Three international conferences from September 2014 to September 2015

Design History Society Conference, Design for War and Peace, 4-6 September 2014, University of Oxford

On day one of the 2014 Design History Society conference Design for War and Peace our paper was presented: ‘Remaking Picasso’s Guernica as a banner. A work of art; an act of protest.’ Megha Rajguru and I presented the banner and spoke about the project. We were part of a panel entitled: Textiles of Peace and Protest, which included two other papers: Marilyn Cohen’s Dressed to Dissent: ‘Catch 22’ Clothing and Clementine Power’s The AIDS Memorial Quilt: Mourning an On-going War. We spoke about the motivation and collective process of making the banner. Time was also spent focusing on the materials we used in the banner and here is an excerpt from the paper discussing these fabrics:

“In the remaking, we have used materials such as Khadi and Keffiyeh, both fabrics of activism. Mahatma Gandhi introduced Khadi during the colonial struggles in India to boycott imported textiles and ultimately promote Swadeshi or home rule. Khadi was homespun and handwoven to make fabric for clothing, which became an important collective act of protest 1. We have used Khadi in the making of the homes and buildings depicted in Guernica. It makes a poetic link with Gandhi’s campaign for home rule.

The banner had travelled to Ahmedabad in Gujarat for the 2013 Design History Society conference. Ahmedabad is home of Gandhi’s non-violent movement, and of the fabric Khadi. These facts propelled us to take the banner to the city and conduct a sewing in the grounds of the National Institute of Design, where students still weave Khadi fabric.

Part of the bull’s body is also made in Khadi. The bull is sometimes interpreted as signifying fascism and at other times is thought to represent activism. Interestingly in contemporary India, Khadi is an icon of Indian nationalism, and yet it also fluctuates between an association with Swadeshi (home rule) that Gandhi fought for, and post independence political corruption. Dipesh Chakrabarty writing in 2001 in the journal of Postcolonial Studies highlights this paradox when discussing Khadi’s presence in public life in India as: “a semiotic of ‘corruption’ […] that […] once read ‘purity’ and ‘renunciation’ and now [reads] as corruption and thievery.”

 Another shape on the banner that incorporates a textile with political significance is the dying soldier. As a collective we discussed the dying soldier with his broken sword in Picasso’s painting, and we decided to make him a Palestinian, using a Keffiyeh, which is a widely recognised fabric employed as a form of protest by Palestinians from the1960s. The soldier holds an olive branch, which symbolizes peace – but also calls up the thousands of ancient olive trees bulldozed from Palestinian farmers’ lands in order to build more than 400,000 Israeli settler homes.

On the body of Picasso’s horse we decided to draw tiny figures, to represent the uncounted and unnamed people killed in drone attacks.

We have also introduced some colour to an essentially monochromatic image, alluding to racial diversity manifest in the shapes of the mother and the dead baby.

These complex layers of meanings and metaphors represented by the various shapes and fabrics, bring together elements of historic and contemporary politics. This often provokes discussion on the connections between aerial bombardments of civilian populations from the past with more recent atrocities.”

Notes:

[1] Susan S. Bean “Gandhi and Khadi: the Fabric of Indian Independence in The Textile Reader edited by Jessica Hemmings (London:Berg, 2012) 234-246, for discussion upon community see page 243.

2 Chakrabarty, D 2001, ‘Clothing the Political Man: A Reading of the Use of Khadi/White in Indian Public Life’, Postcolonial Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 27-38, see page 88 for discussion upon Khadi and corruption.

 Megha Rajguru and Nicola Ashmore

 

Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Violence Research Cluster, Complicity Conference, 31 March – 1 April 2015, University of Brighton. 

Inspired by the experience of collectively remaking Picasso’s Guernica as a protest banner, I began researching other collaborative remakings of Picasso’s Guernica. I presented my research findings at the Complicity Conference. The paper was titled: ‘Action, Collaboration and Creation: Remakings of Picasso’s Guernica as an Antidote to Complicity’. The idea for this paper developed from Pablo Picasso’s refusal to allow his painting Guernica to go to Spain until a democratically elected government was in place. The painting marks the moment in the Spanish Civil war (1936-1939) when the civilian population of Gernika suffered a devastating aerial attack on the 26th April 1937 by the fascist forces of Europe (Germany, Italy and Spain) ordered by the Spanish fascist dictator General Francisco Franco. Franco consciously used art to reinforce his nationalistic rhetoric. Picasso was adamant he was not going to allow Guernica to be complicit in Franco’s rule and prohibited the painting from going to Spain until “a genuine Spanish republic had been restored.” Consequently, Guernica did not go to Spain until 1981.

