I can’t believe we’ve reached the halfway point of Work in Progress already! The exhibition has completely transformed from the blank canvas at the beginning and feels alive with activity, opinions and displays. The boards are now getting really full, with displays about London Road Fire Station, Hough End Hall and our exhibitions team asking visitors for their election memories. We’re going to be putting up a display about the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, ahead of our Q&A with the cast of the film Pride on Saturday 23 August, so we’ve unwrapped our brand new display cases ready to go.
Week 5 has been a really fun, busy week as we’ve hosted our second Microresidency with artist Claire Curtin. Claire led two screenprinting workshops on Saturday and Thursday and spent the week creating placards, collages and polling our visitors with questions such as, ‘Is Jeremy Clarkson a racist or just stupid?’ Her residency culminated in our People’s Protest, where campaigners marched from the museum to Lincoln Square with placards emblazoned with diverse slogans including ‘Down With Dave’, ‘Save our NHS’, ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘Outlaw Shaving, Beards For All’. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists provided the music and everyone had an opportunity to make a speech and share their idea worth fighting for.
On Monday we (I say ‘we’, it was really Josh and Mark – I ‘supervised’) installed #SELFIE_SHOW-OFF exhibition by Karol Kochanowski, which is part of the Manchester Pride Fringe. Karol’s visually striking paintings will be on display for the remainder of Work in Progress’s run, and the exhibition provides a colourful complement.
I’ve had some great conversations with visitors this week, including the brilliant Amanda, who was really passionate about shopping ethically and voting using her money, rather than at the ballot box.
There’s been a few postcards posted in our suggestion box this week that are addressed to other people. One of our visitors would like to go to a One Direction concert, and another has gotten their letter to Santa in early. There’s also been some thought provoking ‘Big Ideas’ posted, including ‘The only way to stop racism is to stop talking about it. Bringing it up isn’t letting it go’. Do you agree?
We’ve got a very busy week coming up, with the English Disco Lovers speaking this afternoon, the Private View of #SELFIE_SHOW-OFF tomorrow, Bob Bonner from London Road Fire Station speaking on Monday, Bethan Foulkes doing Live Research Tuesday – Thursday, our LGBT History Tour on Friday and Celebrating Community Spirit, our Q&A with the cast of the film Pride on Saturday. Then I’ll be off for a couple of days to recuperate before we welcome Oly Bliss for his Microresidency on 26-30 August. Phew!