Thoughts from the Team

A Poem for our Times

‘I wrote this poem some time ago and filed it away. Maybe as a result of where the world is going right now, it has suddenly come back into my mind. I thought I would share it with you.’ - Ben




Freely rolling from the mouth.

Words that can create good or bad, despite meaning.

They can be learned. They can be spoken and written.

When spoken and written, thoughts are provoked,

People are educated, misinformed, torn down,

Encouraged, shamed and left feeling small.




‘I’m not a racist but if he comes near my kid,

I’ll bloody well put my foot down. God didn’t

Plan it like that. Can you think of it, him in

Bed next to my child? What will their kids look like and

What will their chances with other kids be? No, I’m not

A racist… each one with their own, that’s what I say!’




Words that educate…‘to lead away from’

(that’s the dictionary definition)






‘Our father in heaven…’


Is that about the practice of a unified faith,

The bond that holds us together irrespective of difference?


Is that meant to divide on religious grounds or

Ideas of nationhood?


Is it about all people being at the same stage in human

Development, degradation, advancement, regression…?


Is it about a common ownership of the earth and all within it,

With emphasis on our need to prioritise an even

Distribution of support, resources and their mechanisms? 




Do to me as you would like me to do to you.


Do not let the same man keep hold of the bread and the knife.


Don’t insist on speaking for me…

Give me the platform, you’ll see that I can tell my own story

Better and with more accuracy.


By Ben Okafor
© CrimsonFlameMusic 2004

A Political Point in Time

ABC and The Space seem to have come into their own at exactly the right time. Developments in domestic and global politics seem to call into question progressive gains that, in our most hopeful moments, we might have thought were unassailable. Now they seem – at best – contested. Verbal and physical violence are on the rise – directed at people because of their gender, religion, sexuality, nationality and race. ABC’s message, pursued through music, drama, dance, visual arts, poetry and story, is that everyone is precious; everyone has something to offer and something to give. In our communities, nobody is surplus to requirements. We are delighted by the new local contacts we have made through the two modest events we have held so far, and we will continue to cherish those who are emerging to be part of our work. Welcome, and thank you. 

Alison's Walk Through Norwich

Walking through Norwich yesterday, I encountered a preacher. He’d set up a stall with leaflets which others were giving out. His tone was loud, hectoring and invasive, and I felt the need to walk away to a quiet space. As I did so, a young busker further down the street struck the first chord on his acoustic guitar of Leonard Cohen’s, ‘Hallelujah’. The contrast couldn’t have been greater. As he sang the song his performance had within it a gentle invitation to engage – nothing more than that. I went on my way reflecting on ABC’s newly opened artistic and creative place, The Space. The busker encapsulated, in that moment, my vision for it – a place to explore, and a place to be. A genuinely open Space for artistic creativity.

Provoking Thoughts from Denmark

I’ve just come home from a tour of Denmark: prisons, homeless shelters and NGO conferences. This work reminds me again of the need to make sure that everyone’s voice has expression. As a singer songwriter of African origin, I am aware of how difficult it is to access support from the gatekeepers in the art world, but also of how dangerous that support can be to the authenticity of your message. ABC is committed to providing a platform where people can be true to themselves and not feel marginalised. If this makes sense to you, please get in touch!

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