The paper I presented brought together three remakings of Guernica as antidotes to a prescribed state of complicity present within democratic society. The remakings, through their acts of protest, expose the underlying violence in relations of power. A common thread found in all three remakings is the artistic opposition to governments which chose to sacrifice civilian populations to pursue their own agendas; each one rejects a state of complicity with a government’s action.

London-based Polish artist Goshka Macuga’s The Nature of the Beast (2009) contests the 2003 US led Iraq invasion; The Keiskamma Guernica (2010) made by people from villages in the Eastern Cape of South Africa challenges the government’s refusal to comprehensively respond to the HIV and Aids epidemic in this area; and Remaking of Picasso’s Guernica as a Protest Banner (2013) makes connections between historic and current government- led aerial attacks on civilian populations, through its presence at protests against the bombing of Gaza, and outside the EDO MBM Ltd weapons component factory in Moulscoomb, Brighton, that supplies the Israeli military in the summer of 2014.

Picasso once said, “every act of creation is first an act of destruction”. The remakings of Guernica presented in this paper embody this phenomenon and reveal an important, and ongoing, dialogue that links art and activism, and rejects a state of complicity with governments which are responsible for suffering.

Nicola Ashmore

 

Design History Society Conference: “How we live and How we might live”, 11-13 September 2015, California College of the Arts, San Francisco.

On day three of the Design History Society conference “How we live and How we might live” I presented a paper entitled: “International Remakings of Picasso’s Guernica: Action, Collaboration and Creation.” Since Picasso’s creation of Guernica, the painting has been reproduced and recreated in many forms, traversing the confines of fine art and moving into the world of design. Picasso himself ensured that Guernica would circulate far and wide, in the form of a postcard.

This paper focused upon two remakings of Guernica in the form of large-scale tapestries; they are considered here as a manifestation of design as resistance. It is the process of collaborative creation and the intended and actual usage that renders these remakings a challenge to “How we live” and an exploration of “How we might live.” The remakings, through their acts of protest, expose the underlying violence in relations of power concerning specific instances of government action. London-based Polish artist Goshka Macuga’s The Nature of the Beast (2009) contests the 2003 US-led Iraq invasion. Macuga’s exhibition featured the Rockefellor Guernica tapestry as a backdrop to a bookable and free public meeting space. Macuga’s display notably drew attention to the literal cover-up of the tapestry whilst exhibited in the UN headquarters in 2003, in preparation for Colin Powell’s speech on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that signalled the invasion. The Keiskamma Guernica (2010) tapestry made by people from the villages in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, challenges the government’s refusal to comprehensively respond to the HIV and Aids epidemic in this area. A common thread found in both these works is the creative opposition to governments which chose to sacrifice civilian populations in pursuit of their own agendas; both pieces reject a state of complicity with a government’s action.

Nicola Ashmore

 

 

 

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Travels to Canada, September 2015

Edmonton in Canada was the final destination of this research trip into collective remakings of Picasso’s Guernica. I visited the play write Erika Luckert’s family home to look through the materials she had kept from the production of the play she had written based on her characterisation of the people depicted in Picasso’s Guernica. I interviewed the plays Stage Manager of the Guernica Canadian tour, Gillian Bird and the Designer of the play, Kevin Boyer. I also met with Anne Fanning to see the small scale Keiskamma Guernica that hangs in the University of Alberta in Edmonton created by the Keiskamma Art Project, I visited in July 2015 in Hamburg, South Africa.

I took the Guernica banner with me when I travelled to share our experience of collectively remaking Picasso’s Guernica. This really helped connect us as makers, enabling a sharing of motivations, practices and interpretations.

The interviews carried out on this trip are going to be released online over a year between April 2016 and April 2017 through the research projects website: Guernicaremakings.com. An exhibition of the four remakings in this research will be on display in March / April 2017 in Brighton, UK, timed to mark the 80th year from the bombing of the town of Gernika.

