We’ve all probably heard people say ‘that’s not very lady-like’ but what exactly does this mean in the 21st century? Does this differ between generations? Do you adopt, celebrate or rebel against behaviours that may have been expected or familiar to your Mum or Grandmother? From sitting with your legs crossed, not swearing, dressing ‘correctly’ or even whistling,– are these codes of behaviour relevant today or outdated?
In Spring 2018, Metal are working together with London based Magic Me to bring an exciting new project to Peterborough and Southend-on-Sea that will explore just that – Decorum.
Magic Me will be running workshops in Peterborough and Southend, talking about the theme of Decorum. In these workshops participants will look at how ‘Decorum’ is experienced by women across different generations through the lens of
I conform – what are those unspoken etiquettes which you adopt and are adhere to
I sit with – what are those that you just ‘go along with’
I rebel – which of the unspoken rules do you rebel against
Led by professional artists to stimulate conversation and creative responses to this theme, Magic Me looks to bring forward the voices of women. Starting with women in East London the project will spread out to both Peterborough and Southend. Magic Me is keen to hear from the young, the old and from every age in between. This is a project for women who have opinions, and like storytelling, movement, drama, and writing.
As part of this project Magic Me will explore ways in which using digital media can get more people involved across the country. Through a series of workshops we will create a number of short films and these will be shared at a public event both Peterborough and Southend and on the Metal and Magic Me websites and social media. The content of these films will represent women across age, culture and faith – particularly bringing to the fore voices that are often under represented.
Interested in getting involved?
In Peterborough, Decorum will connect members of Bretton Belles WI and pupils at Iqra Academy. However, the workshops are open to other women. Please contact Sarah@metalculture.com if you are interested. Workshops take place over 10 weeks on Mondays at Iqra Academy.
In Southend-on-Sea, the project will connect pupils at Southend High School for Girls and the Hindu Association. For details of how you can get involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a quick introduction to three of our female ‘Decorum’ artists:
Sue Mayo is a theatre maker and researcher. She specialises in devising theatre with community groups. She has a long association with Magic me, and has led their women-only intergenerational work for 14 years. She has also worked recently also with LIFT, Phakama, The Royal Albert Hall and Ovalhouse She is currently working on three cross-art form projects loosely clustered around the theme of gratitude. Sue directs the MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmith’s, University of London. She is co-author, with Susan Langford, of ‘Sharing the Experience’, a handbook on inter-generational arts projects (2001), and of ‘Detail & Daring: the art and craft of intergenerational work (2010).
Chuck Blue Lowry is an artist and filmmaker, specialising in documentary with a strong interest in art as social practice. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins, Chuck has worked with a range of communities in various settings, both nationally and internationally. Her film work has screened at various festivals and galleries including the British Film Institute, the London Short Film Festival, the Whitechapel Gallery and Charcoal in Hong Kong.
Princess Marshall is a Youth Worker & Illustrator and lives in Stamford, Lincolnshire. Princess works is pen and ink illustrating distinctive line work that is an amalgamation of the macabre and the human form exploring aspects of anatomy and the dark arts. As Cur5 she has produced wall paste-ups and illustrative murals at live art events such Overground Paint Jam (Peterborough), Espirito Brum (Birmingham) and taken part in The Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn USA and Collaboration Nation Project (Bristol-based). Her current projects include Drink & Draw Peterborough, Battle Lines (an illustration art battle) and curating art exhibitions at The Ostrich Inn, Peterborough.
Elsa James is an artist living in Southend-on-Sea, who grew up in west London. She has been working as an artist, producer and creative activist since 2010, establishing a practice spanning performance, text and language-based art, digital media, socio-political and socially engaged art. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of race, ethnicity, ‘race’ performativity, culture and ‘black’ Britishness within the African diasporic context. In 2012 she set up TIME Projects – a local community arts organisation, as a reaction to the borough’s disproportionate cultural and economic differences between neighbouring wards. TIME Projects centres its work around the communities in those wards who do not have the same opportunities to engage in the local arts offer. She was recently awarded research and development funding from the Arts Council England to work on a new body of solo work. The work will respond to some of the little-known stories currently held within Essex Record Office’s collections of African and Caribbean communities who lived or passed through the county of Essex between the 16th and 19th Century.