Monday, 4 July 2011

Project Pride

This is the project pride exhibition.

Karen is an artist and facilitator who has been working on project pride. First let’s take a look at the work of project pride and later on I will post an interview all about Karen and her work as an artist. 

Project Pride has worked with a group of 14 female year 9 students from Marsden Heights Community College to look at the history of trade in Nelson and how that has influenced how Nelson is today.

Project Pride Nelson’s aims are 
-to enable young people involved in the project to learn about how Nelson has developed through the growth of trade and industry to be the place it is today. 
-to uncover never before told stories, unsung heroes and secret histories of the town centre, the shops and markets
-to re-tell these stories in a way that is accessible to the public so that the local community can share them
-to give the local community and project participants good reasons to be proud of where they live and shop.

Read the full Project Pride blog here

The project itself was research based to start with and the students went to Nelson Library, participated in history walks, went to the Lancashire recorids office and looked at various artifacts, like old textiles and maps.

The girls then went and interviewed women from their families and talked about their shopping habits in Nelson and how these have changed over their lifetime. Karen explains how she was helping the group to begin to look at identity construction in a local capacity and this is how they came to the concept of a wedding dress that references female identity.

Here is the finished work

Here are the accessories (to the left in above picture)

The dress itself was bought second hand and once they had it, the group started to think about how they could change the dress to show people what they had learnt about Nelson.

One of the main things they had discovered was that one of the very first suffragettes came from Nelson. Selina Cooper (WIKI link) was actively involved in Nelson politics for over 50 years and yet only a small blue plaque commemorates her locally.

Images of Selina are around the bottom of the dress.

The group were inspired by this lady who changed history.

All the patchwork on the side of the dress references the textile industry.

There is a section on the front of the dress that is designed to show what the students wanted for women in the future – respect and safe community spaces – which are similar aims to the suffragettes all that time ago.

The houses on the back of the dress reference the terraces of Nelson.

And the dress folds itself represent Pendle Hill.

 Here is the dress from the back.

The whole project took about 4 months from start to finish, and overall I think it is a wonderful piece of art, that means so much more once the story is explained!

I will be posting the interview with Karen shortly, so keep checking back.

Ta Ta


  1. The dress looks fantastic, its a 'must come have a gander at' item! How long is it on display?

  2. Fab great aunt selina would have been so impressed. Wish I could have seen this

  3. I'm so impressed and so proud as her daughter Mary would have been. This is such a mark of respect for the work she did . There is lots of information in Preston archives about her work as Mary had it placed there to be preserved.