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National Museums Liverpool flies the flag for Human Rights

26 June 2019 by Sahar Beyad

This year marks 70 years since the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It was drafted in 1948, with no more than 50 countries getting involved – and today, we have over 190 who have co-signed this much needed legal text. And never before has this been such a vital piece of affirmation, than now in present day. When there is so much uncertainty in the world. Whether it’s politics, war, and economy – we need voices to stand up for basic rights now more than ever!

I was so happy to learn that National Museums Liverpool was taking part in the anniversary of the human right declaration. This year, to mark the occasion, artist and activist Ai Weiwei designed the flag which seems simple and unassuming at first glance, but then inspecting in detail, the footprint, which has lots of tiny white dots, actually represents those who are fleeing conflict – who are often barefoot – with nothing but the shirt (if) on their backs. It was inspired by a recent trip he took to the Rohingya refugee camp – this therefore became the symbol of the human struggle.

Ai Weiwei with the flag he designed

Across National Museums Liverpool, we have an array of programmes, events and exhibitions that give the voiceless and voice, and portray images of unity, peace and demonstrate our efforts to strive for a better world. Double Fantasy in Museum of Liverpool is just one example of this. Of course this exhibition touches upon the iconic relationship between Yoko Ono and John Lennon, but it also explores their unwavering campaign for peace. We have many response areas throughout this exhibition where we invite you, the visitor to share your messages of love, peace and solidarity.

Across the waterfront is the International Slavery Museum which serves as a permanent reminder of our unforgettable past. Currently we have the exhibition Continuing the Journey which is a media collection of oral histories, photography and film, exploring issues which affect people of African heritage, born, raised or living in Liverpool’s locality. It explores the struggle of Merseyside’s Black community to obtain racial equality and social justice from post war Britain to the 1980s.

As an organisation we encourage dialogue, and discuss the importance of universal human rights. The involvement of NML in #FlytheFlag70 is a small contribution to a bigger issue – but no involvement, however small it might be, is trivial.  The flag flies proudly on the Edmund Gardner ship.

Chris Moseley hoisting the flag on Edmund Gardner ship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://flytheflag.org.uk/ 

Our workshops for schools and groups:

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/schools-and-groups/workshops/the-legacies-of-transatlantic-slavery-ks5-plus.aspx

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/schools-and-groups/workshops/empowering-women.aspx

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/schools-and-groups/workshops/lgbt-language-and-law.aspx

John – evacuee and media star!

18 June 2019 by Kay

Our new exhibition, Blitzed: Liverpool Lives brings together dramatic images of Blitz-damaged Liverpool alongside evocative spoken memories of people who experienced the aerial bombardment first-hand. One of those people is John McEwan. John grew up in Salisbury Street, Everton and was evacuated after his family had a very close shave. John’s is one of many interviews in our Liverpool Voices archive which I spent many hours listening to and selecting highlights to be included in the exhibition.

John was invited to our press call the day before the exhibition opened to be interviewed by the local media. Just before it began I had the pleasure of showing him around the exhibition. He listened to the audio of himself in the central ‘cinema area’ and read his quote I used to bring to life a photograph of children outside of bombed homes. It brought back lots of memories for him and he was an absolute pro, recalling many experiences for Radio Merseyside, The Guide Liverpool, Liverpool Echo, Culture Liverpool, Wirral Globe etc.

Read this transcript of John’s audio in the exhibition –
“My dad would be home on leave and he heard sirens and the blackout was on and he made his way home expecting to find my mother and the three children, Betty, Tommy and myself in the air raid shelter.   When he went to the air raid shelter we weren’t there. He then went to the house and my mum was under the kitchen table, or under the dining table, with the three children.   Obviously my dad was very concerned about this. I don’t know exactly what went on other than the fact that the decision was made to evacuate us.  My mother was also pregnant at the time with my younger brother Peter, who is a year younger than myself. And as a result the three children, myself, Betty and Tommy were evacuated to St Joseph’s Children’s Home in Freshfield near Southport, and that would be sometime in 1940, in around maybe the autumn of 1940.

