Flagging it up!

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25th April 2018

Flagging it up!


This week artist Azin reminded us of some salient points to consider to firm up our ideas and main message on our flags. We agreed that our messages should be simple, clear and bold (a bit more work needed here I think). We discussed the shapes and sizes of our flags as well as the colours and lettering. Azin provided some drawings to work out logistics such as size and layout.


We practiced our designs and tested out a few colours of non-washable fabric paints on samples of our pre-washed calico. We discussed durability and also eco-friendliness of materials used. 


Of course it's all a work in progress but some of the concepts being conceived are very exciting! One participant wanted to represent different cultures/ ethnicities using words in different languages such a 'khubam', a farsi word meaning well-being. How apt for our workshop gathering which sparked creativity and conversation. Lou decided on the rallying call 'LGBT the Fed One Strong Voice' whilst the slogan 'No Fear, I'm Here' evoked yet a different narrative amongst messages of unity and togetherness. A friend once said to me that in the LGBT community we can sometimes find, as in the self-named book by Amistead Maupin our "logical family' in our quest to claim our own lives. 

A shared creative space 

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2nd May 2018

The flags are coming into fruition. Upon entering the workshop all hands were on the go 'creativity at work!' 

The stories highlighted in the flags are developing through drawing, painting and lettering. One of the participants talked about the  discriminatory situation in her country for LGBT people. It makes life difficult and unfair.  The session gives us an opportunity to share whilst creating. 

Artis Azin continued supporting participants in terms of developing the right graphics and dimensions for flags. We started cutting out the size of the flags we wanted from the calico. It is it is not as easy as it looks bit we' re having a lot of fun. 

Some quotes from artist and participants:
"I thought it would be a bit more difficult but Azin's teaching instructions has helped". Lou

"Lots of energy in the room". Azin 

"I like the international aspect of the people on the project". Lou

"I enjoy the company and I'm feeling good vibes". Al

"I feel serenity". Dee


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9th May 2018

Poem written by one of our participants Dee

The poem is about loss and the continuation of her life. This powerfull poem was written and performed by Dee at our session this week.  Everyone listened intently. It shares her experience of a personal and painfull loss.  

'Like a tree root, breaking new ground

Deep within the soil; undeterred

Drilling further down new soil, parting earth

Tirelessly pushing through until it reaches

A soft place where it can suck up, feed the trunk

Nourish the leaves and tickle the buds for a spring bloom. 


That is alright; bruised ends, chipped bark and all

Yet it produces a fresh head of flowers for an awaiting spring

We all touch n’ feel and smell and sneeze too from time to time

Oh, but it is the joys and allergies too lol

A symbol of love and gratitude; a bundle of flowers

We pick a bundle for loved ones unfamiliar to us

The pain in the root, the beauty of it’s determination. 


With the same determination comes a crack from a breaking mirror

How it travels uncontrollably

I bring you also reflections from a broken mirror

Oh, how a small tap brought out cracks from every angle 

Breaking down into smithereens.

Leaving behind small shattered glasses

No tape nor glue can hold, nor the most patient being can put back together

Definitely, not much of the mended mirror is good enough to be used

Through the cracks and glue that holds it together, I can hardly see my reflection. 


Disposing a broken mirror from where I stand

On a pile of emotions

Of the memories the mirror and I shared;

My nakedness, my imperfections, my brokenness

Could I really throw it away in its broken state and not feel I lost a part of me?

Reality check! It is broken and it’s broken pieces can easily cut me

I cannot see my reflection in this mirror. 


Like a ritual, I close my eyes and easily let go of my old mirror

Careful it does not prick me for the last time.

Taking a last glance at it’s old beautiful frame

And though crafted with such art, we cannot be together. 

Broken things break things in this the same way

Hurt people will hurt people.

My broken mirror will cut me, so I lower it down the bin

Not because I don’t care anymore

But we just don’t belong together. 


So here I am now, saved up, mirror shopping

I finally got enough for a new mirror

From where I stand, a showroom of mirrors,

Big, small, thin, beautiful frames

Well some, not so beautiful

 But the image is so good I could forget about the colour of the frame

You know we could make a team and make the best of the situation. 


Isn’t it funny how

The memories of the broken mirror suddenly begins to play. 

 Should I choose a similar one, will it not break the same way?

Somehow the fears of the unknown, the past, creep up

When the chance arises to move on from broken memories. 

 If not careful,

It will take us back to holding on to broken memories. 


From here, where I stand I see an image of me, complete!! 

This mirror presents me a chance to see myself anew.

A chance to be complete again.

From where I stand, in front of this mirror

That reflects me with good hope to make fresh memories

I am left thinking, won’t it break again and prick me?


From where I stand, 

 I have a choice to be a root breaking new ground

To take home a new mirror and turn it’s frame into something I really want or

To stand here, reflecting on the broken mirror.'



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28th March 2018

In praise of The Fed’s Hate Crime Advocates 

A special thanks to Vera Baird, QC Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner for her positive stance and acknowledgement to The Fed and its resilient group of hate crime advocates tonight. One of The Fed’s Directors, Louise Evan-Wong has echoed Vera Baird's acknowledgement of the positive 6 year partnership both organisations have shared working together to tackle hate crime in the North East.

Hate crime advocates are trained volunteers of the Fed and play a multi-faceted and invaluable role in supporting victims & those who have experienced hate crime. As Vera Baird explained "these hate crime advocates are an important link to advocating and reporting to the police as well”. 

Anyone can experience a hate crime but it is usually the most vulnerable people who are discriminated against and/or abused and physically harmed just for being who they are! Hate crime can affect people psychologically as well.


An LGBT hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity.

The Fed wishes to thank Vera Baird & Awards 4 All and all those hate crime advocates out there who attended last night and whose hard work, perseverance & dedication aspires to improve our communities and to achieve a sense of reassurance & safety.