Working class communities: Bread and Roses winners announced
The results of the 2017 inaugural Bread and Roses Songwriting and Spoken Word Award have been announced by organisers Culture Matters, an artistic collective of the political “broad left”. The award, which this year was sponsored by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), aims to encourage songwriters and spoken word performers to write material meaningful to working class people and communities, and to encourage those communities to engage more with songwriting and spoken word.
One of the keys to the success of the award is that it attracts entries from people who might not otherwise enter competitions. Dave Ward, General Secretary of CWU, said, "I really welcomed this new partnership with Culture Matters. The arts and culture generally are vital to the labour movement and working class communities across the country. We sponsored this Award because we wanted to encourage our members in the CWU, and working people everywhere, to express themselves creatively on themes that matter to them as workers."
The award has been shared among several equal winners including Bloque Capitals featuring Jamie Thrasivoulou (pictured), Maria Ogundele and Seonaid Stevenson, from Derby, London and Glasgow respectively.
“There’s so much bad news in the world that it was inevitable that many artists would sing and speak predominantly about the bad stuff.” comments judging panellist and songwriter Boff Whalley, “But there’s also hope, pride and optimism out there. I was really encouraged that almost all the entries sounded like they were proper regional working class voices, and not just middle class writers/singers voicing working class concerns. There’s some brilliant stuff out there being sung and played and rapped and spoken.”
Copies of the Bread and Roses Poetry Anthology 2017 with an introduction by Len McCluskey are available to buy via the Culture Matters website. You can also find entry details there for this year’s Bread and Roses Poetry Award, sponsored by Unite, which is now open for entries.