As the summer holidays begin we take a break from the Fabric of Life and start planning for next term. This is a great time to look back at what the project has achieved so far.
To date 45 young people have engaged with the project from all over Wiltshire. Eleven young people have taken part in oral history training and eight interviews have been recorded. The young people have visited their local museums including Chippenham Museum, Trowbridge Museum, Salisbury Museum and the Fashion Museum in Bath. They have also visited the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre and we have taken two busloads of young people to London’s V&A.
From all their research young people have started to work with artists. This work has been about exploring what they have learnt and how they feel about it. Art forms have included dance, theatre, visual and installation.
We are now planning for the next phase in the project. All of the young people involved (and hopefully some new ones in the autumn term) will be working towards an event in November. The event will involve a real mixture of art forms all themed around fashion as a form of identity. It is an opportunity for the young people involved to share their learning and get other people thinking about the subject.
Once this is complete we will focus on the last task of the project which is to create an education pack for the schools in Wiltshire. This pack will provide lesson ideas as well as resources and should help teachers teaching over a broad range of subjects find ways of teaching LGBT history that is interesting and engaging.
I have certainly learnt a lot since the project began and hope the young people involved have too. I do look out for moments and people in history who have expressed their selves through fashion. Icons that have broken the mould when it comes to fashion, gender and sexuality. I have started to look at the clothes we wear today, at the clothes available for babies, children, young people and adults and wonder when it was decided that girls should wear pink and boys wear blue, or why girls shirts button in the opposite direction to boys.
I am very much looking forward to seeing the work the young people produce and look forward to updating you all in the autumn with our progress.
Project Coordinator Fabric of Life