Nicola Ashmore

Travels to America and Canada, September 2015

From South Africa the banner travelled on to America and Canada in September 2015. Continuing the international research into collective remakings of Picasso’s Guernica I went to New York, Montreal and Edmonton. In New York Joe Hague (co-cameraman) and I met with, and interviewed, the Canadian writer Erika Luckert, who wrote Guernica the play. Whilst in New York we also visited the UN headquarters to see the Rockefeller Guernica with Cynthia Altman, curator at Kykuit, of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Travelling overland by train from New York, Joe and I continued on to Montreal to meet the Director of Guernica the play, Jon Lachlan-Stewart.

Nicola Ashmore

Travels to South Africa, July 2015

In February 2015, I was awarded funding from the University of Brighton to further develop my research into collective remakings of Picasso’s Guernica. This research connects activity in: America, Canada, France, India, Spain, South Africa and the UK. It incorporates four remakings of Guernica, including three large-scale textiles pieces. These are the Remaking of Picasso’s Guernica as a banner created in the UK and India; the Rockefeller Guernica tapestry made in France but on long-term loan to the UN headquarters in New York; this was used in Goshka Macuga’s exhibition The Nature of the Beast (2009) at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, UK and finally the Keiskamma Guernica created in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. A remaking of Guernica as an archive of political activity in the East End of London is also present. This archive was developed throughout the one-year duration of Goshka Macuga’s exhibition The Nature of the Beast (2009 – 10), through the documentation of the use of the meeting space created in the gallery. Also included in this research is a remaking of Guernica as a theatrical production, written by Canadian playwright Erika Luckert.

In July 2015, I travelled to South Africa, to the coastal village of Hamburg where the Keiskamma river meets the ocean. I stayed for two weeks, the first of which I spent talking to people, gaining an insight into the workings of the Keiskamma Trust and its different areas of activity, which include Art, Health, Education, and Music. Spending time with people involved with the Trust in this way was a very powerful and moving experience; I was made to feel very welcome. In the second week I began to film interviews with some of those involved in the workshops that surrounded the making of the large scale Keiskamma Guernica (2010), as well as the people who participated in its making and in the creation of the three smaller-scale Keiskamma Guernicas that have since been created. I took the banner with me on this trip, which was incredibly helpful. It created an opportunity to compare the banner with the Keiskamma Guernica to reflect upon our differing approaches, interpretations and adaptations of Picasso’s Guernica.

Nicola Ashmore

Thoughts on Remaking Picasso’s Guernica from the comments book at the exhibition at Pallant House. 2 February – 15 February 2015

In the last two weeks of the exhibition of the banner at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, we left a comments book inviting people to share their thoughts with us. Here is a selection; we have used initials to maintain peoples privacy:

“I am a Spanish citizen, whose family, like that of many others, got broken (hearted) by the Spanish Civil War. Seeing the Guernica painting remade here, so far from my country move me to tears. Thanks to all those British, Americans etc who came to Spain to fight for the lawful cause of the Spanish Republic. No pasaran!” KM

“It’s a beautiful remake and Picasso would be proud of it I certainly am!”

“My father Sam Wild went from Manchester to fight in the Spanish Civil War. He would love this tapestry.” DW

“Yet another wonderful surprise at Pallant House. Love the reworking of Guernica.” A L

“Excellent idea and brings a new perspective to Picasso’s original. Really like the whole tapestry. “

“A brilliant idea. Good to sit and study it and remember the original.”

“Wonderful stitchery – and a reminder for us all in the current unsettled world.”

“Very fine and beautifully interpreted. A wonderful collective project – a surprise and delight.” SB

“Keeping history alive for future generations. No pasaran!”

“Important and inspiring. Credit to Roland Penrose for first bringing it here!”

“Guernica remade caused me to re-examine and rethink. Thank you.” R

“A wonderful protest piece and so sad that we are still fighting for the same things all these years later. Thank you for a wonderful exhibition.” ES

“An excellent idea and an inspiration! There is something very poignant about this re-imagining /re-creating Picasso’s Guernica – and to include the Palestinian Keffiyeh (scarf) brings home to me that our struggles against oppression, racism and war continue in 2015.” DS

“Very inventive and powerful work – one wonders about all the conversations that took place while making it. Picasso’s painted Guernica made a few days after the bombing of that town when his passions rage, war at the forefront. This piece took place over weeks, by many people. It’s a different process and thus a very different image. It’s so interesting, thank you! MR

“I am proud to have played a small part in this powerful piece of living art.” SH

“I like the subtle additions / changes small signs of hope like the clouds and the olive branch and the inclusion of other people suffering in the world today i.e. the Palestinians.” JK

