Students at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) interviewed Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of an exhibition about former Tottenham MP Bernie Grant.
The Labour Party leader opened the Bernie Grant Exhibition at the Marcus Garvey Library on 27 July., to celebrate the life and work of Mr Grant who died in 2000.
The exhibition was organised by the Friends of Marcus Garvey Library in collaboration with the College, Mr Grant’s widow Sharon Grant, Sharon Foster from Alicia Dean Artworks, Tottenham artist Caroline Rault and documentary film-maker Professor Kurt Barling.
Creative and Media students created a wall of images and facts about Mr Grant’s life and political career and made a documentary for the exhibition.
At the launch, they asked Mr Corbyn several questions including on what inspired him to become a politician and why it is important to encourage creativity in young people.
Student Tai-Jaun Akberali, 18, said: “We did a lot of research about Bernie Grant and found out all about his life and his support for people in the Tottenham area. He was such a key figure in the community and I feel very proud to be part of this project.”
On interviewing Jeremy Corbyn, student Adulai Balde, 24, added: “It was an incredible experience, and not something you get to do every day. He related well to us, which not many politicians do and was very passionate in his views on social issues.”
The exhibition was paid for through a crowd funding campaign with support from Haringey Council and is expected to grow with the support of CONEL students over the coming years.
Mr Corbyn, a close friend of Mr Grant, said: “Bernie certainly was an inspiration to so many young people in the way that he conducted himself and the way that he campaigned for an understanding of our cultural background, our cultural values and our history.”
Mr Grant attended CONEL, then Tottenham Technical College from 1965-67, and later studied a degree in mining engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Born in British Guiana, he became one of Britain’s first black MPs when he was elected in June 1987, having previously served as the Leader of Haringey Council.
Mr Grant led the development of many community facilities, including Marcus Garvey Library and Tottenham Green Leisure Centre, now Tottenham Green Pools and Fitness.
Jasmin Taylor, Chair, Friends of Marcus Garvey Library, said:” Bernie Grant was a much-loved, inspirational and outspoken figure, who lived locally, spoke for, and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the people of Tottenham.
“Improving the life chances of young people in the borough was an issue always close to Bernie’s heart, which is why the Friends were especially pleased to be able to collaborate with students at the college he attended as a young man.”