What did the West of England Centre for Inclusive Living think of our exhibition?

We’ve been talking to WECIL members since the beginning of the History of Place project, and invited them to a tour of ‘Brave, Poor Things: Reclaiming Bristol’s Disability History’ and a workshop.

Group of people from Wecil sit in front of the banner made for the Mshed exhibition.

This month we had a special tour and workshop at M Shed with 25 people from West of England Centre for Inclusive Living; mostly the Peer support group and their team.

circle of disabled people discuss the mshed exhibition with grace

Discussing the MShed exhibition

The group had not seen the exhibition before and we were slightly nervous about introducing it to them and getting their feedback! We explored the exhibition together, and were lucky to have AHOP Volunteer Chris Rose sharing his role within the project. Chris told us about the flag project introduced the digital game. It was great to hear his part in its creation.

The group had time to discuss elements of the exhibition and share ideas and questions. It was exciting for Mark Williams who was part of the Arnolfini protest to see himself in the photo and share his story. As we suspected, there were some strong reactions to the language from the early years of The Guild and discussions began to rumble.

What ideas emerged from looking at the exhibition?

Back in the activity room with a cup of tea, we had a discussion inspired by the themes or issues from the exhibition and what the group thought was relevant for today.

  • ‘Disabled people wouldn’t need their own building if every where was inclusive and accessible.’
  • ‘Disabled people need to be able to make their own choices.’
  • ‘It’s more about independence and the support to achieve this, than providing charity.’
  • ‘Fight for your rights!’
Badges say dont be heartless, proud to be me, help each other, peer support

Some completed badges

The discussion was lively, politically charged and mostly positive. It seemed that community and coming together to discuss ideas meant shared knowledge and possibility.

We then split into three groups and used the key words and ideas from our chat to make creative responses. We had poetry:

Full Circle

It’s come full circle
Everything that we do
Living life
The peaks and troughs
Through mottos and labels
And people who scoff
Brave Poor Things it’s only the start
But they need to know what’s in hearts.

We also made badges with Chris Rose.

Woman's hands writes badge on desk with craft materials

Badge making

There was a strong sentiment in the workshop that coming together to discuss issues like accessibility, how disabled people are viewed in society and why their history is important and is something we should do more often. Many of the group were moved by exploring these ideas and produced powerful work.

On the day, we were also joined by two of the new Oral history group volunteers who spoke to people about the interviewing and took down details of those interested. If you or anyone you know is interested in sharing your story please see more information here.

Thanks so much to the WECIL group for coming and sharing and creating with us!

Pencil written poem says a pathway to greater learning to become part of the world an ever present yearning to always be seen and our views to be heartd we have a chance to live independent and full life, with or without the help of support.

Arise poem

Rising with the city: our exhibition about the Bristol Guild

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