“Thought provoking and well researched, balanced and interesting throughout, please bring this exhibit to London where a lot of Basque expats live – thank you.” PB

“Treats! and cheers for bringing the “remaking” of Picasso’s banner” to IBMT Manchester and how serious and important to increase public awareness of the increasing use of drones. Uplifting for the heart and mind and great to make the connection with your combined work congratulations. Very best wishes for further projects.” LT

Meridian TV cover the opening of Conscience and Conflict at Pallant House

GuernicaSo the banner has arrived at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, where it is hanging in homage to the enduring power and relevance of Picasso’s great work, Guernica, which he created in outrage at the testing of aerial weaponry in bombardments upon civilians during the Spanish Civil War. This powerful and moving exhibition brings together for the first time works made by British artists as premonitions, warnings and campaign materials to send aid to Spanish republicans and alert the British people to the the creep of militaristic fascism.

In this Meridian TV clip, Asana Greenstreet gives a flavour of the exhibition and its importance as a reminder of the horror of war during Remembrance Week. The clip also contains an interview with Erminio Martinez, one of the four thousand children evacuated from Spain to Southampton, where they were welcomed by Britain as refugees from war, never to see their families again.

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2014-11-10/art-shows-the-human-cost-of-conflict/

Cuba Solidarity Campaign: Talk in Brighton

On 3rd November, collective member Jenny Engledow and I gave a talk to the Cuban Solidarity Campaign (CSC) in the Pelham Room at the Brighthelm Centre. This was the first time I’d seen the banner completed, following Jenny’s final hand-finishing.  Jenny has made tapes, cut to size from the piece of cloth we’ve been using as a protective layer each time we wrap, fold and put away the banner.  She’s hand-stitched these onto the reverse of the entire outside edge of the bannerm to strengthen it.  Jenny has added a machine sewn tube, or socket, made from this same fabric, to the length of the top edge of the banner, in order to enable a length of wood to be inserted whenever the banner is hung in a gallery or public space.  So now it’s ready to be hung at the Pallant House exhibition.  Jenny’s accomplished stitching has ensured that the blanket stitches on the edges of the banner, each one of which has been made by a member of the public at one of our public sewings, remain intact and visible.

The CSC talk was an opportunity for us to consider how to display the banner in a smaller public space with no facilities for hanging.  Members of the audience volunteered to support Jenny and me when the time came for us to display the banner for our talk.

The evening began with a talk by two members of the International Brigades Memorial Trust  (IBMT).  Con Fraser spoke about her work in England with the International Brigades.  Con and her husband Harry, who had fought in Spain, worked for many years honouring the memories of those who fought and died fighting Fascism.  It was extremely moving to hear the strong, clear voice of Con recounting her memories.

Then followed a talk from Pauline Fraser on the participation of Cubans in the Spanish Civil War.  A volunteer with the Marx Memorial Library, Pauline has assisted in sourcing photographs and documents for the forthcoming Conscience and Conflict Exhibition at Pallant House, for which the IBMT is also one of the sponsors.

Pauline told us about the Cuban Brigadier, Evelio Aneiros.  She and Con had met Evelio shortly before his death in 2001, and in a very moving gesture, Evelio gave them a signed copy of his book, ‘Cuba en Espagne’ which was published in 1990 by Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, Havana. In this, the courage and determination of the Cubans who fought in Spain between 1936 and 1939 is documented.  The story of the Cuban Brigades is one that is little known and it was moving to see the copy of the Brigadier’s book: the texture of the paper and the design on the cover embodying a time and place of which we in the west are told little in the media. Con will be writing an article on the Brigades for the next CSC newsletter.
There was a discussion of the proud heritage of Cuban aid for those who are oppressed and dispossessed by war, famine, disaster or outbreaks of disease. This continues today:  Cuba has sent 248 doctors and healthcare professionals to Sierra Leone to treat Ebola patients in Liberia and Guinea.  According to Jose Luis Di Fabio, the World Health Organisation representative on Cuba: ‘Cuba has provided the numbers and the people.  There are more human resources from Cuba than from many, many NGOs [non-governmental organisations] put together.”

Jenny and I enjoyed doing the talk together – we agreed afterwards how pleasant it is to be able to call upon one another’s knowledge and interests as the talk unfolds, so that we can be more engaging. Members of the CSC group aupported us in holding the banner so that all could see, and they were a rewarding audience for us, with their intent awareness of the spread of militarism and fascism throughout the world today.  For them, Picasso’s painting is a living embodiment of resistance to this, and, as we talked of the collaborative work we had devoted to making the banner, there were many discussions about art and politics.

