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Refugee Week: are we still a city of sanctuary?

16 June 2017 by Stef

MaMa choir performance, image from Migrant Artists Mutual Aid

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.

Half-term highlights

23 May 2017 by Megan

 

Family crafts

Half-term is fast approaching and National Museums Liverpool has a fantastic range of activities to keep the little ones busy. Read more…

Activism shapes our collections

16 February 2017 by Mitty

Taking a closer look at our activism timeline at the Sankofa project launch event.

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…

A collector’s eye: OSPAAAL posters

14 February 2017 by Sarah

Day of Solidarity with the People of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, 1968. By Berta Abelenda Fernandez. Copyright: ‘Courtesy Lincoln Cushing and Docs Populi Archive’.

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.

Day of Solidarity with the Congo, 1972 by Alfrédo Juan González Rostgaard. Copyright: ‘Courtesy Lincoln Cushing and Docs Populi Archive’.

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.”

Don’t miss our series of free events planned throughout the Art of Solidarity exhibition.

Lions, Dragons, and Mummies this half-term

10 February 2017 by Megan

Chinese New Year Celebrations at Lady Lever © Dave Jones

© Dave Jones

Join us for an action packed half term week at National Museums Liverpool. Read more…

Mike Tyler- Why I started collecting solidarity posters

25 January 2017 by Sarah

Tricontinental Conference – 3rd Anniversary, 1969 by Alfredo Juan Gonzalez Rostgaard. Copyright: Courtesy Lincoln Cushing and Docs Populi Archive.

Mike Tyler is the architect and collector who owns the fantastic array of 32 posters currently on display in our Art of Solidarity exhibition. We asked Mike how and why he started collecting these Cuban posters, designed to support freedom movements around the world:    

“I’m often asked why I started collecting Cuban posters and the truth is, it kind of just happened. As a visual person I’m drawn to design, graphics, photography, street art etc, so when I first stumbled across a batch of these posters, I could see they were something special.  Read more…

Weaving herstory

23 January 2017 by Mitty

Susan’s grandmother Helen Akiwumi (nee Ocansey) and her family

The Sankofa project aims to highlight people’s amazing collections and offer advice about how these precious histories can be preserved for future generations. Passing down information to future generations can be done in lots of ways.  A brilliant example is Helen Renner’s and her daughter Susan Goligher’s incredibly vibrant collection of textiles. Helen and Susan came up with the idea of the company Afrograph in 1985 and have exhibited their collections across the country. Here’s Susan to tell us more:

“Afrograph’s textile collection encapsulates both an oral tradition and a women’s history. Many of the textiles have been passed down through five generations of women within the family. Read more…

An archive can be your story

16 January 2017 by Mitty

To celebrate Jamaican independence a Ball was organised in Liverpool. This photograph was donated to the collections by Tayo Aluko

The Sankofa project is looking to support local Black people and communities in highlighting their stories and protecting their histories for generations to come – and we want you to get involved! Heritage consultant Heather Roberts tells us why archives are so important and can be made by anyone:

“Archives aren’t just boxes of dusty paper in ye olde handwriting. Archives, basically, are just evidence. They are evidence of something or someone from the past, which you want to remember for the future.

Leaflets and posters of community activist groups and their events are certainly archives. As are minutes of meetings and annual reports of a community organisation. Newspaper clippings about local activism and activists certainly help shape the story, too.  Read more…

Curator’s view: Art of Solidarity

13 January 2017 by Sarah

Day of Solidarity with the People of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, 1968. By Berta Abelenda Fernandez. Copyright: ‘Courtesy Lincoln Cushing and Docs Populi Archive’.

Today we are pleased to open our new exhibition at the International Slavery Museum, ‘Art of Solidarity: Cuban posters for African liberation 1967 – 1989’. We asked curator Stephen Carl-Lokko to tell us what to expect:  Read more…

Activism and archives

23 November 2016 by Mitty

exploring Liverpool's Black history at a Sankofa event

I’ve been given a really exciting opportunity to work on the Sankofa project, which aims to support Black communities in Liverpool with looking after their precious objects and materials and hopefully making this material more accessible.

This task, as well as being incredibly exciting, is also quite daunting. Many of you might already be aware that Liverpool has the oldest Black community in Europe but what evidence is there of this? And what information do we have about more recent migrations of people of the African diaspora to Liverpool? Read more…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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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.