The PRU Participate at the People’s History Museum 2/5/17

Six pupils from the Manchester Secondary Pupil Referral Unit in Blackley, Chorlton and Ardwick came together on the 2nd May at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. Most of our students have been permanently excluded from high School and face complex challenges in their experience of education.

We follow a program of ‘Rights and Responsibilities’ at the PRU and wanted to introduce the young people to the LGBT+ resources at the PHM. Taking advantage of a free workshop offered to schools to mark the launch of the ‘Never Going Underground Exhibition’, we arrived for a two-hour session on site.

For many of our students, the displays and archive material on display were a real eye-opener. From union banners, badge collections and demonstration press reports to Hayley Cropper’s red anorak and a ‘Glitter ball’ Police helmet – the students got a good sense of the different art forms connect to protest and demonstration. Having collected ideas for our own ‘Art of protest’, we returned to the workshop to create our own banners and posters.

The Hillside team from Blackley created a 3D poster of a rainbow ‘wardrobe’ following the theme that ‘Closets are for Clothes, not people’. Mersey valley students created an amazing ‘We’re all in this together’ piece, while the students from Richmond park in Ardwick made posters around the rainbow flag, underground and pink triangle logos.

The pupils staged their own mini-protest with their finished pieces in the museum.Many students and teachers at KS3 find issues around gender identity and sexuality difficult to access and deliver. The resources on display made this easy. It was interesting and above all positive – prompting great questions from the young people.The PHM exhibition is an invaluable resource for people who are questioning their identity or coming to terms with acceptance of LGBT+ issues in their friendship circles and families – and as a celebration of Diversity, Pride and Community. Highly recommended.