Decorum – an exploration of what ‘good behaviour’ means for women in the 21st Century

In 2016/17 Magic Me ran the first phase of the Decorum Project bringing together girls from Mulberry School and women from East London. Together they explored what good behaviour, decorum, means for women in the 21st Century.

This autumn, Magic Me will be running free open workshops (as well as a number of closed ones) in a number of different venues, talking about the theme of Decorum. In these workshops participants will look at how 'Decorum' is experienced by women across different generations through the lens of

"I act and I am acted upon"        "I conform, I sit with, I rebel"

Led by professional artists to stimulate conversation and creative responses to this theme, Magic Me looks to bring forward the voices of women. Starting with women in East London the project will spread out to a wider audience and Magic Me is keen to hear from the young, the old and from every age in between. This is a project for women who have opinions, like storytelling, movement, drama, and writing.

As part of this project Magic Me will explore ways in which using digital media can get more people involved across the country. Our team will also be working alongside artists from Metal to deliver workshops in Southend and Peterborough. 

We will create a number of short films and these will be shared on the Magic Me website and across social media platforms. The content of these films will represent women across age, culture and faith – particularly bringing to the fore voices that are often under represented.

Magic Me Artists

Sue Mayo

Sue Mayo is a  theatre maker and researcher. She specialises in devising theatre with community groups. She has a long association with Magic me, and has led theri women-only intergenerational work for 14 years.She has also worked recently also with LIFT, Phakama, The Royal Albert Hall and Ovalhouse She is currently working on three cross-art form projects loosely clustered around the theme of gratitude.

Sue directs the MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmith’s, University of London. She is co-author, with Susan Langford, of ‘Sharing the Experience’, a handbook on inter-generational arts projects (2001), and of ‘Detail & Daring: the art and craft of intergenerational work (2010).

Pooja Sitpura

Pooja Sitpura is a practitioner, producer and project manager, she is immersed in a participatory arts context, developing rich creative encounters with communities across London.  Passionate about inclusion, Pooja endeavours through her projects, to increase the availability and accessibility to arts programmes for and with people with learning disability and difficulty.  Her practice is informed by the ethics of participation and reflexive practice, which feed in to the design and delivery of projects with Talawa Theatre Company and Kinetika Bloco (resident youth artist at the Southbank).

Paula Varjak

Paula Varjack is a writer, filmmaker and performance maker. Her work explores identity, the unsaid, and making the invisible visible. Trained in stage management, filmmaking and performance, she enjoys working across and combining disciplines; performance, theatre, documentary and spoken word. She has performed at numerous arts festivals and cultural spaces including: Glastonbury Festival, Berlin International Literature Festival, Vault Festival, Chelsea Theatre, The Victoria & Albert Museum, Richmix, Wilton's Music Hall, Battersea Arts Centre, The Southbank Centre, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Musicbox Lisbon, Es Balluard Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Photographer's Gallery. She is the creator of the Anti-Slam a satirical take on Poetry Slams where the lowest score wins. In addition to performing and producing events, she facilitates workshops with a wide range of age groups, using writing prompts and drama games to unblock creativity.

Chuck Blue Lowry

Chuck Blue Lowry is an artist and filmmaker, specialising in documentary with a strong interest in art as social practice. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins, Chuck has worked with a range of communities in various settings, both nationally and internationally. Her film work has screened at various festivals and galleries including the British Film Institute, the London Short Film Festival, the Whitechapel Gallery and Charcoal in Hong Kong.

Eleanor Sikorski

Eleanor Sikorski is a dancer and choreographer. She worked with Sue Mayo to develop the first Decorum project and performance in 2017. Her solo work spans performance, music and film and is made for both theatres and social spaces. She works as a dancer for several choreographers and co-leads ‘Nora’, a trio of dancers who curate and commission  choreographers to make work for them to perform.  eleanorsikorski.com

Metal Artists

Princess Marshall

Princess Marshall (BA Hons Film, MA Youth work & Community Development) is a Youth Worker & Illustrator and lives in Stamford, Lincolnshire.  Princess works is pen and ink illustrating distinctive line work that is an amalgamation of the macabre and the human form exploring  aspects of anatomy and the dark arts.  As Cur5 she has produced wall paste-ups and illustrative murals at live art events such Overground Paint Jam (Peterborough), Espirito Brum (Birmingham) and taken part in The Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn, NY, Collaboration Nation Project (Bristol-based). She manages Head In The Sand productions, her current projects include Drink & Draw Peterborough, Battle Lines, an illustration art battle and curating art exhibitions at The Ostrich Inn, Peterborough.

Elsa James

Elsa James is an artist living in Southend-on-Sea, who grew up in west London. She has been working as an artist, producer and creative activist since 2010, establishing a practice spanning performance, text and language-based art, digital media, socio-political and socially engaged art. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of race, ethnicity, ‘race’ performativity, culture and ‘black’ Britishness within the African diasporic context.  In 2012 she set up TIME Projects - a local community arts organisation, as a reaction to the borough’s disproportionate cultural and economic differences between neighbouring wards. TIME Projects centres its work around the communities in those wards who do not have the same opportunities to engage in the local arts offer.  She was recently awarded research and development funding from the Arts Council England to work on a new body of solo work. The work will respond to some of the little-known stories currently held within Essex Record Office's collections of African and Caribbean communities who lived or passed through the county of Essex between the 16th and 19th Century.

About Metal

Metal was founded in 2002 and has been active in Liverpool since 2004, the South Essex region since 2007 and Peterborough since 2012.  Each of our spaces:  Edge Hill Station in Liverpool, Chalkwell Hall in Southend and Chauffeurs Cottage in Peterborough were renovated to create centres of activity for artists, creatives and community.  From these bases, Metal have worked with artists and local agencies to provide the catalyst that is helping to transform the potential for thriving creative and cultural industries in these three places over the last ten years.  Metal also works directly with artists from overseas and across the UK helping them to research and realise ambitious projects and ideas that take place in a wide variety of contexts within the region.  These ideas often respond in a specific way to place and are innovative in content.   We take a developmental approach to local creativity and talent – training, mentoring and supporting the growth of knowledge and capacity in the sector, encouraging cross-sector and cross-disciplinary conversations and sharing of knowledge.  Metal also creates its own projects – large in scale, high in impact and involving a wide number of participants and audience from all walks of life.  Each year Metal works with around 1200 artists from across the world, 18,000 active participants, over 60,000 live audiences and more than 100,000 online audiences.

Thank you to our funders:

Decorum has been developed through the Open Lab scheme at Barbican Guildhall.