Six long weeks to fill and entertain the kids is looming. But National Museums Liverpool has a fun-filled summer of events and activities planned for the whole family so there is no excuse to feel bored!
How do you create a “choose-your-own-adventure” computer game about a hidden history that was conducted in secret, out of sight and under the cover of darkness? This task was explored by five remarkable students from Belvedere Academy as they created a series of scenarios, each with choices and consequences based upon the Underground Railroad, the code name for a network of secret routes, places and people that aided fugitives in the United States escape from Slave States to Free States.
The project will be showcased on the 27th of July and the 23rd of August as part of the Museum’s 10th anniversary programme of free events and talks, including its Slavery Remembrance Day commemorations.
In this special guest blog Gemma, one of the student collaborators, shares her experience of the project:
“The project that we are working on is to create a game to show what it was like for enslaved Africans to escape using the Underground Railroad. So far we have come up with different options for the game. In this project we hope to teach people more about the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the lives of escapees. We also want to teach people that we should all be treated equally and that no one is superior to another.
“A lot of people have been involved in the creation of this project: the Belvedere Academy History Club, the International Slavery Museum Education team and the artist Hwa Young Jung of Re-Dock. We all believe that this project is very important and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is an era of history that should not be overlooked or forgotten.
“I am very interested in this project as I find history very interesting. I am particularly interested in this project as I think it is a very good way to get the message across. I believe that creating the game will attract a wide range of audiences and spread the word about the severe struggle that many enslaved Africans faced. I have most enjoyed creating my own character for the game. We looked at different resources and studied a few cases which really helped me to fully understand and enabled me to create a realistic character to feature in the learning game.
“To help us with the project, we took a trip to the International Slavery Museum. Once we got there we were taken on a very interesting tour with Yazz from the Education team where we got to see key artefacts that helped us with the game. In the Education centre we learned more about the Underground Railroad, saw more artefacts and then made our own versions of Quilt Codes which will be used in our game”.
Find out more about quilt codes in our Quilt Codes activity session on 22 July at 11am.
On the 27th of July, between 3-4pm on gallery, you can get hands on with objects from the Museum’s Underground Railroad handling collection in our first Underground Railroad handling session , where you will uncover more about how enslaved people escaped to freedom. And on the 23rd August, between 2-4pm on the Quayside Gallery, in our special Underground Railroad handling session for Slavery Remembrance Day, you can experience the computer game for yourself, as well as getting hands on with objects from the Museum’s Underground Railroad handling collection.
As we come to the final weeks of Art of Solidarity at the International Slavery Museum, an exhibition of vibrant Cuban posters from the 1960s and 70s showing solidarity with African liberation movements, we will be taking inspiration from these revolutionary Cuban poster artists to offer visitors the opportunity to participate in events that aim to further explore the capacity of art forms to be powerful tools of activism and a means to create dialogue.
Protest Through film
With DIY cinema projects such as volunteer- run Liverpool Small Cinema, Liverpool Radical Film Festival, exciting new film projects such as the Kinematic and Empty Spaces, as well as grassroots community ventures such as recent pop-up screenings with local filmmakers- including Sandi Hughes- as part of Granby Four Streets Market, it’s safe to say that our city already has an impressive legacy of DIY film programming. However, how does someone get started doing their own film screenings, licencing films or getting the word out about these types of events?
Join us on 15th July to find out, as we welcome Scalarama for the ‘I Want to be a Cinema’ workshop, designed to support anyone interested in learning how to programme, license and promote their own film events, with advice and resources from experienced film programmers, including former programmers of Liverpool Small Cinema. Participants will also be offered the chance to be involved in Scalarama film festival this year by supporting a screening or hosting their own event in a community centre, local library, business, film club or even their garden!
With their manifesto that ‘Scalarama is by everyone, for everyone, everywhere, with DIY in its veins’, Scalarama aspire to fill UK cities with film throughout the month of September, providing an opportunity for anyone to get active in their communities, showcase the films that they would like to see and frame new discussion.
