‘SEW SOME LOVE’ is all new community building activity that celebrates the life and work of Mark Ashton, (19 May 1960 – 11 February 1987), who was an LGBT, human rights and political activist and co-founder of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) support group. Mark is one of the central characters in Pride, the feelgood film now showing on BBC iPlayer that tells how gay and lesbian activists threw their support behind a Welsh mining community during the strike of 1984.
SEW SOME LOVE will use waste fabric reclaimed from clothing that is no longer wearable and put it to great use to create a GIANT RECYCLED RAINBOW FLAG as a travelling tribute, and a community made piece of art and activism, connecting fabric, and people to celebrate our workers and our LGBTQ+ history and future with pride.
SEW SOME LOVE
We invite members of our local community to come along this Saturday and Sunday 12-4 to Banana block in East Belfast, and together we’ll cut, dye, and sew, share stories and skills, or learn some new ones. An event for the whole family, including or especially grandparents!
Alongside our community partners, BANANA BLOCK, this campaign will also launch the latest addition to their living museum concept, ‘The Room’ a new multifunctional permanent installation within Banana Block- it’s a place for learning, making, meeting, and listening. Inside we will host a photographic exhibition sharing images from Mark’s vibrant life alongside his story, curated and written by local historian and lawyer Jude Copeland, who is custodian of Mark’s memorialisation.
Another World Belfast CIC is a not-for-profit community organisation that creates practical projects that support people and planet. They are known for their message and activism to SHOW SOME LOVE. The organisation was first launched in 2017 by artists and campaigners Connor Kerr and Becky Bellamy.
Their projects include ‘The Love Pack’, a public collection and distribution programme that makes up care packages of hygiene products and underwear for local charities and groups supporting people living in hardship. Their latest initiative is ‘Free Store’, a truly free fashion boutique and personal shopping experience for women and members of the queer community. ‘Free Store’ is funded by their fashion swap pop ups #SwapShopBelfast and will provide free clothing in their West Belfast HQ alongside a dedicated beauty space for their visitors to get glam and feel great!
Their clothing projects rely on public donation of unwanted clothing, and they are delighted to have been able to turn what is effectively waste into such a creative and beautiful force to bring people together.
Connor Kerr, Co-Founder of Another World Belfast, said: “In the initial stages of development of this concept with Jude (Copeland), he told us of how Mark’s story started with a journey to Bangladesh with his father in 1982 to bring refurbished sewing machines to people there to address poverty and how what he saw “took the light out of his eyes”, this was a bittersweet moment for Becky and I, as it was spookily close to my own story, and my reasons for starting our project together in 2017. I was almost broken by the extreme inequality I witnessed in various global settings, from Indonesia to the UN camps of Greece in the height of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015. Starting AWB saved my life, and it was humbling to hear of how Mark made a similar decision all those years ago.”
Jude Copeland, said ““Mark Ashton’s activism was borne of a desire to help, of solidarity between people struggling, people minoritized by society. He co-founded Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners with Mike Jackson because he saw a need in the striking and starving miners in the 1980s. I never met Mark, but I believe he would be outraged by the hardship and deprivation experienced in our local communities today. I have no doubt he would be a huge fan of the ethos and practical activism of Another World Belfast to Show Some Love. Society doesn’t help people. People help people. Solidarity forever.”
Claire Hall, Head of Programmes, Banana Block/USI “The arrival of The Room this weekend is so exciting and we’re really looking forward to seeing how the public and visitors interact with it. We are committed to inclusion and diversity here at the Block and to be kicking off with our partners from Another World Belfast is a fitting beginning as we honour Mark Ashton and the Rainbow flag as part of Pride Month.”