In summer 2019 Carrie Supple, then JtoJ director, met with a group of teachers, youth workers, councillors, arts workers and representatives of People First and anti-racist organisations. The meeting was co-ordinated by Councillor Niall McNulty who was introduced to JtoJ by Marcia Reid Fotheringham, former High Sheriff of Cumbria. The group was keen to bring the JtoJ exhibition programme to their city and so we planned a taster session which took place on November 29th 2019 at People First. Organised by Niall, Carrie and JtoJ volunteer (trustee since Nov. 2020) Tania Aubeelack led discussions and activities.
Participants came from Carlisle Refugee Action group, Carlisle University, People First, Carlisle Youth Zone, the Quakers and from the city’s schools. For the full programme please click here.
There was interest in and enthusiasm for making JtoJ Carlisle happen and the group shared ideas for exhibition venues, local social justice issues and histories and partners. A suggested title for their programme was: Knowing Our History, Changing Our Future. The group agreed there is a need both to reach out to everyone and also to create opportunities for those already committed, to find and develop solidarity – especially in these tough times we need hope. Attendees described Carlisle as ‘insular’ with ‘all sorts of things happening beneath the surface’ including modern slavery. They said there is an image of the city as having few opportunities for young men other than to join the armed forces. Some feel it’s a ‘forgotten about’ place compared to Newcastle and Manchester etc.
We agreed there is a strong link with JtoJ’s new economic justice project and volunteers from Carlisle, in particular Victoria Nicholson went on to be involved with the project and play a key role.
Feedback was all positive: “Very well run, organised and clear in its aims. Excellent venue”; “Great introduction to the project”; “It was all stimulating…the videos and the stories, shouldn’t be forgotten, they were hugely impactful.” “I really enjoyed the activities.”
We received a grant from Cumbria County Council towards bringing the exhibition to Carlisle for which we are hugely grateful. Covid 19 and the restrictions have put a halt to the planning for now.