Elliott Hudson College: A Collaboration With The British Library

In an exciting collaboration between Elliott Hudson College and the prestigious British Library, a group of students has spearheaded an innovative project, culminating in the creation of an animated film “Myths & Legends: A South Leeds Odyssey.”

The project marked the British Library’s first co-creation venture with students from Elliott Hudson College, aiming to represent the vibrant youth voice of South Leeds authentically.

The collaboration project has been running since February as part of the students’ enrichment programme, and has included trips to London, local libraries, museums, and print-making workshops. The students then decided to bring together everything they had been discussing and conceptualising into a new animated film, celebrating the diverse cultural tapestry of South Leeds.

Two recent graduates from the Northern Film School were chosen to bring the envisioned tale to life, drawing inspiration from Anansi, the revered Ghanaian/Caribbean folklore spider trickster. Renowned Leeds poet Khadijah Ibrahiim contributed by crafting a new narrative for the animated film.

Ideas session during Enrichment class.

Flora Young, an Elliott Hudson College student: “It was an amazing opportunity that formed friendships between us. It was completely student-led, which gave a sense of accomplishment but also project management and problem solving. The premiere helped us to see our efforts on a big screen and realise the size of our project.”

The much-anticipated premiere of “Myths & Legends: A South Leeds Odyssey” took place on 10 October at the School of Art at Leeds Beckett University. The premiere event was a glamorous affair, resembling a red-carpet spectacle, providing the students with an unforgettable experience amid the glitz and glamour. The venue sparkled with the creative energy and talent exhibited by the students and collaborators.

The students showcased their enthusiasm and dedication by promoting the premiere on Chapel FM, discussing the intricacies and significance of their collaborative journey on air.

Panel discussion post-film: Host Dr Emily Zobel-Marshall, filmmakers Luca Procopio and Jacob Robbins, poet Khadijah Ibrahim, Harriet Lander (who helped the students), Olivia Majumdar (British Library) and Sam Ashik.

Student Sam Ashik: “The biggest lesson I learnt was probably on the many different aspects, views and opinions on culture and heritage as a whole. While some people seemed to care less about ethnic culture, they were a lot more interested in the culture of the area they lived in. The many different interpretations of the same story (Anansi), was also a valuable insight to me, as while as a whole in most cultures, trickery was frowned upon, certain instances of it
were praised and revered. Sometimes, like with Anansi, there was a blurry line between the two, with some of the spider’s actions causing chaos, and others causing confusion or playful mischief, which helped the wider society.”

Following the resounding success of the premiere, the co-created animated film is about to embark on a tour across Leeds libraries in early 2024, reaching out to wider audiences and further celebrating the rich heritage and stories of South Leeds.

The students with host Ben Shires, Harriet Lander and Khadijah Ibrahim.

Jodie Russi-Red, British Library Co-ordinator of the project: “The British Library/Elliott Hudson co-creation group has gone on such a journey this year. We had no idea what this group would end up operating like or coming up with when we started in Spring, and it was such an amazing moment for me and the rest of my colleagues to step back and see what the group has shaped. It’s proved to us what a massive difference it makes to have local young people steering a project.

This landmark collaboration not only underscores the British Library’s innovative approach to engaging young minds but also highlights the students’ remarkable creativity and commitment in authentically portraying the cultural essence of their community through the mesmerizing medium
of animation.”

Photography by Jodie Russi-Red. Main image: Co-creation Group with Co-ordinator Jodie Russi-Red on the red carpet.

Leeds Living