The World Re-imagined | MK College

The World Re-imagined

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At HMP Manchester, we have been working with our learners on a community project called ‘The World Re-Imagined’. This is a national art education project which explores how the Transatlantic Slave Trade has affected people from around the world for centuries. The project includes seven cities, two million people, 100 artists, 250 establishments and 100 community organisations.

Due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, we decided our starting point would be to speak to as many learners as we could in order to gain as much information, personal experiences and stories as we could. This theme ignited their creativity generating several classroom debates and conversations about culture, diverse nationalities, the history of the Slave Trade, the atrocities that took place back in the 18th and 19th century and the issues that are still ongoing in the 21st century, 300 years later.

On receiving our white 3D Globe, we gathered all the information together and began to sketch our designs. Our learners were instrumental in determining what would be portrayed onto the globe and it was decided that we should have a section which explored the dark past of slavery, alongside a lighter area which celebrated black African culture.

Upon completion, the decorated globe has what appears to be an ornate pattern around the perimeter of the base, but on closer inspection the viewer recognises minute images of slaves packed tightly together aboard a slave ship. Above the bodies and again around the perimeter of the globe, the image of cotton bobbins represents Manchester’s prosperous textile industry which thrived on the back of slavery.

Around the main sphere is an orange and black background showing hands holding hands; this represents the unity of different cultures. The Black Lives Matter fist blossoming into a tree celebrates African patterns and colours as foliage. As you scan the entire globe, you will recognise references to Manchester’s vibrant music scene and the genre of Hip Hop which was born from the Civil Rights movement. In addition, poetry written by our learners has been handwritten onto the globe contributing personal viewpoints.

The finalised Globe will go on public display this summer in the Greater Manchester / Liverpool area.