In My Name

Exploring themes of identity and definition with an intergenerational group of women from East London

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From January – April 2019, students from Mulberry School for Girls and older women from the local community met regularly to explore, discuss and create on the theme of names and naming.

Over ten weeks the group, comprising women aged between 14 and 80, explored what impact names and labels can have.

What we are called by others, (little, cute, moody, or even sometimes, wonderful), can often make us feel diminished, but others’ words can help us to feel strong. Working with artists Sue Mayo and Mia Harris the group created ‘Necklaces of Declaration’ telling the world how they want to be seen. 

Alongside artists Sue and Mia, the group worked with African Jamaican dub poet D’bi Young Anitafrika to create a series of spoken word pieces. Out of this each of the women and girls discovered the words that really resonated with them to be embroidered onto their ‘Necklaces of Declaration’.

The project included two sharing events at Poplar Union and Mulberry School for Girls, open to people of all genders. At each sharing the group performed their spoken word pieces and the audience were able to participate in roundtable discussions and contribute to two cloaks of powerful names – one negative, one positive on the theme of “Don’t’ call me…” and “Call me….”

The project reached other local women through open workshops at Rich Mix, Poplar Union, Salesforce and You Make It.
Picture shows participants at the In My Name showcase at Poplar Union. There are two younger women and two older women, all are wearing large collars made of felt pennants with words embroidered on them

Arts Council England