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Local writer Nichelle Kelleher shows us the Playing the Race Card Goodie Bag © Fizzel Castro

‘Playing the Race card’ is launched

Last Friday Mama Putt’s restaurant in Kings Road St Leonards hosted the launch of an exciting new project called Playing the Race card. HOT’s Erica Smith was lucky enough to be invited and went home clutching the best goodie bag in the world – and a whole plate of food for thought.

Claudine Eccleston explained the background to her Playing the Race Card project © Fizzel Castro

Playing the Race card is a two-year creative project led by Claudine Eccleston. Claudine, a black resident of Hastings has lived here for ten years and has wholeheartedly embraced local life – including writing for the HOT Street Style column and hosting an annual celebration of Martin Luther King. Much as she loves Hastings and St Leonards, she has also experienced racism here in various forms – from being denied a viewing of a property for sale to being told she was “playing the Race card” when she challenged someone about their behaviour.

These negative experiences led her to respond in a positive way – by encouraging discussion of the use and meaning of “playing the race card” and other tools which are used to shut down discussions about racism. With funding from ‘Good Stuff in St Leonards’ and the support of artists Maggie Scott and Becky Beasley, Black Butterfly Director Dawn Dublin and Katy Baird of Home Live Arts, Claudine has devised a two-year project to encourage open dialogue about racism and ways to address imbalances of power.

Claudine explained how The Race Card project seeks to examine the realities and the deeper historical significance of this term. The objective is to explore the conventional ‘dictionary definition’ of ‘The Race Card’ and turn it on its head; creating a space for alternative views that look to celebrate diversity through visual art – paintings, drawings, photography or collage.

Artworks must be submitted by 31 December 2020. A £500 cash prize will be awarded via a public vote on the Playing the Race Card website and social media platforms, and a £100 cash prize for 16-18 age group. The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2020.

Two virtual workshops will be run in November so you can find out more about the project and how you can participate in it or support it. Join Claudine and the people behind the Playing the Race Card and talk through any creative ideas you may have for your Playing the Race card artwork:

‘Playing the Race card’ workshop #1
Saturday 21 November: 1pm to 3pm

Young peoples’ workshop #2
Saturday 29 November: 1pm to 3pm
A special workshop for young people (over 16) to propose artworks for Playing the Race Card exhibition. Run by local artists, this is an opportunity to discuss the ideas around the project and think creatively how to respond with an artwork.

MLK Day Exhibition Launch

An online exhibition will be launched on Martin Luther King Day – 17 January 2021, with works selected from the open-call. This will be followed in April 2021 with a physical exhibition featuring commissioned artworks alongside a series of related talks and discussions.

If you want to know more, you can contact the Playing the Race Card project at: mail@playingtheracecard.co.uk

Playing the Race Card is supported by Black Butterfly, a not for profit cultural heritage and social justice organisation supporting people of African heritage; based in Hastings raising awareness of equalities issues and engaging communities to come together through creative art and social activities. The project is part of Good Stuff in St Leonards, a creative programme of activities and events led by local residents supported by local arts charity Home Live Art.  

Posted 21:58 Wednesday, Nov 4, 2020 In: Campaigns

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