Introducing UCL X STEP Trainee: Jordan Abankwah
By Jordan Abankwah, on 19 May 2021
First off, I want to start off by saying hello to everybody at UCL – my name is Jordan Abankwah, your new Community Engagement and Public Arts Trainee, courtesy of east London’s Shared Training Employment Programme (STEP) Managed by Create Jobs. I’ll be working with the Community Engagement and Public Art team at UCL, whose work concentrates on east London and their new campus on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, UCL East.
So a little bit about myself: I was born and raised in Newham, London; since I was young I have had a strong connection with community and cultural engagement with my parents long being a part of the Obomeng Citizens Association London, a society of members from the Ghanaian diaspora which aims to unite those abroad and fund charities back in Ghana.
In my final year of university I took on social led design projects: looking at how toxic masculinity affects youth violence and encouraging lifelong learning through symbiotic knowledge transfer. These projects led me to finding my niche in using design thinking and creative problem solving to aid in enriching society at large.I was lucky enough to design the branding for my university’s end of year show but after leaving university I was tired of design so explored other industries and explored volunteering as a palate cleanser. Since leaving education, I have had the privilege of working with groups such as Help Refugees in Calais warehouses alongside refugees and Hackney & Islington Citizen’s (Citizen’s UK) which I am still a part of.
The latest project we’ve worked on has been bringing Digital inclusion to disadvantaged groups in the area during the pandemic, through a creative campaign I edited and filmed for, called the Hackney 300 we have been able to get 200+ neighbours devices and internet access.
More recently, I have been working at Blackhorse Workshop as a Creative Facilitator, running workshops with 16 – 25 year olds (in Waltham Forest) in creative activism.I’m so excited to be a part of the UCL Culture team, this role feels like the perfect melding of my two areas of interest: community and creativity. I joined the STEP programme specifically for this opportunity as I have loved working with universities in the past, and with support of the programme I’m able to do that with additional courses and a network of creatives to feedback with.
Through my year with the community engagement team I am hoping to, develop skills and confidence in better understanding outreach to local communities and students, project managing with a wider team as well as checking out all the facilities UCL has to offer.
Lastly, and most importantly I hope to use all these experiences to enrich the work at UCL, I’m self professed jack of all trades so I hope to meet all of you and dip my toes into as many different aspects of work as possible. I look forward to my year here and I hope we cross paths as life resets back to normal!