The reason we went more than any other, was that we lived not far from the docks.  Because if they were bombing the docks, the German planes were never allowed to go home with ammunition, they weren’t allowed to.  So they dropped the bombs on the way, you know, when they were retreating from their targets that was the natural thing for them to do.  The British pilots would do the same if they were doing a raid, partly because they had to show they had done the job and also it would be a lighter plane and it would improve their chances of getting back.  So we were in bombing range of the Liverpool docks and there were, I mean, I remember even after the war, long after the war, up to, I say to about 1950, there were bombed houses, and ‘ollers’ as we used to call them, and wasteland all round that area.  So, certainly in the street I lived in, Salisbury Street, there were three or four bombed sites, so it wasn’t a question of maybe, it was a question that you were extremely fortunate if it didn’t happen, to either you, or a relative, or a friend.”

“Peter and I were taken into this lounge and told, ‘John, Peter, this is your daddy’. Because of all the moving around we just accepted it and it was more or less like being introduced to a schoolmaster.   It was very strange, but for my dad, it was very, very emotional.”

John McEwan
Liverpool Voices Archive, Museum of Liverpool

Thank you to John and all of the contributors to the exhibition.

We are gathering memories and responses to the images and memories in the exhibition. Selected responses will be displayed in the exhibition. You can leave a reply in the comments book in the exhibition, share via Museum of Liverpool social media or come along to one of our workshops

Volunteers Week spotlight – Melissa from House of Memories

Emma (L) and Melissa (R)

Volunteers are an integral part of National Museums Liverpool, and without them, important work would not be able to take place. To celebrate Volunteers Week we are meeting more volunteers as part of a bumper Volunteer Spotlight series so we can really celebrate the different contributions that our amazing volunteers make.

National Museums Liverpool is definitely a varied place to work not only do we offer world class collections but we have award winning departments behind the scenes too. It’s probably easy to overlook the work that goes into our museums by a whole range of people from across the organisation, but I’m lucky that on my Spotlight visits I get to meet colleagues from different departments and hear about their projects. One common point that every supervisor has made is that, having a volunteer, placement student or intern helps them to appreciate their own roles more and how fortunate we are to work where we do. I know I certainly do!

Melissa is a Hope University student who is currently completing a placement with the House of Memories team whilst studying for her Museums and Heritage MA. As part of the House of Memories team she has been supporting the Happy Older People (HOP) network since March and it has enabled her meet a wide range of people, learn about the varied roles in the organisation and experience the amazing community work that is taking place. Read more…

Archaeology Twitter Conference – Call for Papers!

30 May 2019 by Vanessa

This year as part of our Festival of Archaeology celebrations we are hosting an archaeology Twitter conference! A Twitter conference means that anyone anywhere can attend and you can even catch up after the event by following our hashtag #ArchMoL19.

If you would like to submit a paper for our conference, all you need is a Twitter account and to send us your proposal. We want to find out about your favourite discoveries from Merseyside this year (2018/19). A favourite discovery could be a find or a site, but could alternatively be about a methodology, a way of working with students, or an approach to interpretation.

Read more…

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day

29 May 2019 by Karen O'Rourke

On 6 June, we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day, Normandy Landings. This was the start of the Allied forces operation to liberate Europe, which would eventually lead to the end of the Second World War. In recognition of the part played by men from the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, we are staging a small display on the first floor of the Museum of Liverpool from Saturday 25 May to Wednesday 17 July.

Two battalions from the Regiment took part. Both were allocated the role of Beach Group, which involved securing the Beach, providing cover and directing the landed troops and equipment once ashore. It also involved gathering up the dead and wounded whenever there was a lull in the German bombardment. Anyone who has seen the first few minutes of the film Saving Private Ryan will understand that being part of a Beach Group was no easy task. For our two local battalions, the 5th based at Sword Beach and the 8th based at Juno Beach, that task lasted six weeks. After this, the 8th Battalion were disbanded, while the 5th Battalion moved inland with the advancing Allied troops. For more information on the part the Regiment played in the Second World War, at D-Day, in Italy and in Burma, you can visit our City Soldiers gallery.

