Sent to Coventry #JusticeforLB

We’re delighted to share this guest post from Janet Read, some light in the darkness:

It’s about eighteen months since LB’s Justice Quilt had its first outing to Lancaster. To celebrate that event, I wrote a blog post about how it was made and about the brilliant contribution of all the outsider artists and patch-makers who created their own dazzling bits of magic. Since then, I’ve seen the quilt develop a life style all of its own. It’s a bit like when your kids leave home: you follow their progress quite closely and you’re always pleased (if mildly surprised), when they pop up somewhere doing something very grown up that you didn’t know about. I haven’t seen the quilt for ages but I’m looking forward to a re-union soon because it’s coming back to Coventry. We have two things planned.

From 10 May – 25 June, the quilt will hang in the nave of Coventry Cathedral next to John Piper’s gorgeous stained glass window. We’ll be giving out information about Connor’s story, the campaign and making the quilt. The people at the cathedral have been brilliant. From day one, the Dean and other staff responded in a totally positive way and said that they wanted it to happen. So, if you’re near Coventry, please drop in and see the quilt hanging in one of the most awesome post- war buildings in the country.

On 26 June, for one day, there will be an event at the University of Warwick Arts Centre where the quilt will hang from the balcony outside the Mead Art Gallery. We’re inviting people to gather at 6.30 pm in the space outside the cinema foyer to listen or join in as the University Chamber Choir and Chorus lead the singing of the spirituals from Tippet’s A Child of Our Time in Connor’s memory. While Tippet was inspired to compose the piece because of the horror he felt at the persecution of Jewish people by the Nazis, he also wanted the music to carry a universal message about the suffering of all who face oppression. The singing will last about half and hour and there’s no charge. If you plan to come (and we hope you will), please give yourselves enough time to find a parking place. When you arrive at the Arts Centre, stewards will point you in the right direction. We couldn’t be doing this without help from friends at Warwick: Paul, Director of Music, Sarah from the Mead Gallery and Andrew from the Centre for Human Rights in Practice. They all really get it.

Planning these two events has meant telling and re-telling Connor’s story. People I speak to find what has happened and continues to happen, truly horrifying and are completely convinced about the integrity and honesty of Connor’s family. I’ve also been re-telling stories about the patch-makers. It has been very moving to think again of the mother who wrote of her worries about her own child being in hospital and who stitched ‘There but for fortune’; the Japanese lawyer who described how her grandmother collected a thousand stitches from a thousand people in a belt for her son before he went to war because she believed that this would protect him; the Canadian artist who stitched a bird shortly before she died; the lovely kids from Kent Messy Church who sent us bundles of dazzling, sticky patches which we laid out in the sun to dry. And many, many more – all sending what Sara called ‘drops of brilliance’ in the face of unimaginable grief and horror.

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