Aiyesha's blog

Hi everyone,

I’m Aiyesha – a BSc Geography student from King’s College London and current intern at Eastside! Over the last 7 months, I have been fortunate to be part of Eastside with my intern partner Naiyira through the King’s Civic Leadership Academy. Interning at Eastside has been incredibly insightful, allowing me to build my confidence and work on programmes that support young people to develop their creative thinking through participating in the arts.

Since the early stage of our placement, Naiyira and I have focused on I know I wish I will – the 25-hour spoken word poetry marathon bringing hundreds of young performers together to perform spoken word poetry during World Poetry Day 2020. Working closely behind the scenes, from the social media campaigns to the organisation of the event, I have been able to work collaboratively and develop my creative thinking skills. With a focus on the 18-25 year old demographic for entry submissions into the competition, we were also able to:
Create an exclusive I know I wish I will Ambassador programme to promote the importance of spoken word poetry and the wider competition.
Run a spoken word workshop with the Creative Society at King’s, where university students were able to create spoken word pieces regarding issues such as mental health and inequality.
Hold our very first spoken word open mic night ‘Flying Verse’ where 18-25 year olds were able to share their story and make their voice heard.

Being able to witness the thousands of poems globally entering into the competition has been a huge achievement, with many submitting from our Flying Verse open mic night. Despite the challenges,and the unfortunate last minute cancellation of the live poetry marathon event due to Coronavirus measures, watching the I know I wish I will Digital Stage and receiving recognition from celebrities like Stephen Fry and Jeremy Corbyn emphasised the power of spoken word and bringing together our community.

Further, I have been able to work on and help facilitate the other amazing programmes that Eastside run. Some highlights at Eastside have been:
Celebrating Eastside’s 25th anniversary – despite only being an intern for a few weeks, I got to experience the celebration of Eastside’s achievements over the last 25 years and hear about upcoming programmes. Not only was I able to meet previous participants from various Eastside programmes but also see the impact Eastside has had on young people.
Disney Musicals in Schools – at the Lyceum Theatre, I was able to support Eastside’s annual Disney Musicals in Schools showcase event. Seeing 4 primary schools perform songs from the Lion King, Aladdin and the Jungle Book with their costumes was incredible to watch, as the majority of children have never performed on such a large stage before.
Meeting incredible young people – I have been able to work with people from various backgrounds, from primary school children to university students. The talent Eastside brings out and nurtures in these young people is truly inspiring, supporting the next generation to make a huge, positive difference.

Eastside has provided me invaluable skills, courage and the tools to strategically design, implement and evaluate a programme within an arts organisation. A huge factor in this is the thriving environment, strong community and supportive staff at Eastside. As my internship finishes in April 2020, I’m going to miss the weekly meetings, working at my designated desk space and the incredible people. I strongly encourage anyone to take part with Eastside no matter the level of your creative background as you are the next problem-solvers of today!