Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Democratic Motherism by Alice Walker

that what Earth needs more than anything
is mothering. Earth, Mother Earth, needs
mothers, regardless of gender - though we all
recognise who most mothers have been, and
are. Mothering is an instinct, yes, but it is also
a practice. It can be learned. For women it
has been an eons-long experience: the art and
necessity of taking care of all, of everything,
of mothering. So perhaps the new 'ism' we
are  talking about is not classic Womanism,
but Motherism. Democratic Motherism.
In any case, we will continue to endure,
and detest, the systems currently in place, in
which the conditions of countless starving,
tortured, enslaved and murdered children
is seen as acceptable, unless we forthrightly
begin to envision, and work for, something
better: some way for humans to exist and
thrive, without suffering the despair of every
second of every day knowing our present
predicament's greatest cause is humanity's
fear of sharing equally with others, and its
rapidly growing, partly because of this fear,

Ali Walker
Excerpt from Democratic Motherism


The World will Follow Joy
Turning Madness into Flowers

New Poems

The New Press 2015

the project

Creating a safe open space for creative activity with women asylum seekers

(Information for race and Equality event at Leeds Beckett University 21.10.15)

Mary, Marry, Tabitha, Mavis, Michelle, Diana, Tabitha, Chandrika, Zanab, Samira, Rosemary, Lorraine, Rosemary, Vuyana, Dorothy, Lotte, Elaine, Sophie, Serena, Liz, Laura

We have been talking, making, learning and sharing skills particularly in sewing and dressmaking. Cushions, clothes, paintings, bags, poems, symbol designs and a banner are things made so far.
We talk about how the space offers a distraction from the stressful and precarious nature of their lives, a place where we can share experiences in a smaller group, learn new things, share our skills and ideas and express ourselves creatively. How in making, the distraction is positive whereas forms of therapy offered through counselling can feel more like dwelling on the situation without feeling like anything has changed.
Recently a conversation over food was played on Projectradio , a radio residency at andmodel Gallery in Leeds as part of the events around the British Art Show 8 at Leeds Art Gallery. The lunchtime conversation had been about experiences two women had in Yarls Wood Detention Centre. Their words dispelled many of the mediated reports and perceptions of the centre and the women detained there, revealing the support methods and networks women use to protect themselves and each other inside and afterwards.

The research perspective in this project looks at how participatory creative practices can be equal, active spaces of unique experience that include the everyday routine activities needed for a community to be able to function. From washing up to dressmaking, eating to drawing, this creative process is based on the significance of connecting through making that may not be dependent on verbal language. To feel connected and attached to place through the creative process and to learn together, recognising that everyone has something to contribute.

“A good educational system should have three purposes: I t should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.”

Ivan Illich  Deschooling Society 2002

“Tools for Conviviality sets out how society needs tools which encourage individual creativity, enabling people to give shape and character to their own lives….being able to make their mark on the world... “Conviviality represents joyfulness.

From David Gauntlett on Ivan Illich  Making is Connecting  2011


Marry, Tabitha,
Vuyana, Rosemary,
Dorothy, Lorraine,
Diana, Serena,
Liz, Laura,

Pittas, tomatoes, hummus, coleslaw,
soup, grapes, apples,

waiting for deportation, different experiences
what food is good for you
apples good for reducing stress? strawberries have no benefit?

Mary starts a new skirt, Vuyana, Rosemary, Tabitha make a cushion

Lorraine and Tabitha make shoulder bags

Diana started a t-shirt embroidery and Laura started a Women of The World embroidery
Serena took photos

Liz painted some flowers of the world

Dorothy and Liz looked up Jamaican flower Lignum vitae,
Flame lily of Zimbabwe, welwitschia of Namibia, Kantuta of Bolivia

a lot of tea
feelings of happiness from making such great things

Monday, October 19, 2015

International Cushion Day 13.10.15


soup, pitta's, cheese, fruit, coleslaw, hummus, chocolates
falling between the strict conditions of who is considered suitable for asylum or not
having to obtain proof that hasn't been recorded properly,
wanting to make to feel better, a positive distraction rather than counselling
words can keep the pain too close, making distracts feels good and is something tangible real

cushions cushions cushions
dress nearly finished
teaching each other sewing

having appeal refused
needing help
needing hope

Mary's beautiful skirt

cushions are brilliant

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Safe Space to Make Together In



apples, pittas, tomatoes, hummus, soup, raspberries, cheese

Yarls Wood
sharing difficulties and anxiety
a system that is a lose lose system

a safe space
a calm space together to make in
recording our conversation for project radio

teaching ourselves to make together is fun

blue dress pattern
yellow and black jacket

circles stars symbols of protection and prominent women