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Sunday, 31 August 2014

#equalityquilt: Day 5

Yesterday was the last day of the residency and it was a blast. There was 70 contributions left to create, to achieve the 254 hexagons that will represent all the MPs that voted against same sex marriage and we made it! Just as the museum closed! I'm really pleased we reached this target - in my mind I would have been happy with achieving 150 contributions but to get all 254 was outstanding. The work will be up until the 14 September if you are around Manchester and want to take a look-please do!
 This would not have been possible without the dedicated support of a LGBT youth North West who brought young people in to help make these remaining messages. People still came by and some of them took part but I think having so many people around the table may have appeared intimating which lead to less of the passers by taking part. There were still young people and groups who weren't phased by the presence of the others. This might be because young people are fearless sometimes especially when an opportunity to get involved in craft takes over. Regarding groups, like this group from France were interested in the project and curious to get involved. 

I think because the size of their group meant they were less intimated by the others. Also I was able to explain it was the last day and their contributions would help me reach the final target. They all appeared to really enjoy it and were taking pictures of themselves with there contributions. They seemed to really enjoy taking part.
 What was great about having the LGBT youth North West team there is that they were able to help create all the additional contributions from twitter. This really helped getting the last 30 contributions together having the time pressure and an end goal really helped to motivate everyone as a group. 
 These are a few of the contributions they all made, I think towards the end they got a little rushed but in a way I like the outcome, they will add to the overall presence of the work. Having access to music and food kept everyone going and a nice informal buzz as we made the final pieces. The work helped us all bond and learn more about each other which was really uplifting.
  This is one contribution I wanted to complete myself by my friend and colleague Clare Andrews. She is pro same sex marriage and Christian. After the previous conversation I had with the mother who was against same sex marriage I really wanted to profile this statement.  Unfortunately the person who completed it also missed out one of the three things when they wrote it, it's missing-faith. I will have to amend it. It should read:  "Three things will last forever- faith, hope and love- and the greatest of these is love" 1 Corinthians 13:13 
 This contribution is just brilliant, it was a twitter contribution from another friend and colleague Davinia Jokhi and the message was created by Catherine O'Donnell who helped out in the afternoon. 
 These were the last standing in the final hour that made it all happen big thanks to them all Catherine, Gordan, Heather and Panda there were also two who were camera shy Sam a Kale but their help was really valuable and deserve recognizing. 
 So here it is, the final outcome all 254 contributions are on the wall. Later in the year I'll be incorporating these images into the quilt it's great to have gone through the week and met so many different people and gain insights to their personality through making these messages together. It's been a really rich and rewarding experience in so many ways. I'm incredibly grateful to Catherine O'Donnell and the public who contributed and voted for me and helped support me go on this journey. I'm indebted to People's History Museum for enabling me to complete this project and it's given me great opportunities to lead on to enable the project to go further. I'm ready to take the project to the next stage and get the public to take part in decorating the 396 MPs that voted for same sex marriage in order to bring all these images together and make this quilt happen!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

#equalityquilt Day 4

 I've now had a chance to reflect  on yesterday it was another great day. Above is Phoebe Myers who came by for a meeting about  Free For Arts FestivalPhoebe is going to be making a Freedom Banner and is inviting visitors to contribute their freedoms, both big and small, which are important to them.  The workshop will be held on Saturday 4 October as part of our PHM Fun Palace, and the banner will be displayed at the museum until Friday 10 October. 
Here were some visitors from Japan, who were all lovely and made great contributions

 I managed to get more twitter pictures done which I'm really please with I still have a number left to do yet.
 Daddy and Mummy Bliss came to visit, that's why I've not had chance to reflect - we had dinner together. It was great to show them around and get them to take part as well.
 The fella on the end wrote 'all equal' in Spanish and the rest of the family were really creative. They were taking part whilst they waited for the dad to finish his meeting with People's History Museum. It turns out he's a textile artist as well. He's going to be doing an exhibition in January (I'll upload a link soon).
 More families came in today. Here is a couple of families, all lovely people it's been really great meeting so many different people.

The lovely Ben Turner from Haus of Phag visited as well and sewed a contribution! So I now have 70 left to complete the 254 needed to represent on the map the MPs who voted against, didn't vote or abstained from the same sex marriage bill. Today is my last day in the space :-s

Thursday, 28 August 2014

#equalityquilt: Day 3

Day three!

The day started with this couple coming into the space: Bonnie Slade and Jane Cullingworth. The pair of them recently got married together in Toronto for World Pride which happened at the end of June. This was the first time I've heard of World Pride and they went to get hitched with a load of other people to celebrate same sex marriage!

They showed me a couple of pictures from the day...

 This is the castle they all got married in. You can find out more about the day here:

 I think this image is beautiful, what a perfect day to celebrate together. I'm definitely incorporating this image into the quilt to represent these two wonderful Glaswegians women. 

