Cultural Consumption: Tasks 14 and 29

Visit a community event

and

Volunteer for an organisation / event you feel passionately about

The event I chose for this task was organised for the LCA student community, aimed to save the community from Council plans to introduce a traffic system of Trolleybuses along the A660 running through Headingly, Hyde Park (student areas) and past LCA. The plans involve force purchasing part of LCA land, to make way for road widening to accommodate 6 lanes of two directional traffic.

Fran Bailey organised the event, as part of her craftivism project for COP. The event was a hand stitched petition, to be sent to Hilary Benn – a local MP who is currently supporting the scheme. It was to be held in the student union, and aimed to get students to sit together and stitch their names onto the petition.

I had already been involved in protesting about the Trolley Bus proposal: for Vis-Lit I have been creating a documentary to be used as evidence about why the Trolleybus is an inadequate system, to be shown at the public enquiry in Spring 2014. Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 23.54.18

I helped Fran promote the event on Facebook and to my friends, and after stitching my own signature I photographed and filmed people stitching their signatures and prepared materials.

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In my opinion the event was hugely successful. In the few hours we were there, over 28 people signed the petition, which is quite a large amount considering it was a time consuming process – signatures taking between 10-15 minutes to stitch. A few people came and collected thread and material to take away with them and bring back their signature at a later date. This goes to show that there are a lot of people who really do care  about the issue, and want to be involved in preventing plans that will damage the community.

I think that the hand-stitching produced a petition with a really personal feel to it, that will be difficult for Hilary Benn to ignore, and so was much more successful than the standard approach to creating a petition. I think Fran’s idea for the petition was a fantastic example of the power of Craftivism.

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