From 2007-2021 artist Lois Blackburn and poet Philip Davenport collaborated with people affected by homelessness, people with dementia, holocaust survivors, war widows, refugees, young offenders, excluded school students and many more people in North West England and beyond.
The projects celebrated diverse voices, unheard histories, told with stitch and poetry, calligraphy and songs. Work was often exhibited at iconic venues, reaching out to wide audiences — at the Houses of Parliament, the Queen’s House, Manchester Cathedral, Brighton Dome, Piccadilly Railway Station. All projects were shared in places and ways that the makers themselves could access and witness.
From 2007-21, Davenport and Blackburn co-directed arthur+matha, working with host venues, partners, guest artists and volunteers. The team has included: singer-songwriters Matt Hill (The Quiet Loner) and Christine Johnson, artist Jeni McConnell artist and poet Johnny Woodhams, artist Melanie Miller and poet/academic Professor Jeffrey Robinson.
arthur+martha Community Interest Company (CIC) was registered 11th June 2007, company number 6275774.
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“How do you write a book like this? Base it on yourself. As though you’re telling a story of yourself. The sadness is part of reality, and we’ve written about that and the joy and the grief…We can console one another, we can talk about it. It’s sad to go through hardship alone. We’ve put all that in a book for everyone. I feel proud, very proud, in fact.”
Joan, A BOOK OF OURS