Journey to Justice: Nottingham
Nottingham JtoJ taster, June 20th 2016
It was a really positive, productive and highly stimulating day held at the Galleries of Justice (GOJ) in Nottingham where our exhibition will be hosted in 2017. The day was planned with our partners: Sharon Monteith, Founding Co-director of Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) and Professor of American Studies at Nottingham University, Rosemary Pearce then of C3R and Bev Baker (Senior Curator and Archivist at GOJ), Tim Desmond (CEO of GOJ) and Midlands 3 Cities with PhD student Scott Weightman, JtoJ local organiser.
25 people attended the session, held in the lovely Grand Jury Room. The range of attendees was very impressive. Institutions represented included Refugee Action, Nottingham Playhouse and the Theatre Royal, Nottingham Black Archive, Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery, New Art Exchange (the only Black-led art gallery in the UK), Emmanuel House (supporting the homeless and vulnerable), City council museums and galleries services, Further Education and Trent University and others. See here for the full programme.
We emphasised our mission and the essential link between History, The Arts of Social Protest and Social Action and we showcased some of the work of JtoJ with young people and in London, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Another session focussed on stories of activism in Nottingham past and present; potential partners for planning the exhibition programme and creating the local panels in our exhibition; promoting interest in forming a Nottingham steering group and generally discussing and bouncing ideas off each other. It was an exciting and hugely informative hour and a half which revealed such a tremendous amount of creative activity in the city. We noted about 30 ideas…………….some of which were: Nottingham’s refugee history; Nottingham as UNESCO city of literature 2017; Streetwise Opera – homeless and non-homeless performers; Sash (Salaam Shalom) a Muslim/Jewish weekly soup kitchen and food bank; October Dialogues – Black History; Polish homeless men project; History of the 1958 race riots and colour bar; Child Migrant Trust HQ in Nottingham; Radical Walks; Women’s History Group; Bread and Roses Theatre group; Creating a school and FE resource packs; Nottingham’s first UK Black Lives Matter chapter.
This stimulating and highly collaborative session ended with us thinking about the way forward. Some people showed interest in becoming members of a Nottingham steering group which has been meeting regularly ever since. Nottingham JtoJ is making tremendous progress, raising funds for their work and the local history sub group is planning and researching a fantastic range of stories to feature in the exhibition. Evaluations showed how much the participants enjoyed the day and felt highly motivated to bring JtoJ to Nottingham in 2017.
We asked: Was there an aspect of the session which inspired you or was most memorable?
“Learning more about JtoJ”; “JtoJ film clips (esp. House of Lords)”; “The presentations made me feel everyone can be involved”; “work Martin’s been doing in school and knowing that young people have engaged positively with activism, resistance and the challenge of social justice was overwhelming and gives me hope for the progress of our society”; “Group discussions about Nottingham input discussion at end.”
For details of Nottingham JtoJ’s exciting plans see their website: