GRANVILLE BARBERSHOP Project @ Granville Boys High School – UPDATE | Colin Kinchela - Information & Cultural Exchange

GRANVILLE BARBERSHOP Project @ Granville Boys High School – UPDATE | Colin Kinchela

Warami wellamabamiyui, yura.  I.C.E. Blog Followers!

We have clicked over the half way mark of Term 2 at Granville Boys High School (GBHS) with our two current programs, Barbering and Music, part of the multi-stream GRANVILLE BARBERSHOP project.
Weekly I drop-in to GBHS to meet with each facilitator and debrief on how the day’s workshop ran its course, and to glimpse and gauge the progression of the young men in these two very individually crafted, intensive 10-week skills-based workshops.

To state the young men’s progression in each programs is going to plan and that these student participants are engaged in would be an understatement. Markers of success thus far are evident in the fact that the student participants are on time to the workshops each week, feel confident to ask questions regularly, and choose to stay in ‘The Groom Room’ or ‘The Groove Room’ foregoing their prized recesses and lunches, and not only that but student participants are even staying after the final school bell to finish their work.

The student participants are adding to their skill sets every week by asking earnest questions about the recording processes and how to make a living as a musician, for instance, in the music program; and asking questions about ‘how long does it take to become a barber?’ or ‘how hard is it to set up a barbering studio in my house?’ in the barbering program.

MUSIC – The Groove Room
The music program, facilitated by award-winning musician Chris Hamer-Smith has recorded strong and vibrant sounds of the school’s Arabic band, and the equally strong and candied harmonics of young men who are members in the school’s Islander communities.

On two occasions the music students, accompanied by Chris H-S and a GHBS teacher visited Forbes Street Studios in Woolloomooloo, where student rehearsed and laid tracks down. These two events proved to have an intrinsic value for the student participants and for Chris H-S and the GHBS teacher at Forbes Street Studios, as I understand from Chris, that several of the young men previously hadn’t stepped inside professional recording studios before. The experience again widened and added value to the participatory and collaborative elements in the music program.

The creative team and myself have heard a rough-edit of one of the recorded songs and the production quality is solid and impressive, can’t wait to hear the final products.

BARBER – The Groom Room
Charles Lomu, the urban barber crusader, has put into practice his own specific tutoring methods that have worked before in Garage Barbershop and has transferred these skills into tutoring the selected young men of GBHS in ‘The Groom Room’.

It was only a few weeks ago there were a few student participants in the program that had not completed, from start to finish, a full haircut with fade on a fellow student from the ever growing list of student peers wanting to get their haircut in ‘The Groom Room’.
All the student participants have had a go at using the electric clippers on a student but had not completed a full fade in its entirety. This big moment was achieved only a few weeks ago – and it’s an example that Barber Charles Lomu doesn’t leave any student participant behind in engaging with the barbering tools and providing opportunity to put their lessons into practice by completing a full fade haircut. Something that I know boosts the esteem for said individual student participant and also knowing that he is recognised by his peers that he can achieve this goal.

Chris Hamer-Smith and Charles Lomu, as facilitators find themselves in a unique setting – the fortunate situations of sharing their craft and knowledge to these selected student participants and to operate these programs within a high school environment.

Also, I can’t thank Leo Tanoi enough, as Managing Producer, he’s there present and steering the ship at Granville Boys High School with each and every workshop session for each of the two programs. His rapport with the student participants is firm and fair, and that is a reflection of his experience working with youth in countless past facilitation programs.

When the creative team commenced these two programs for the Granville Barbershop project, there was a cogent understanding that we held regarding what mechanisms were to be put into place that to ensure the workshop sessions should run fluidly. We all didn’t know how it would translate specifically within the school environment – but being part of a creative and focussed team of practitioners that spark of doubt was extinguished quickly. The learning environment is as important to the content consumption, as is the value of the content given, particularly in the school eco-system, certain things can work for and against you. We have made these two programs work.

The start of these two programs seems so long ago as we charge forward to the end of this term. This creative team is what great creative teams are in arts organisations today. Dedication to your craft and collaboration does define you and will hold the project steady.

I am looking forward to writing another update for you all to read in the next few weeks. There is some great news to share with you all but you’ll have to stay tuned. If you haven’t subscribed to I.C.E.’s newsletter already then you’re missing out on all the good stuff!

Words by Colin Kinchela, First Nations Creative Producer
Photo by Morgan Graham

Read more about Granville Barbershop here:


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