Cumbria Multicultural Women’s Network brings together women of diverse cultures now living in Cumbria, for the purpose of acknowledging and celebrating individual heritage and traditions, sharing unique and collective experience, and nurturing skills and confidence; thus enhancing abilities to integrate with local community and pursue new opportunities.


Friday 16 March 2012

In Translation project: CMWN members taking part in National Art Exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. Feb 2012 – Feb 2013.

CMWN are partners in the IN TRANSLATION arts project, together with Manchester Art Gallery and the professional artists collective, UHC. Two of our partner women's groups in Manchester also joined in this project with us.  see BLOG 

Twelve members of CWMN Furness group are working on the project and have taken part in skills workshops for drawing, painting and sculpture, with Liverpool artist Chiz Turnross, who is known for his '1000 bird paintings'. Together we visited Walney Bird reserve and created studies of Migratory Birds. See details below.

Dave Penney, a professional photographer from Manchester offered two training sessions on photography.  Members' photos document the project.  You can see the photos on the Flikr pages of the In Translation website.

The studies of migratory birds, created in painting, drawing and sculpture workshops were made into colourful screenprints by screenprint artist, John Powell-Jones.  The drawings are now part of the exhibition amd limited editions are for sale in the Gallery shop. 

Unusually, this project has allowed us an opportunity to work in the background of the production of a national art exhibtion.   As the project developed, we made choices about the content of the exhibition and took part in meetings where we helped to make decisions about events planned to take place during the period of the exhibition

Studies of migrant birds, Walney bird reserve.  Photo - Marzena Spiewok.jpg

photo: Marzena Spiewok

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Screen print of Migrant bird study (Maha).jpg

On a freezing cold day in December, the Furness group, visited Walney Island bird reserve to photograph and study the birds that migrate here every year..

In follow up workshops, members made drawings of some of the birds which come to Walney.  Later these were  made into screenprinted colour versions which are now on view at the In Translation exhibition in Manchester Art Gallery.

Twelve of the screen printed bird pictures will be on sale in the Gallery shop. We are of course proud of these images, and of our contribution to the show.  


We women holding bird posters, Liverpool airport.jpgmade a ‘migration journey’ to Liverpool John Lennon airport, where we engaged with travellers coming off flights into Liverpool in a gentle version of ‘Guerrilla art’.   At the airport, artist Jai Redman made video footage of the activities, which he then made into a video installation piece for the In Translation exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. 


 Participants engaged with the curating of the exhibition - and also visited the Gallery’s archive at Queen’s Park, Manchester to see the restoration of the posters from 1920’s - 30's                                           

Following the Launch event, Dr Melanie Horton of Manchester Metropolitan University and some of the participants of project, who created work in response to images they selected from the collection of Empire Marketing Board posters took part in a lively public discussion at the Gallery.

 What Next? 

The project will continue during the year of the exhibition,  During that time there will be at least two further public events around the issues which affect migrant peoples.  Participants will be invited to take part in developing, organising and presenting further public events at Manchester art Gallery.  UHC artist’s group will continue to work with CMWN, Europia and Wai Yin on projects which will develop from the partnership of the In Translation project.


"I try to find things to do for myself, but to be honest I can never get the same level of social recognition…I just try to fulfill my life."