Our new D-Day display will focus on the story of one man; Sergeant Cyril Askew Read more…

PSS – Perspectives and partnerships: the story of a display

24 May 2019 by Kay

L to R: Lesley Dixon (Chief Executive of PSS), Sarah Nicholson (artist), Kay Jones (Curator of Urban Community History)

A newly commissioned artwork to celebrate the 100th birthday of social enterprise PSS (Person Shaped Support) has recently been unveiled in the Museum of Liverpool. The team here at the Museum work with lots of different groups and organisations to create exhibits which tell diverse stories of the city. Find out more about the Our City, Our Stories programme.

We were approached by PSS in 2018 to work in partnership to commemorate their innovative work. We were delighted to support their funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Heritage Fund). Happily, it was successful.

PSS wanted the proposed display to creatively reflect their organisation, its people and values. Read more…

Volunteer Spotlight: Amani Magdoubi

Volunteers are an integral part of National Museums Liverpool, and without them, important work would not be able to take place. As part of the Volunteer Spotlight series I am meeting up with volunteers who have been making outstanding contributions to the organisation and finding out more about the work that they do.

Amani and Jacinta

If I’m being truly honest, coming away from this month’s Volunteer Spotlight interview with Amani Magdoubi left me full of inspiration. Amani is an extremely well deserving nominee for the Spotlight, not only because of the valuable support that she offers us here at National Museums Liverpool, but for the support that she offers other organisations and communities around Liverpool.

Amani has been volunteering since she was at college and has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities that have come her way. Many of Amani’s volunteering roles have introduced her to new contacts through networking which have turned into new roles; this is how she started with us at National Museums Liverpool. Amani met a member of the Development team at the SheTrades event in Liverpool, who told her about roles within the department, this then led to Amani’s current role in the Finance team. Amani also volunteers with Tate Liverpool as part of the Tate Collective and a local women’s community group as well as roles with the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and the Sony Photography Awards to name but a very small few.

Volunteering with the Finance department has provided a great number of career development opportunities; Amani has been able to learn how to use the SAGE finance system which is something that she had previously wanted to use and gain experience in a finance, office environment. Typical day to day tasks include researching new suppliers and categorising the information, proof reading, analysing data and working with foreign currencies. Amani has played an integral part in the organisations set up of the Approval2Buy scheme, having watched the project develop, she is now tasked with facilitating communications with teams who want to use the new scheme, this has helped her get to know other people in the organisation. Amani strikes me as a meticulous individual who takes pride in her work, explaining that she wants the work that she does and the data that she handles “to be of value”.

One aspect of volunteering for National Museums Liverpool that Amani has really enjoyed has been the family-like atmosphere that she has felt from her team. She explains that everyone has been lovely and very understanding, Amani’s supervisors Sam and Jacinta have provided her with professional support and help with her CV; Amani and Sam meet regularly to discuss her development, provide feedback and any other support that she may need. It was lovely hearing how valued Amani is in her team, Sam explained that he trusts Amani to make progress and that it is a relief to have her support projects; they are able to help her to make her next career steps but she is also helping them to improve: it is mutually beneficial. The role that volunteers play is vital to the organisation and helps to make it what it is. Something that has set National Museums Liverpool a part from other places that Amani has volunteered has been the recognition programmes, such as the monthly rewards scheme that we have signed up to through THRIVE. By having a long term volunteering role, Amani explained that she feels valued, and having access to an email account makes her part of the team.

Amani’s education background is in accounting, finance and business management but has fallen into arts and culture through her volunteering roles almost accidently. She has now developed a passion for the arts which also feeds in to her interests outside of volunteering (where she finds the time I do not know), her hobbies include various crafts including sewing and she is currently enrolled on to a course to help develop skills that she can hopefully turn into an entrepreneurial project. Creativity aside, she also keeps up to date with the business world through podcasts, talks and networking.

When asked why others should volunteer Amani was incredibly poised when she explained that despite people saying “it’s not worth it” or that “it’s a waste of time”, volunteering actually helps you to develop your professional skills and is a stepping stone to help you find a your career direction. Furthermore, volunteering helps you to find your feet before you find a job, so that the world of work doesn’t seem like such a shock. Amani explained that she still plans to volunteer when she is in a job because she wants to give back.

Jacinta is an advocate for volunteers within the organisation and has always embraced embedding volunteers and those on placements within her team; Sam is here as part of the Civil Service Fast Streamers programme and this is the first time he has had supervisor responsibility and is enjoying helping Amani to develop her skills.

