New year – So what is going on?

Posted: January 1, 2013 in How to support the Project, Updates
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

BACKGROUND: I began working on a project called ‘Don’t mention the 47’ about the  relevance of the Liverpool 47 councillors, who worked with the wider trade union and community, and fought the Thatcher government and huge cuts (sounds familiar?)

It was the idea of Lisa Lonsdale some years back, who has been a close friend for over 20 years, but we didn’t get started on it till I began an MA and wanted to look beyond industrial resistance and the media. Lisa was then 6 months pregnant. (You know how a tight deadline drives you!)

We quickly arranged several interviews one month before Lisa’s baby (Joe) was born and pieced them together for some work in progress screenings in Liverpool in November 2011 and then again updated for screenings & discussion in 2012. We were given free access to Dave Sinclairs photographs,  key images from the time and of the campaign.

The first public screening of the work in progress was at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool to fit in with the City of Radicals, as it was noted that nothing about the 47 campaign in that year long cultural programme.  (Sadly their full website is no longer live but the link was to our FB invite). I ended up using my mobile phone  to document most of the discussion which I arranged for all those in the film to take part on the night.

From that night , I met some of those connected with the Liverpool Free University and  which led to a joint screening & discussion in Spring 2013 .

47 front leaflet

The Liverpool Free University representatives Britt & Penny arranged a venue, Static, and brought their own thinking, discussion and audience to the process. News From Nowhere kindly arranged to sell tickets for us, thanks to John Marstan and several Socialist Party (ex Militants) including  Tony Aitman & Lyne Wild, who were also in the film, brought people to the event and were generally supportive and insightful  from the start.

Overall we had a layered event , though not to say without its complications. Was this  ‘art’ for art sake? Hell no! Is this art? Erm, I don’t think so, I am not an artist but there are art works within the documentary, and its with art forms that we are using  to lift the lid on the story & its relevance today. (Sadly, I haven’t had the tape from the event which would have been great to see and re-listen to the discussion again and share with you.. but these things happen.)

Overall it was an important step in bringing the story and what that could mean today  to a wider audience as well as practically testing out, how we work together.

Surprisingly, we got a review from Nerve for the screening, which also builds on the audience conversation beyond those at the event. I have had other feedback including from Mike Luff, Sophie Critchlow, Leigh Andrews and fellow collaberator Lisa Lonsdale prior to this, which we developed the first work in progress from.

Before the second set of screenings in Spring 2012, I was able to get Lianne Unassa, a great friend and bright creative brain, to give me 5 (long) days of her time to update the edit. She did this over 2 weeks but added more than just ticking and changing a list of dodgy shots or add a few cutaways, she worked with me to look again at the overall structure from on outsiders point of view. What would make this easier to consume and follow? Her work and energy definately improved the film which everyone who had seen it before agreed.

Around 4 weeks after the lively Liverpool Screening, I had one arranged at the Roxy in London, just days before the local elections as that felt like a related. I will put up the discussion from that too soon.

Since then I haven’t worked on the film itself, needed time and resources and lifes bumps and grinds took priority. BUT I did hit out an email in April to the Richmix, a venue in Tower Hamlets in London to see if we could do ‘something’ with the film and Daves’ photographs there. I chose Tower Hamlets as they also had a history of working class political representation that fought cuts with the Poplar councillors.

Oliver, the programmer there, was very keen on the idea of the film and a wider exhibition of Daves’ photographs. So we now have a month long exhibition of his 80’s photographs, including that of the Liverpool 47 campaign, and our film will also be shown one evening there too! Opening Thursday 3rd May, 30 years to the day from when the 47 were elected!
The Liverpool 47 themselves,  are  now involved in creating an educational exhibition supported by Unite in Liverpool to be located inside the Unite HQ from late April too. So we will have parts of the story re-told and shared in 2 cities at the same time!

If YOU want to get involved, can contribute or have something to add, please get in touch. dontmentionthe47@gmail.com

Tweet with us:

@Dontmention47

 

WHAT WILL I DO NOW? (This is for me, to remind me, kick my own self and more!)

 

  • Draft an appeal for funds and collaboration letter to be used in union branches, trades councils etc. JAN
  • Contact Sophie Critchlow of ScriptRead East to hold a related event around our exhibition at the Richmix London in May. JAN
  • Contact Dave Sinclair to meet up and see where his photographic exhibition is at. He will have an exhibition of his 80’s which includes the 47 campaign but also the wider campaigns under Thatcher. JAN
  • Consider who can edit this project and getting more archive material. (Jan)
  • Contact Tower Hamlets Socialists to link up with this exhibition and possible events around it. JAN
  • Contact 47 and those involved in film to discuss any joint publicity or link ups.
  • Set up a Twitter account to assist in  developing a general profile for the project.
  • Hide in a cupboard, cos really this whole project scares me, as it means so much and someone more skilled with a bigger team should do it! Until then..
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