Banner Culture at the British Textile Biennial 2019

A banner made during a workshop at West Dean College is currently on exhibition as part of the British Textile Biennial 2019. Banner Culture presents a retrospective history of protest in the UK, from traditional processional banners from heritage collections to contemporary DIY messages from local campaign groups. The exhibition is open in the iconic Brierfield Mill, Lancashire, from 3rd October until 3rd November 2019 and is created in partnership with Mid Pennine Arts and Pendle Radicals.

The exhibition features contributions from some outstanding banner artists including : Durham Bannermakers, who keep alive the traditions of the miners' groups; Thalia Campbell, whose work captured the unbreakable resolve of Greenham women; Ed Hall, celebrated for his collaborations with Jeremy Deller; Peter Carney who made heartbreaking memorials for the 89 lost at Hillsborough, and the Peace Museum in Bradford who have shared a precious collection that brings so much recent history to life. Jill Laudet, who graduated with the Master of Fine Art from West Dean in 2016, is also exhibiting at the exhibition with banners that assert the social and political importance of, and threat to, public space.

The West Dean workshop took place ahead of Processions 2018, a mass participation artwork that saw thousands of women marching through the streets of Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London to mark the centenary of Women's Suffrage in the UK. Participants were invited to make banners that engaged, provoked, and expressed the ideas, concerns and hopes of women in the 21st century.

Workshop participants and banner makers included staff and students from West Dean College and the University of Chichester: Sarah Hughes, Sarah Cliff, Jill Laudet, Cherie Lubbock, Rachel Johnston, Rosemary Marley, Maud Violet Boothby.

Find out more by visiting the Biennial website or following their activity @britishtextilebiennial

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We really wanted to celebrate women's rights and also draw attention to contemporary issues around equality, the gender pay gap, and the #metoo movement. The workshop acknowledged that, although much has been done toward gender equality over the past century, there is still some way to go. We can do that creatively, and in cooperation, to make our voices heard.

Sarah Hughes

I'm With Her banner. Photo by Sarah Hughes
Banner Workshop. Left to Right: Rachel Johnston, Emma O'Driscoll, Rosemary Marley. Photo by Sarah Hughes
Workshop. Rachel Johnston, Emma O'Driscoll. Banners in background by West Dean graduate Jill Laudet. Photo by Sarah Hughes
Processions 2018 with three banners made at West Dean College. Photo by Sarah Hughes