Sports Pages take one for the team in Racism Row

12 April 2019 by Sahar Beyad

Emy Onuora

Guest blog from Emy Onuora

(Emy Onoura is the author of Pitch Black. Emy Onuora has an MA in Ethnic Studies and Race Relations from the University of Liverpool and has lectured extensively on issues of Race and Sport within higher education)

Raheem Sterling’s willingness to put himself forward as the spokesperson for a generation of black footballers is commendable, if only in the context of previous generations of footballers who were forced to suffer racist abuse in silence, even in some cases going as far as to insist that they used racist abuse as a motivator for improved performance. His challenge to the game’s leaders and opposition fans, and support for his team mates has marked a significant shift in black footballers demand to be treated with respect and dignity, has given other players the confidence to speak out and demand change. However, it’s his focus on racist attitudes within the media that’s had the most wide-ranging impact.

Sterling highlighted how his City team-mates, one black and one white received very different treatment by the Daily Mail. Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden had each purchased a home. The headline on the Adarabioyo story read “Young Manchester City footballer, 20, on £25,000 a week splashes out on mansion on market for £2.25 million despite having never started a Premier League match.” The headline for his white team mate Foden, read “Manchester City starlet Phil Foden buys new £2m home for his mum.”

Sterling’s exposé prompted several days of hand-wringing and self-reflection from both the print and TV media. They openly wondered how it could be that they could be so discriminatory and how it was they had no or few minorities in their newsrooms or making editorial decisions. They began to throw around terms like unconscious bias and wondered what they could be done to make sports media more reflective of the range of diverse groups who love and have a stake in the game.

However, clearly missing from the debate was any detailed discussion of the role that the mainstream media plays in generating and supporting a climate of outright hostility and overt racism against immigrants, their children and grandchildren, inner-city youths, black music, black crime,  black gangs, black parents and so on and so on, all of it designed to generate click-bait and sell papers and generate advertising revenue.

Football as has been said often and quite correctly, reflects society, and the rise in racist incidents both in English and European football, is a reflection of an environment that serves to empower the far-right and racists more widely, and is fuelled by the normalising of hateful ideas, speeches and actions by mainstream politicians and mainstream and social media.

Outside the rarified environment of football, there has been a significant rise in racist violence against groups and individuals, and increased racist attacks on mosques, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, but the media’s willingness to support opposition to racism on its back pages, enables the same business-as-usual hate-filled, opinion pieces, leader comments, headlines and articles to be written about minority groups on its front pages. What’s happened, is that In football parlance, the sports departments have taken one for the team. This has allowed the blame to be shifted to sports journalism, and enable the media to state its commitment to anti-racism in football while its hostile reporting continues.

Of course, the fact that in 2019, Sterling, Danny Rose and other black footballers are still the cause of debate as to how they should be protected, reflects the fact that football’s leadership has never prioritised their duty of care, to allow them to play free from racist abuse is an indictment of the game we all love and of the society we are all a part of and have a stake in. Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, Wilfred Zaha and many other high profile and not so well-know players are doing us all a favour and reminding us that to create a society free from discrimination, requires opposition to racism not just when it concerns football, but also when it is actively fostered by those with the means and power to shape and form opinions.

Volunteer spotlight: Andrew Richardson

28 March 2019 by Rachel O'Malley

Volunteer Andrew Richardson with a regional archaeological find.

Volunteers are an integral part of National Museums Liverpool, and without them, important work would not be able to take place. As part of the Volunteer Spotlight series we will be meeting up with volunteers who have been making outstanding contributions to the organisation and finding out more about the work that they do.

For this month’s spotlight, I was able to make my way to the waterfront in the beautiful February sunshine (hopefully not too much of a distant memory by the time you read this) to meet Andrew Richardson, a Regional Archaeology volunteer who volunteers with Vanessa Oakden, Curator of Regional and Community Archaeology in National Museums Liverpool’s Archaeology departmentRead more…

From small town boy to ‘visible’ city cop – my journey explained

30 January 2019 by Kay

Christian Owens

Christian Owens

In the lead up to our OUTing the Past Festival of LGBT History at the Museum of Liverpool, 23 February, we will be sharing blogs from our wonderful speakers.

Second up is Christian Owens – Read more…



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.