Siana Bangura is a writer, poet, performer and social commentator. Her award-winning debut poetry collection Elephant explored themes such as black British womanhood, racism, gentrification and sexism, and she is the producer of an upcoming documentary 1500 & Counting which investigates police brutality and deaths in custody in the UK. She is also the founder of independent publishing house Haus of Liberated Reading and the editor of the black British feminist platform, No Fly on the WALL.
Here, she shares five things inspiring her to think and work differently right now.
Hardware: I'm not much of a tech geek or gadget-head to be honest, but I'm a big fan of portable power banks. They've certainly saved me on a number of occasions! Like the quintessential millennial I am, I'm always on my phone, bleeding the battery power dry. I'm also always on the move and need to be contactable, so long live my travel kit.
Software: Twitter has long been my favourite social media platform, however recently I've been finding it especially 'noisy'. This feeling coincides with my increasing weariness of the status quo. However, my love for Instagram has been reignited! I am a very visual person and although I understand all social media has the power to obscure our sense of reality and truth, I do enjoy scrolling through breathtaking images by the photographers and artists I follow. It often inspires me when I'm in the mood to write. I've been using it a lot recently to share snippets of my short film, Denim, a fusion of poetry, film, and music, exploring gentrification in south east London.
Book: Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, by Angela Davis. This book is a stunning collection of essays, interviews and ideas by one of the most important people who ever lived. Angela Davis is an academic, activist, writer and philosopher and her words have revived my energies in terms of working towards a better society. She reminded me that all struggles are connected and we must think globally, not just locally, and move past individualism and strive for community. I've read this book several times and have highlighted its pages, made notes, and I carry it with me most days to dip in and out of.
Idea: It's an idea I know well - that creativity is bottomless, borderless, and only limited by one's own capacity to imagine and dream. Think about all the creations we now enjoy in our everyday lives and take for granted such as the Internet, the way we travel, gadgets, platforms, and things like that we use daily - there was a time we didn't have those, and while someone was able to see into the future and move beyond what they already knew, there were surely others saying it could never be. I'd like to think I'm often pushing the boundaries of my creativity and that I'm hungry to learn new skills, create more interesting art, dive into other genres and mediums, find new ways to say the same things, and develop innovative ways to engage audiences in new conversations.
Person: Interestingly, I'm in a space where I don't really have a favourite person at the moment but I'll say that Angela Davis' words are inspiring me to see the world differently or rather more clearly, organise differently as an activist, and work differently as a writer perhaps too. Sometimes you need the reassurance of people who have lived this before you - the challenges of 2017 are not identical to those of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but there are always similarities. I'm being constantly reminded that history is not in the past yet, but is actually very much a key force shaping our presents and potentially our futures too.