Disability Perspectives: History

‘Wolverhampton and Me’ in collaboration with Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Wolverhampton and Me
Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Wolverhampton and Me uses the story of the Mayor of Wolverhampton’s family history to reflect on the wider history of the city and its people.

 11 January 2020 - 20 March 2020

The McEvoy Sisters, 1910 in Cloghoge, County Armagh. Courtesy Mary McDonnell

Wolverhampton and Me uses the story of the Mayor of Wolverhampton’s family history to reflect on the wider history of the city and its people. From its roots in England and Ireland, the Mayor’s family tree has developed links around the world – much like the global links of the city itself. It tells a complex story of migration and change.

At the heart of the exhibition a specially designed family tree is used as a vehicle for exploring social and political changes and the ways these impact on individuals’ lives. This will be presented with items relating to the Mayor’s family members, as well as works on the

theme of family from the Art Gallery’s collection. Visitors are invited to explore their own family links,  ideas of home  through an interactive map and resources available from the City Archives.

This exhibition has been initiated by Councillor Claire Darke, Mayor of Wolverhampton and her Consort Dr Paul Darke.

Wolverhampton and Me
What Does Home mean to You?

What Does Home mean To You?

Emma Purshouse
Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton

I was asked to write a poem from luggage tags left in the exhibition space at Wolverhampton Art Gallery for the ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Wolverhampton and Me’ exhibitions. The idea was for people to write down their thoughts about what home meant to them, so that I could then create a poem from them. I also went out into schools and worked with children, encouraging them to create poems on the theme of home. I asked them to put their favourite lines from their own poems onto luggage tags too. Below is the poem which is an amalgamation of nearly 400 responses. There were some obvious answers like ‘where the heart is’, ‘where my family are’, and there were some not so obvious responses. In between the exhibition starting and finishing the impact of the Corona Virus was starting to be felt in Wolverhampton, so this impacted upon the finished piece. An audio of the poem is to be found on social media. It had over 2,000 views in two days. 

Wishing One and All Safe Home

Malcolm C is there right now
with a moment, or a memory,
Jade is still in touch with friends,
Iris is with family,

Simran’s feeling happy,
Bea is comfortable and curled
in a cosy bed with teddy,
E. Leslie’s shielded from the world.

Bad things won’t happen to Kadeja,
Kyle, 13, is loved and safe,
Willow, 5, is getting cudulls,
Kareena’s best people are in their best place.

And she is where her Wally is,
and Tiff is in with Dene.
Folk are hanging out with Autan,
Amy, Molly, or Jolene.

Jonny Silver-hand, is with his cat,
Patience C is in the warm.
If you’re in that house that Aoife drew
it’ll weather any storm.

And those who’ve yet to find a home
aren’t somewhere truly bad,
they’re well away from violence,
not cold, depressed or sad.

Those travellers and tourists
from Italy and España
are in kitchens in their homelands
scoffing tapas, or lasagna.

You, who mapped Nepal,
got back to loving pups.
Even blessed Baggies fans
made pubs before they shut

Boats are moored together,
away from water points, and trees.
And if home means farting freely,
being gay or eating cheese,

if it’s books or dirty bass lines
or if you live a life like Stu
with a beer in isolation
then I’ll lift a glass to you,

to your health, your happiness
to doing what you do,
to living life, and staying safe,
being hopeful, getting through.

Emma Purshouse
Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton

PS. Hey, Grace. You still out there being goofy? The world needs goofy, right about now. X

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Wolverhampton and Me
Global Connections