Stop whining, start singing

“Tell me why
you took my house away,
tell me why
you’re making my children pay,
tell me why
I never wanna hear you say,
Capitalism is the right way”



The final UpRising Learning Session of 2009-2010 was “epic,” according to one participant. The 20 April event kicked off with UpRising Time, a Question Time-style panel discussion on the successes and outcomes of the UpRising community campaigns and year long programme experience. A panel of UpRising participants summarised their community action projects, which include campaigns to respond to Islamophobia, to connect young people to education and careers, to establish a youth-run radio station, and more. Panelists then responded to questions from the audience, who took on roles such as community authority figure, Young Foundation trustee, television reporter, and leading intellectual.

Nazia, an UpRising participant, described the evening as “An emotional final session but a great way to end.” She added, “I look forward to embarking on a journey knowing I have everything and everyone from UpRising there to support me.”

In the spirit of UpRising, the second half of the session focused on methods to support social innovation and community action. Louise Pulford, coordinator of the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), introduced participants to the complaint choir — an innovative method of community participation and protest that invites people to sing about their grievances in a choir with their peers.

With the aid of a karaoke machine, UpRisers utilised the complaint choir methodology to turn annoying community problems into chart-topping verses. Featured tunes included a protest of banking shenanigans sung to the Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it That Way’, a plea for courtesy on the tube to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect,’ a diatribe over transfats and fast food to ‘Silent Night,’ and grumbles over student loan debt to Destiny Child’s ‘Bills, Bills, Bills.’

The fabulous performances wrapped-up UpRising 2009-2010 with a roar, and the session connected UpRisers to the broader field of social innovation, including nearly 1000 entrepreneurs and organizations in the SIX global network who are committed to tackling some of the world’s most difficult social challenges.

At the end of the session, Moneea, an UpRising participant, summed up the spirit of the evening and of the programme: “Don’t just be a spectator, get involved. Once an UpRiser, always an UpRiser.”

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