Maude Casey

Sewing together at Pallant House: October 2014

2014-10-19 14.33.38Pallant House Gallery in Chichester offered us two days for public sewings. This welcoming invitation was a perfect opportunity for us to finish the banner, ready to hang in Pallant’s forthcoming Conscience and Conflict Exhibition which opens tomorrow. For these final sewings, we had some highly skilled stitchers among us, who worked confidently and were interested in technique. For most of our public sewings, many of us have been novice stitchers, and we have learnt to observe our own frustrations on occasion, as we struggle to insert a needle through three layers of cloth, or try to work out the best way to attach a slippery or fugitive piece of fabric onto the banner without fraying the edges, for example.  At Pallant House, we were frequently captivated by the work being done by hand, as people stood or sat over the cloth, talking together about technique and also about politics – for the banner embodies something you could call the political, or the process of collective resistance to power, by remaking something with hope.

One stitcher spoke to us as she was leaving.  She told Megha Rajguru that it wasn’t until much later into her sewing that she’d realised she was working on the Kuffiyeh fabric.  She told us that she was raising funds for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign the following Sunday – and apologised for not being there for the Sunday sewing event.  She’d started making connections between what she was doing for the Palestinian people, and the meaning of the banner, after she’d recognised the fabric. Another told us of the trip he had taken many years ago, with his students from Christ’s Hospital,  along the Camina of the pilgrimage of Santiago da Compostela, threading their way across the summits and valleys of the Pyrenees in the Basque country, as he thought about the Republican resistance to Franco.

Some of the stitchers have been embroidering or stitching for years.  Susan Fletcher came with members of the Seffrid Guild, who have been conserving the ancient textiles in Chichester Cathedral, restoring fine work in threads of silk and gold. Susan and the group also create new embroideries for the cathedral, including a set of kneelers for the Lady Chapel. As is usual in the public sewings, people whose skills were more hesitant were soon included in the whole, with kind and generous explanation and practice. Quite a few people told us that Chichester is a Transition Town, one of a network of towns around the country where, for years, people have been collectively working to create a local transition from  individualistic, wasteful, fossil-fuel-based economies into those which are gentler, less harmful and more collaborative.

Some of the stitchers belong to the Sew Don’t throw initiative which regularly meets to make things from scraps, recycled and upcycled materials, sharing skills from within the groups which meet.  They told us about making bunting for Arundel Artists’ Trail from old parachutes, and dog beds from old fleeces. Nothing is thrown away. People with embroidery skills sewed over the tiny figures of people which months ago we had drawn with a pen onto the body of the dying horse, in order to try to represent the thousands of frequently un-named people killed in aerial bombardments of civilian populations. French knots were used for the heads in some cases, and chain stitch experiments made some of the bodies and limbs. We began to attach the nipples of the striding woman, representative of the resilience, hope and nurturing which is a female version of  strength and power. We discussed how we were going to do the final pieces of sewing: strengthening the edges, and creaing a socket or tube along the top edge, so that the banner can be finished and prepared for the exhibition hang.

Among us were stitchers who are volunteer stewards for the gallery, and who belong to Pallant’s Partners in Art Scheme, part of Pallant’s award winning Learning and Community Programme. This scheme partners people with special needs with teams of artists, in order to create and exhibit work, as well as making the work in the galleries accessible and inclusive. We were able to share our different ways of working – some people like to sew from left to right; some from right to left. Some of us like to remain standing while others like to sit and become absorbed in the work before our eyes. Some of us prefer to stitch in light, others in dark, colours. We discussed the process of sewing the centre of the banner, where sometimes we have to climb onto it, or lie across it. The Partners in Arts scheme has generated  warmth, and confidence has undoubtedly grown from this, in contexts which the Pallant has provided in order to enable people to develop their practice as artists in relationships with one another.

The sewings took place on Friday 17th and Sunday 19th October. On Saturday 18th, BBC Radio Sussex interviewed collective member Megha Rajguru. On the Sunday, we worked with people who had been moved to come and sew together as a result of having heard the broadcast the day before.  As collective member Nicola Ashmore has said:  Working collectively, sitting together, cutting, stitching and sticking, has led to a great deal of sharing. A dialogue has unfolded that involves an exchange of individuals’ experiences of sewing; Picasso’s Guernica; activism and current aerial bombardments of civilian populations. Through public sewings like this one,  this important dialogue has continued, involving hundreds of people, recorded in the stitches that hold the banner together.

