A Banner Occasion!

Faye catches us up on what some of the Pendle Radicals Research Team have been up to…

One thing we’ve realised while researching some of the more politically engaged Pendle Radicals, such as women’s suffrage and workers’ rights advocate Selina Cooper, is the power of protest and the special place in that of the visual language of banners. So we’re delighted that as part of the Pendle Radicals programme, MPA is invited to produce a banner exhibition as part of Super Slow Way’s 2019 British Textiles Biennial.

We aim for this to be a big, bold, dramatic showing of protest banners – a mix of contemporary and heritage items – to not only provide a spectacular visual experience, but also to inspire and to bring to life a century-long, historical thread of protest and dissent. More on that in future blogs…

To inspire the very enthusiastic team of Pendle Radicals volunteers who are leading the way on the exhibition, we invited artist Jamie Holman to join us for one of our regular Radical Tea Parties, and we were delighted when he accepted.

Last year Jamie was co-commissioned by Super Slow Way and the Lancashire Encounter Festival to explore the politics of fabric through the collections at the Harris Museum, Preston and Blackburn Museum. Working with Durham Bannermakers, Jamie created a beautiful, trade union style, hand painted banner, which was processed during the Festival in September 2018.

Over coffee and cake, Jamie shared with the group how his work was inspired by the Harris’s collection of protest banners and was influenced by William Blake, the temperance movement and sports fashion. He spoke about how the banner design draws on the recent legacy of acid house and rave, in Lancashire towns where this youth culture explosion happened thirty years ago, and how he actively sought to engage people ‘who were there’ in the production process. The banner, he explained, is not only intended for display in gallery or museum spaces, but also for active use in protests and parades.

Jamie has been developing this work over the last few months, continuing to take inspiration from the time when working class youth reclaimed the deserted mill buildings of the north that cotton had abandoned, and filled them with a new community of music and dance. His completed work will be exhibited as part of the Biennial in October 2019.

It is clear that Jamie’s banner is made up of many threads… excuse the pun… inspired further by the idea of looking at nostalgia differently. Jamie’s passion for bringing radical history to life was a great inspiration and got us all thinking…



Jamie Holman photo 5 (credit - Lee Smillie)

Jamie Holman photo 4 (credit - Lee Smillie)

Jamie Holman photo 6 (credit - Lee Smillie)


Emma Blackburn photo - banner tea party -19.2.19 - EB copyright - 3



Thanks to Emma Blackburn and Lee Smillie for the great images.

Interested? Find out more about our Pendle Radicals project via our website. Perhaps you would like to join the Radicals Research Team? Contact Faye for more details.



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