The Green New Deal
September 12th 2019
On September 12th, 2019, Creating Change hosted an evening, in keeping with our now established approach of combining politics and a bit of fun! The evening started with a review of Creating Change activities and campaigns over the previous year, from our banner making project through to our ‘If It’s Wrong, Change It’ event at Colchester Arts Centre. We also reported on our fund-raising activities which have enabled us to make donations to both Refugee Action Colchester, and the Colchester homeless charity, Beacon House.
This was followed by presentations and a discussion of issues relating to climate breakdown, with a speaker from Extinction Rebellion on global issues, a Green Party Colchester Councillor on local environmental issues – and our very own Creating Change member, Harry Nathan, on Green New Deal policies. (Harry was a council candidate for the Labour Party, the youngest person, at the age of 18, to stand for election).
The evening ended with a quiz testing our knowledge of green issues, and music from the brilliant local band Lighthouse Jam.
If It’s Wrong, Change It
A variety night of local talent, politics and fun, 21st September 2018
On the 21st of September 250 people came to Creating Change Colchester’s Variety Night of local talent and politics ‘If It’s Wrong Change It’. The night was a medley of speakers, performances, poets and bands – and it attracted a large diverse audience. There was a brilliant story from Clare Marsh about her journey to the ‘If It’s Wrong, Change It’ slogan from which the event got its name. Her amazing banners decorated Colchester Art Centre on the night. This was followed by a fantastic thought-provoking talk from Hasina on why she wears the hijab and a powerful and moving address from Solma Ahmed on anti-Islamophobia and anti-racism. Then we heard a poem entitled ‘If It’s Wrong, Change It’ by Mike Harwood and witnessed a death-defying nail stunt from the Great Antonio. The night then turned up the volume with sets from Lo-Fi Lighthouse Jam, punk Battle of Bands winners Feedback, Grunge Punk band Tundra and an explosive live performance of fractured anthems from headliners Pet Needs. Whilst this was all going on the perimeters of the Arts Centre were filled with stalls from local campaigns and groups: Refugee Action, Beacon House, Unite, Vent Your Rent and Speaking Outside the Box. In the foyer guests were welcomed by Creating Change Colchester to start the political conversation of the night. Guests were encouraged to interact with a board asking ‘what’s wrong?’ and ‘how should we change it?’ and hungry audience members, campaigners, activists, gig goers and families ate delicious food from the Falafel & More food van outside. The great turnout raised £400 split between Beacon House and Refugee Action. The night was a rip roaring success, the air full of energy and hope and a real credit to, and celebration of, the local community here in Colchester and the surrounding areas.
Speaking Outside the Box: Coltopia
In colaboration with Young Arts Kommunity (YAK) group at Firstsite
In July of this year, Creating Change got together with the Young Art Kommunity (YAK) at Firstsite to launch our Speaking Outside the Box initiative for 15-25 year-olds. At our launch event, we asked the question ‘What creative project, event or campaign could we devise to make our community a better, fairer place?’
Poetry Workshop on the Climate Crisis and the Environment
The ecological, economic, social and political effects of climate change were examined in a poetry workshop led by Mike Harwood, in November 2018. The fourteen participants produced a high quality of poems on the threats to our planet and possible solutions. Over one hundred pounds was raised from this event.
It was vital to get more students on the electoral register for local elections that were coming up in May 2019. Combining fun and campaigning Creating Change initiated a new Voting Matters campaign in association with Essex University Student Union. Creating Change also visited Colchester Sixth Form College (see photo below) and Colchester Institute.
We had a stall with our banner and – most crucially – a guide sheet for students on how to register to vote.
Completed in time for the May Day celebrations this year (2018), members of Creating Change produced an innovative banner made up of individual patchworks representing our values of social justice, equality and fairness. Each ‘patchwork maker’ was given an A4 sized price of fabric and asked to represent their ideas in images and/or words, using a variety of media, including recycled materials where possible. The result was a stunning banner which has had many outings since its completion, including at the May Day celebrations in Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea Regatta, the ‘Big Sunday’ event in Colchester and the very successful Creating Change event, ‘If it’s Wrong, Change It’ at Colchester Arts Centre in September. And, what has made the banner project all the more remarkable is that many of us had never done anything like this before, with the result that this was a genuinely inclusive project in which anyone could participate – and together produce an amazing statement of our shared values and hopes for positive social and political change.
For further information about the banner, or if you would like to participate in a similar project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating Change Movie Nights
We put on a series of films engaging with social justice issues. The idea was to encourage people to come along, watch a good movie, and to get inspired to be involved. We used the cinema at Essex University, put out some pamphlets etc. at the start, and then moved on to the pub on campus for a chat for those who were interested.
Further ideas for movies welcome! Please contact Daragh Murray: email@example.com
Film Screening, Pride
Event in colaboration with Essex University Labour Society
Film Screening, Sink
Event in colaboration with Essex University Labour Society
In the style of the social realistic dramas of Ken Loach, Sink focuses on Mick, an unemployed dad who is laid off from a series of zero hours contracts jobs. He is caring for his dad, who has dementia and is supporting a son recovering from drug addiction. Mick’s situation is grim, but Mick is an immensely likeable character who has allies at the job centre, neighbours and a caretaker who help him sort out his problems involving money and accommodation. There is anger but also humour.
Following the showing of the film, Mike Harwood conducted a Q&A session with the writer-director of the film, Mark Gillis.
Launch: Fighting Back
ANC politician, Denis Goldberg, fought apartheid with Nelson Mandela and, like him, spent many years in jail as a result. In a recent Guardian interview, Goldberg, now 84, explained why he has devoted his later years to building a centre for the arts:
“People matter. I feel the whole point of being in politics is about people. For me it’s not about power.”
For Creating Change, these words struck a deep chord, helping us to see that the connecting term between art, politics and grass-roots campaigning is quite simply ‘people’. Read more…