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Sankofa news

24 July 2017 by Laura

Women on a stall

The team were at Africa Oye in June, spreading word about the project

Project Curator, Mitty Ramagavigan updates us on the latest news from the Sankofa project: Read more…

The sun always shines at National Museums Liverpool!

24 July 2017 by Megan

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!

Read more…

Uncover the secrets of the Underground Railroad – with computers!

20 July 2017 by Sarah

This is a secret symbol or quilt code to communicate ‘safe house’. It will be included in the Underground Railroad computer game. Credit: Belvedere Academy History Club

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 27 July and 23 August as part of the Museum’s 10th anniversary programme of free events and talks, including its Slavery Remembrance Day commemorations Read more…

Cuba and its propaganda posters

6 July 2017 by Andrew Bullock

Image of a woman holding a gun.

Day of Solidarity with the People of Guinea-Bissau & Cape Verde, 1968 By Berta Abelénda Fernández

The Caribbean island of Cuba has produced more propaganda in support of oppressed peoples than any other nation on earth. But why? Read more…

Art of Activism – free cinema workshop

30 June 2017 by Stef

Join us on 15th July for Scalarama’s ‘I Want to be a Cinema’ workshop designed to support anyone interested in running their own film events

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?  Read more…

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.

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.  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…



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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.