Maude Casey

To Gypsyland: 198 gallery, Brixton

IMG_1929Working with Delaine LeBas is always a collective call to imagination and action. With her fellow artist and  co-curator Barby Asante, who is also the curator of 198 Gallery, Delaine has taken her ongoing studio practice and archive project To Gypsyland  far and wide, throughout the UK and Europe. In each place she has paused, to gather a diversity of histories of making, adapting, being resourceful and occupying space. These histories may be verbal and intangible as well as in material forms: textiles; stitching; patterns; metal work; fugitive objects and signs.

Gypsies, Roma and Travellers continue to be objects of vilification and abuse owing to ignorance: the casual racism directed at them is perceived by those making it as not even being racist. Delaine’s work raises awareness. The mythical ‘land of the gypsies’  in people’s imaginations is frequently a pastoral place of romance, colour, music and dance, onto which we project our own lost fortune-telling, carnival and ludic spaces. Delaine’s work addresses the fact that today most Gypsies are pushed to marginalised urban land – land which is frequently too contaminated by landfill to be used for housing; land which is near tips and on the verges of motorways. Likewise, the homeless and the refused asylum seekers gather in these places where no-one goes.

In  To Gypsyland,  Delaine makes space around her and invites people in. People work collectively, using their imagination to create safe spaces, usually  in the midst of cruel and vicious danger.  The marginal becomes the liminal: the transformative place of entry into other dimensions. These are spaces in which human interaction and the humane can, not only survive, but thrive.  Delaine herself embodies her practice and by her example she has inspired people to heed the call of theirs.

For the public sewing in Brixton, we are accompanied by Rachael Adams, who has worked with Delaine in the past. Rachael has supported our project with her sensitive IT skills, and she took the photographs for this post. Rachael has shared with us her family connection with the military, and its impact on all their lives.  Today, we are not ourselves in immediate peril, but we are all aware of the people of Gaza, and of the in excess of fifty million refugees – half of them children – moving around the planet today, facing present danger in their search for asylum. We are aware of the Romani children today, being  taken away from their mothers; of the Romani mothers being sterilised at the moment they give birth, and of the Romani people, expelled from France and now being rounded up into camps in Eastern Europe. We are acutely aware of the immediate connections between the fascism of the 1930s and the fascisms still dangerously prowling the world today, fed by vested interests.

We share stories with Barby about the inviva project: ‘Baldwin’s Nigger’ Reloaded, which she is co-curating with sorryyoufeeluncomfortable at Rivington Place, Shoreditch next week. This extraordinarily timely project will screen and reflect upon Horace Ove’s film of the talk James Baldwin gave at the West Indian Student Centre in London in 1969, in which so much of what he says is intensely relevant today. The film is on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryuAW_gnjYQ

We also share stories with Calum Kerr, who, with his partner Miyuki Kasahara, in May 2013 made a piece of work for DeCentreDer Space (Marseille): Rhone Nuclear Routes & the Folklore of Cutural Capital. Calum and Miyuki walked the length of the ‘nuclear corridor’ along the Rhone valley in France, linking the five nuclear power plants and fifteen nuclear power stations  and recording their experience in sound, image and ephemeral means. Calum told us about the ‘Tarasque’ – the mythical dragon-like creature from the region, trapped in a cave – which he likens to the unstoppable force of nuclear power, with which the French government has fallen in love, as St Martha did with the dragon, releasing it from its fastness, and letting it out into the world. The French company EDF is one of the UK’s biggest electricity providers – althought now in the UK there are a number of green providers who already sell 100% green electricity and who are rapidly developing the technology to make gas from waste.

Jann from The Caravan Gallery is inspiring also, telling us about the forthcoming Pride of Place tour, in which the caravan will host a touring exhibition of photographs from the “Is Britain Great?” archive, along with a selection of images curated by local people in each area.

Of particular note once more is the fact that whenever people sit down together to sew and talk, shared histories of war and the effects of war and militarism begin to loop and weave, connecting us all in an astonishing web of intersectionalities. Delaine’s dedication to this process of gathering yarns and threads is one which we share. It is a process that resists the dominance of the power structures which seek to diminish and undermine us. It’s a process which makes every voice and every stitch count.

Maude Casey