Artist Ian Beesley, cartoonist Tony Husband and poet Ian McMillan, have worked with people with dementia and their carers to create a series of sixteen large banners that draw on the rich tradition of political banners highlighting inequalities, to campaign for a better understanding and representation of people living with dementia. The Unfurlings banners will go on display at People’s History Museum, where the world’s largest collection of political and trade union banners is held from Monday 16 December 2019 to Sunday 19 January 2020.
The ‘A Life More Ordinary’ project originated from research led by the University of Exeter, which aims to support people to live as well as possible with dementia. Through the project, the artists have worked with a number of groups affected by dementia around the country, including in Kent, Oldham, Preston, Exeter, York, Leeds, Bradford and Scarborough, with each area taking a different approach tailored to the group.
The idea of focusing on banners originated with a group the project worked with in York, which campaigns for better support for those living with dementia who travel by public transport.
Artist Ian Beesley says, “The banner that the York group created was so striking and so effective that all our other groups wanted to create their own banners. Banners are powerful symbols of self-reliance and tangible proof of existence and as such have proved to be a fantastic way of articulating many of the problems faced by people living with dementia.”
The ‘A Life More Ordinary’ project is led by Professor Linda Clare at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with Innovations in Dementia, and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It is part of the wider IDEAL programme (Improving the Experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life). IDEAL is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), and Alzheimer’s Society.
Professor Linda Clare from the University of Exeter says, “It’s wonderful to see the culmination of this project, which is part of our research with the key goal of supporting people to live as well as possible with dementia. Both the artists and the people affected by dementia have done an incredible job in coming together to create content that challenges the public perception of dementia as a downward spiral from diagnosis. We hope people will see the banners and ask themselves whether they can understand the needs of people with dementia better, and support them in their needs.”
Martyn Rogers, Age UK Exeter’s Chief Executive, says, “It has been fantastic for the project to have the input of three such great creative talents. Together they have looked, listened and reflected the difference our Budding Friends service makes to the lives of its members and have created this remarkable banner as a lasting reminder of the fun, joy and shared support the project offers.”
The exhibition opens at People’s History Museum in Manchester, the national museum of democracy, before touring the UK for two years.
Mark Wilson, Exhibitions Officer at People’s History Museum, says, “Banners are a medium that prompts so much creativity, consideration and collaboration that it is fantastic to see how they’ve featured at the heart of this project. We are delighted that The Unfurlings banners are going on display at People’s History Museum so that visitors can discover the fascinating story behind the beautiful work that has been created.”
For further information on The Unfurlings visit https://phm.org.uk/exhibitions/the-unfurlings-a-banner-display/
People’s History Museum is open seven days a week, usually from 10.00am to 5.00pm. The museum and its exhibitions are free to enter with a suggested donation of £5. To find out about visiting the museum, its full exhibitions and events programme visit phm.org.uk.
For further information about The Unfurlings exhibition please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org 07976 395109
A selection of images can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l535mlljr2fapai/AADlrDeyb2xNb15ouDKBdUZIa?dl=0
For further information about the IDEAL programme please see: www.IDEALproject.org.uk
IDEAL is funded by ESRC and NIHR though grant number ES/L001853/2 and as an Alzheimer’s Society Centre of Excellence through grant number 348 (AS-PR2-16-001).
About People’s History Museum (PHM)
People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future. The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; ideas such as equality, social justice, co-operation, and a fair world for all. PHM offers a powerful programme with annual themes; 2018 looked at representation and commemorated 100 years since the first women and all men won the right to vote in Britain, 2019 sees a year of activities around protest movements to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, and the programme for 2020 will be on the theme of migration. Previous winner of Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award.
People’s History Museum is open seven days a week, from 10.00am to 5.00pm, Radical Lates are on the second Thursday each month, open until 8.00pm. The museum and its exhibitions are free to enter with a suggested donation of £5. To find out about visiting the museum, its full exhibitions and events programme visit phm.org.uk.
The University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university that combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 21,000 students and is in the top one per cent of universities worldwide. Exeter is also ranked 10th in the Guardian University Guide 2020 and 14th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the University ranked 16th nationally, with 98% of its research rated as being of international quality, while in 2017, Exeter was awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessment. Exeter was named The Times and The Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2015-16, in recognition of excellence in performance, education and research. Exeter was The Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13.
The University launched its flagship Global Systems Institute in 2018, a world-class, interdisciplinary community of researchers, students, citizens and partners that will solve global challenges through transformative research and education. This follows recent investments of more than £350 million worth of new facilities across its campuses in recent years; including the Living Systems Institute in 2016 in Exeter, and the Environment and Sustainability Institute on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, together with new student services hubs, and new facilities for Biosciences, the Business School and Renewable Energy.
The Unfurlings exhibition opens at People’s History Museum on Monday 16 December 2019 to Sunday 19 January 2020 before touring the country for the next two years to:
The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, Preston
Bradford Industrial Museum
Salts Mill, Saltaire
Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds
Full details of all exhibitions can be found at www.theunfurlings.org.uk