Our Radical Roots

Rekindle is the revolutionary initiative that aims to rekindle a love of learning in young people disengaged with their education.

Inspired by ‘Uncle Emory’

In 2009, the incredible artist and activist Emory Douglas was featured in a groundbreaking exhibition at Urbis in Manchester: Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution. Emory was the official artist of the Black Panther Party and its first and only Minister of Culture.

Emory took time to meet with local Moss Side young people and share how his powerful artworks were in communicating a message of resistance and social justice. The young people worked with him at the time to create their own versions of revolutionary artwork.

Two of the young people in this 2009 workshop are now proud Trustees of Rekindle (Akeim and Sinead) and they, alongside the rest of our team, are very proud of the obvious influence of Emory Douglas in all our designs.

Our Journey

Some highlights of our radical roots.

Youth Pioneers Assemble

Rekindle was born from the dreams of award-winning charity CEO and former teacher, Ruth Ibegbuna. Ruth believes in the power of young people to change the world, and recruited a powerful group of Youth Pioneers aged 17–25 to lead in bringing Rekindle to life. Starting life as 8 young people and two teachers in a meeting room, shortly before the pandemic struck the UK, sitting with a blank sheet of paper that simply said at the top: How could schools be better?

There was no ambition at that point to do much beyond start a small supplementary school for local young people. As we conducted research, held online events, watched the educational inequalities play out during covid lockdowns and were contacted by endless numbers of burnt-out and demoralised teachers, we realised that this was more than we had intended.

We recognised this had the ability to create a grassroots, youth-led movement, to reclaim some agency about what a successful education looked and felt like.

Finding Our Home

Many many months were spent searching for the right home for Rekindle School. As we became more and more despondent, being constantly outbid for properties, Manchester Museum stepped in and offered us a space on their top floor, whilst their gallery was renovated. This incredibly kind action enabled us to open our school in April 2022.

In November 2022, we secured a lease in our current space in St Mary’s Courtyard and after many weeks of cleaning and removals, we finally opened the doors here in Hulme in November 2022. The space feels absolutely right to us and has a community-focused activist history that inspires us every day. This is exactly where we were supposed to be.

Our Trustees Board

We have always believed in the power of youth. The whole school was conceived from the hopes, dreams and hard work of 8 young people. We pushed this concept further by creating a Board of Trustees comprising 8 incredible young people, all under the age of 30 (with one Elder, Darren, as Co-Chair). Board meetings should not be lofty, mysterious spaces that fiercely guard power. Our board is as challenging, clever and committed as any you would find anywhere else.

Support us

By making a donation to Rekindle, you’ll be supporting the young people who attend the supplementary school.