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Bollo Studios

Bollo Brook Sessions: Working With Chaos

Thursday 21 January, Thursday 18 March, Thursday 13 May 2021

2:00pm - 5:30pm

Online via Zoom

Bollo Brook Youth Centre in Ealing serves some of the most vulnerable young people in London, and has been credited with saving young people from rising knife crime violence. At the heart of Bollo Brook are the Bollo Studios which is a safe space for young people to work with professional studio engineers and producers, to experiment and express themselves through music.

Sound Connections is working with Bollo Brook to explore how can the music education and youth sectors learn, share and collaborate to effectively support some of the most vulnerable young people through music?

This series of events will confront issues facing these young people, through provocation from experts and with the young people themselves. There will be space for exploration and discussion, and to hear some of the music emerging from the Studios. It will also be an opportunity to establish a community of practice for those working with young people in challenging circumstances.

These online courses are free to attend but if you would like to make a donation please support Bollo Brook’s Congo in the Picture crowdfunder campaign to support a grassroots youth group in the Democratic Republic of Congo who works with young people to promote peace and tolerance through music, film and debate.

Who is this for?

  • Practitioners working with young people through music
  • Secondary school teachers and leaders
  • Music Education Hub leaders and tutors
  • Youth workers
  • Grassroots/community music organisations
  • Libraries, arts and cultural organisations


Session 1: Broadening Horizons

Thursday 21st January: 2pm-5pm

For many young people, being around difference is a way of helping them to heal from trauma.

In this session, we aim to unpick what are the motivations for ‘broadening horizons’. How do you do this in a way that makes young people feel not only engaged, but comfortable? And how do we create a model of valuing young peoples’ musical interests and broadening horizons simultaneously.

Time Activity
2pm Keynote: Professor Lez Henry
2.45pm Provocation: Dr Spyros Papadopoulos
3pm Provocation: Armzy Realist (from Bollo Brook Youth Centre)
3.15pm Q&A
3.30pm Break
3.40pm Discussions / debates
4.10pm Feedback
4.30pm Final thoughts and call to action from the Bollo Brook team
4.45pm Bollo Brook sounds – closing tunes
5pm Space to stay open for informal networking and music


Scroll down to find out more about the speakers.



SESSION 2: Censorship in the 21st century

Thursday 18th March


Music is a fully inclusive art form that all young people can and do engage with at some level. We know the value and benefit of young people being able to express themselves through music. However, educators will often argue that certain types of music are inappropriate for use in formal settings, usually due to the lyrical content.

In this session we will explore a perspective on censorship, with particular relation to contemporary music. How can we encourage young peoples’ creativity and self expression through music, while imposing restrictions? What are the limits and the boundaries, and where should educators ‘draw the line’, if at all? How has censorship and lyrical content manifested in recent years, particularly with the emergence of drill music in the UK?



SESSION 3: Are you listening? Youth voice today

Thursday 13th May


Young people are increasingly feeling like their voices aren’t being heard, and are becoming disenfranchised with their communities, formal education and politics. Yet young people should be at the heart of shaping policy and practice, especially when it comes to an area of particular passion for them – music.

In this session we will consider how organisations working with some of the most vulnerable young people are not only listening to, but acting on youth voice.



These online courses are free to attend but if you would like to make a donation please support Bollo Brook’s Congo in the Picture crowdfunder campaign to support a grassroots youth group in the Democratic Republic of Congo who works with young people to promote peace and tolerance through music, film and debate.

Prof Lez Henry

Prof Lez Henry pic

William ‘Lez’ Henry (PhD) was born in the London borough of Lewisham, of Jamaican Parentage and is Professor of Criminology and Sociology, University of West London. He is the British Reggae Deejay Lezlee Lyrix and is a writer, poet and community activist who is renown as a first-rate public speaker. He lectures in the areas of criminology, sociology, anthropology, black history, whiteness studies, race, education, ethnicity, gender, youth justice and cultural studies, and delivers educational programmes in community and grass-roots settings, as well as in universities, schools and colleges. He is a published author of 3 monographs, several articles, and various chapters in books.

Prof Henry is committed to promoting equitable working environments that embrace and promote diversity in its broadest sense, and has the practical experience of designing and delivering courses, seminars, workshops and talks on: equality and diversity; unconscious bias; systemic and institutionalised racism; educational intervention; youth engagement; youth justice and black history, on behalf of various public and private sector organisations. These include but are not restricted to: LinkedIn; Sainsburys; Amazon Prime Video; The National Black Crown Prosecution Association (NBCPA); Tate Modern and Tate Britain; Paul Mellon Centre; Whitworth Galleries; The HEY Network; NHS South East Coast BME Network; Barnados; Show Racism the Red Card; UNISON; UNITE Union; Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; Octavia Housing; Ethnic Minority Network, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); Greenwich Youth Services; Southwark Youth Services; Lewisham Youth Services; Brent Youth Offending Team; Southwark Council’s Black Parents Forum; Lewisham Black Staff Forum; Pyramid Health and Social Care Association; Lewisham Head Teachers, Managers in Partnership (MiP); Battersea and Wandsworth TUC; Ethnic Minority Partnership Association; Haringey Youth Offending Team; Barnados and Black Mental Health UK.

Prof Henry is a founder member of the ‘National Independent Education Coalition’ (NIEC), ‘The Lewisham Black Fathers Support Group’ and has worked on the Home Office, Ending Gang and Youth Violence initiative (EGYV) and co-designed and delivered the Mayor of London’s Mentoring Programme 2011-2013. He has featured in numerous documentaries and current affairs television and radio programmes both nationally and internationally and is renowned as a first-class public speaker, with a keen interest in the counter-cultures of the African Diaspora, Black/African History, music as politics, youth crime and violence and whiteness studies. Prof Henry has lectured both nationally and internationally, on behalf of various institutions including the following: African American Studies Department, Yale University, Connecticut, USA; Department of Sociology and Medicine, Howard University, Washington, USA; University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica; Department of Social Studies, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA; University of Gothenburg, Gothenberg, Sweden; Department of Anthropology, University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland; School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London; Imperial College, London; School of Oriental and African Studies, London, St Catherine’s College, Oxford University and Woolfson College, University of Cambridge.
Prof henry has a passion for martial arts and holds a Shodan Black Belt in IKK Kyokushinkai Karate and is a 2nd Degree, Black Belt, Instructor with London Hung Kuen, Five Animals, Shaolin Kung Fu.

Dotun Adebayo BBC Radio 5 article on Reggae Sound System Culture

‘Narratives from Beyond the UK Reggae Bassline – The System is Sound’ (2021) eds William Henry and Matt Worley

Sociology in 30 seconds

Twitter – @DrLezhenry
LinkedIn – William Lez Henry
Full profile:

Dr Spyros Papadopoulos

Spyros Papadopoulos

Spyros is a clinical psychologist, currently working in Tier 2 CAMHS ‘Brighter Futures’, offering support to the Leaving Care service in Children’s Social Care. He is also working towards setting up psychologically-informed pathways of care for unaccompanied young people in Social Care. Spyros has completed his doctorate training at the University of East London. He has worked for various teams within the NHS and third sector organisations in the UK and Greece, including adult mental health, cancer care, CAMHS, and neuro-rehabilitation settings.

Armzy Realist

Armzy Realist

Armzy Realist is a young actor and rapper from west London. He started coming to Bollo 11 years ago. He makes a range of different genres of rap.


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