative commissions, where the young people of Slough will take charge of a creative project that they are passionate about. Our Young Cultural Changemakers programme is all about putting the creative power directly in the hands of young people.  

This project was supported using public funding by Arts Council England 


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