05 April 2017

On a cool evening one Wednesday 22nd March, one of our members, the Octavia Foundation led tours of people through Kensal Green Cemetery, bringing life back to some of the figures buried there with the help of talented young people and their creative works in art exhibitions and historical films. Waking the Dead, a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was created, documented, and produced by local young people.

Kensal Green Cemetery, also known as ‘All Souls,’ is home to a plethora of figures embedded in local and global history such as Wilkie Collins, Oscar Wilde, Churchill, and Charles Dickens. Waking the Dead – a celebration of life and history put on by the local young people supported by the Octavia Foundation – brought attention to the Kensal Green Cemetery by incorporating spoken word and other art performances as people weaved between the gravestones on tours led local young people.

The event, complete with two digital media projects, a youth-led art exhibition, and a smartphone app created and produced by young people interested in digital media and heritage helped to shed light on a London landmark bathed in history and intrigue. Through these Digital Media Projects the young people were able to showcase their media skills as well as learn about important and inspiring historical figures and the cultural and historical approaches to death.

Brian, a young person involved in the making and production of the digital media projects said:

I got experience with lots of different types of cameras and even drones. I learnt how to frame shots, how to record professional sound and how to tell a story with more than one camera. It has made me a better all-round film-maker and cinematographer.”

To complement the event, the young people also created a smartphone app that took the attendees on an interactive tour through the cemetery, detailing a wide variety of historical facts and interesting pieces of information.

Our very own Director of Membership and Communications, Jim Minton, attended and greatly enjoyed himself. He said:

The best thing for me was the way that young people had created a project which really drew on the history of the whole community. It was clear that by creating the app, and working closely with the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery and other community groups, the project has genuinely bought people closer together in this part of London. As well as this, the project has created a legacy, which will ensure that young and older people can find out about the fascinating history of London, told through sound and music. It was a lovely example of partnership working, led by young people and their community youth organisation.

We are honored to be able to partner with the Octavia Foundation and have access to attend events such as Waking the Dead, as they have continuously promoted opportunities for young people to create and explore projects that interest them. Reena Mukherji, Director of the Octavia Foundation, said:

There is a need for opportunities for young people to learn digital media skills. In our increasingly digital world, these skills help future employment prospects. We have found that digital media is an effective way to reach out to young people who may be isolated or not engaging with education in the usual ways. Further to ‘Waking the Dead’ we will be offering more digital media training and opportunities for intergenerational work from a brand new centre in north Kensington from summer 2017.”


The Waking the Dead app is now available on the app store and the two short films, Waking the Dead and The Beats Beneath, can be found both on the Octavia Foundation website and YouTube. We are really looking forward to the next event to see what these young people can do!