On Saturday, I facilitated a workshop to engage young people from the Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation with the Legacy of Ahmed project. After a look at some posters from the Race Relations Resource Centre archive and an interesting discussion about their own experiences of racism participants produced some amazing posters. Thanks to staff at Longsight Library and to artists Jo Ford and Natalie Linney for leading the screen printing class. Thanks too to Archives+ for funding the activity.

I learnt about Ahmed and the courageous initiatives of his family. It made me think how we ‘evolved’ today and that we should always make others aware of racism. Teenage participant

The best day of my life!  Amelia, age 5

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For the past few weeks I’ve been sourcing, adapting and embellishing children’s dressing up costumes for a forthcoming exhibition at Gallery Oldham. ‘Watercolours from the Lees Collection’ features some of the Gallery’s most treasured artworks and runs from 19th Nov 2016 to 15th April 2017.

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Fri 14th Oct would have been Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’s 44th birthday. The Legacy project marked the occasion by launching a commemorative exhibition at Manchester Central Library.  In spite of restrictions that meant we couldn’t mark the walls in the Library’s Performance Space, so had to come up with inventive ways to mount and dismantle exhibition material in just one day, we got there! Displays for the event included window panels, banners, cases of archive material, text panels and a book. Around 120 guests attended the event, with speeches delivered by Councillor Lufther Rahman, Selina Ullah and Professor Lou Kushnick.

A smaller display continues in the Lower Ground floor community exhibition space until Jan 2017. To find out more about the Legacy project and The Ahmed Iqbal Education Trust click here.

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Yesterday I spent the second of two Saturdays running art workshops for families in Rochdale. The first weekend we made Victorian thaumatropes (basic animation comprised of 2 drawings on either side of a spinning disc) while battling the wind in an open-sided gazebo. The second weekend we made artists’ books in the warmth of Touchstones Museum, while the rain lashed down in torrents outside.

Intrepid families braved the weather to get involved and made some really fantastic work.Thaumatrope picture combinations included a fish and a net, a bee and a flower, a swimmer and the sea and a fish and a unicorn! Topics for books ranged from secret codes to life cycles, diaries and The Great War. Thanks to everyone who took part.

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For this year’s Manchester Day Parade on Sunday, Glenys Walsh and I produced a banner celebrating the first time that 1 million volts of electricity were generated. This feat of electrical engineering was achieved by Ferranti at his factory in Hollinwood in 1925. The theme was selected to celebrate Manchester’s role as ‘European City of Science 2016’.

CommunityShowcase2016-4We’ve had an interesting week, with lots of events taking place at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre as part of the Manchester Histories Festival. Look out for our stall at the Town Hall this Saturday…

‘Absence and Presence’ is a printmaking response to the bombing of the bookseller’s quarter, Al Mutanabbi Street, in Baghdad on the 5th March 2007. To view the work of many artists (including mine) watch this video of a recent exhibition launch and poetry reading at Exeter Library.