International Slavery Museum will also be participating in Scalarama this year with a free screening of Selma in the Martin Luther King Jr building on 9th September 1pm, along with the chance to get hands on with a selection of civil rights objects from our Human Rights and Freedom Fights collection as well as the opportunity to view rare Black Panthers materials from our archive.
For the full programme of Scalarama events across all of our venues, click here.
Recent events have left many of us feeling that our community is increasingly vulnerable and divided. Refugee Week (19-25 June) provides us with an opportunity to create a more welcoming place to live, by coming together to celebrate people who have overcome incredible adversity.
To celebrate Refugee Week, the International Slavery Museum is hosting an exciting programme of free events and activities. Migrant Artists Mutual Aid (MaMa) will showcase the unifying force of music with a choir performance, that includes songs from member’s childhoods. MaMa Choir is a cross national network of women, mothers, migrants, artists, academics and activists who work together to campaign for justice in the migration system.
We are presenting short film screenings featuring Chasing Borders, a short film created by young people working with the BFI and Watershed Cinema. Chasing Borders is the heart-breaking story of a young person’s walk to safety. We are also screening Call Me Kuchu, a fascinating documentary highlighting the struggles of persecuted LGBT+ people in Uganda. The experiences of LGBT+ refugees can often be overlooked and many experience violent discrimination even once they have reached counties like the U.K.
For those who like to get hands on, get creative in our Faces of Change badge making workshop and help us create a refugee welcome display. This display will feature your pictures and stories of refugee experiences, including those from the Dunkirk refugee camp in France. The Dunkirk refugee camp was destroyed by a blaze this year along with the few remaining belongings and shelter that the occupants had left, though they continue to be supported by dedicated volunteer groups including Dunkirk Legal. With your help we can create a display to inspire museum visitors and to share our support with vulnerable people around the world.
Join in, learn and have fun to show that we are still a city of sanctuary.
For more information on all the Refugee Week events and activities taking place please click here.
16 February 2017 by Mitty
As part of the Sankofa Project we have started to explore Black activism in Liverpool. An activist is a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change. These words can definitely be used to describe Chief Bassey Duke Ephraim (also known as Bassey Orok Edem). I first became aware of him when speaking to the Zachary Kingdon , curator of African Collections. Zachary tells us more about Chief Bassey and his connections to Liverpool. Read more…
14 February 2017 by Sarah
Mike Tyler is the collector and architect who owns the striking array of 32 Organisation in Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (OSPAAAL) posters currently on display in our Art of Solidarity exhibition. We asked Mike what he looks for when adding to the collection:
“The bulk of my collection dates from OSPAAAL’s founding in 1966 to the mid 70s, which is referred to as the ‘Golden Period’ of Cuban poster art. It is no coincidence this was a time of great political and social unrest with the civil rights movement, Vietnam War, Watergate scandal and struggles against apartheid all providing fuel to creative fire.
Many collectors are interested in the politics whilst some have an affinity with Cuba. For me, the appeal is their artistic merit, which has long been revered in the world of both propaganda art and graphic design. In terms of desirability, there is a big collectors market for civil rights and Black power material so these posters command the highest demand. Posters featuring Che, Nixon or the more well know conflicts such as the Vietnam War have a broader appeal. Then you have the more renowned artists such as Alfredo Rostgaard, Rene Menderos, Jesus Forjans & Faustino Perez who created some of the most iconic posters.
In terms of the actual posters, given they are paper and were designed to put up on walls, that means stains, tears, holes etc are to be expected. Considering their age, the fact they even exist is impressive but for the serious collectors condition is important. Provided they aren’t too bad, I don’t mind a few scars as they show they have been used as intended. The posters were issued folded within Tricontinental magazine so for me fold-lines are a good thing as it implies they are originals rather than later print runs.
I also like to know a little about the person who owned the posters before me. To date I’ve dealt with musicians, activists, curators, journalists, TV presenters, antique book dealers and even the artists themselves. It all adds to their story.”