 I was having a great talk with this woman from Bangor who was visiting on business and came into the museum out of curiosity - she was sharing interesting insights to how people are represented and treated in India.
 This contribution is from a visitor from Germany who wrote this message and tried to translate it for me.
 I managed to make some time to also get a couple of twitter based contributions generated! This one is from Chris Bye and is actually a quote by Liz Fieldman. There were also a group from Salford community group who have invited me to do a workshop with their centre in the future!
 This pair were very competitive with their contributions to create the perfect image they both did equally brilliantly :)
  These are three of my colleagues from work, I'm very thankful they turned up and I hope to see some more (yes any of you reading this from work, this is a hint I'm expecting you to come and participate :-D)
  I had my first debate with someone who was anti same-sex marriage, I had encouraged a woman and her daughter to take part in some art. They took a seat and once I started to explain about the project, she asked me to stop as she was against same-sex marriage. Luckily her daughter had already started making a contribution and the mother didn't want to interrupt her, so she let her continue and we were able to have a conversation about same sex marriage. We were able to share our beliefs with each other politely. I suggested she look what other people had contributed on the wall, how previously people had to protest to gain the right for same sex marriage. I expressed how I felt it was unfair that lgbt people were excluded from being able to get married. She didn't agree that it was necessary for us to get married and we should respect religious beliefs. I raised that my sister and her partner are getting married and that her partner is Christian and it was important to her that she was able to get married. Without the same sex marriage bill she would have been excluded and not given the opportunity to get married. As a part of her faith it is important to her to able to be married. I also explained that I personally have less interest in being married but I do feel it is important for those who do want a choice to get married should be able to like partners who are the opposite sex. She explained that Jesus didn't get married and therefore it didn't seem so bad to her that other people couldn't, she did acknowledge however that it's easier for her to say as some one who was married with a child and wasn't someone who was in a position of being in a same sex relationship and wanting to become married.  
 This was the aftermath of a group of six brilliant kids with a mum who was looking after them all. They were so much fun, they enjoyed dipping the pom-poms in paints, adding glitter and generally making very unique contributions! The mum had also taken them to an anti-fracking protest so it was great to see that they had decided to also add in a little contribution about that as well!

 This was a really exciting and fortuitous moment. I asked if these two wanted to take part and then realised one of them was Sue Sanders!!! She has recently been nominated for a life time achievement award. It was so awesome to talk to her, I had a chance to speak with her briefly at the schools out conference earlier in the year. She was basically a huge driving force behind LGBT history month. She was with Jeff Evans who had recently worked with People's History Museum to help design a tour explaining the links to the LGBT content within the collections. They're both keen to include the qulit project in the next LGBT history month next year, I've been emailing them updates with my project but now having these two in front of the project has help to get them on board! This wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for the platform provided by People's History Musuem so I'm hugely grateful to be able to be to present my evolving work as they wouldn't have been aware of the project without it! 

 These two were also a part of the protests which were taking place they were both ace and really good fun to natter with, I love their campaigns the're involved in!
 The two on the left are from Spain and the woman to the right is Catherine O'Donnell who the Play Your Part Engagement & Events Officer and basically made this opportunity happen! So many thanks to Catherine otherwise none of this would have been possible :)

 So at the end of day three this is how the studio space is looking. Nearly at the bottom of the wall, I know I've reached past the 100 stage.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

#equalityquilt: Day 2

I've completed day two of the residency and it's going well! I had a quick count up before I left today and with everyone's help we've reached 89 contributions which is fantastic!
 With three days left there is 165 left to do, which breaks down to me needing to get 55 contributions per day if I'm going to get all the hexagons I need to represent the 254 MPs that either voted against, abstained or did not vote for same sex marriage.
 I'd say for every group that have been happy to get involved, I've asked passers by to have a go and they've either declined to made an excuse not to get involved. I've found this element amusing as I've had a range of excuses and several promises that they will go around the museum and think about what they want to say. Then they never come back :-( it's like being stood up on a date, I'm there waiting eagerly for them to return, hoping they'll come back and yet some don't even walk back past me. But there have been a steady run of people who have been interested and even a few people who have enjoyed it so much they did a second!
 It's been really great to involve young people in the project, it's really surprised me how interested they've been and how clearly they've understood the aim of the project. Some of the really young have just made pretty pictures which is just as good as the positive statements.  I think their contributions will add a wonderful range to the piece. I've found it easier to engage with kids and parents if I ask them if they want to make some craft or make art. Once they're sat down, I encourage them to right a positive message or draw a pretty picture. I've found this method easier for the really young to grasp and then as they're getting involved and making the work I explain to the whole family what the project is about. Parents have responded really well and help explain the project in way that their child can further understand.  So I've learnt that this is a good way that is easy to get people involved as it is easier to digest the whole project in steps.
 It's also been great when others have written quite detailed messages and one gentleman put some lyrics from a song. I now refer to all these different pieces to encourage more people to get inspired by others.
 It's also been really nice that mixed groups of people have come together and sat round the table together. above and below is examples of where three different groups of people who were exploring the museum separately have come together and then started taking about the project together as well as the rest of the museum exhibitions. This has been really nice to be apart of and being sat with them all has been fun. 
I've also managed to make a start on some of the contributions which have been given over twitter and online. They're beginning to pile up now which is a bit daunting! I was expecting less people to come through during the day to give me more time, instead there has been enough to keep me busy with helping facilitate there needs to get them making their own pieces. I'm really happy that this has happened,  I know I can still make the online contributions later if I need to and it's showing that lots of people want to take part. I do feel guilty that I've not sent more out back complete through twitter because I do still want people to take part from further afield, I got a tweet yesterday from America! I was so chuffed that someone tweeted from somewhere as far away as America!

This is the twitter contribution from Haus of Phag which is an excellent blog and company please do check out their posts:
I did this one for my sister who text me her contribution as she won't be able to visit the project. She's marrying a wonderful women at the end of next month; I'm so thrilled for them both. Marriage isn't something every same sex couple want to do, I'm just glad they now have the freedom to make that choice.
 So I have a lot more work to do to get to my target. A few things I've also noticed, I need to push more on getting people to make fabric contributions and sow. It takes a bit more time but I want a range of contributions! I've also not had the time to allow a group do any spray painting! I might pre-make some stencil messages that people have tweeted and give people the option to spray a message. I also want the staff to let more people know that the project is taking place. I'm tucked up in the corner in a space on the ground floor and it's easy for people not to realize that they can come into the space. I'm going to encourage more staff to give some of my flyers as they enter the museum at the front desk.  I also need to work out a way to encourage more to walk into the space. I'll have to give this some thought, in the mean time this is how it looks!