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Workers Identity

“Everyone should feel valued” - Exploring Identity on International Workers Day

by FACT

International Workers Day, Learning

Part of the Spring 2019 season

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The Digital Ambassadors, our creative and digital programme for the over 60s, have been working closely with Holy Family Primary School in an intergenerational project exploring the past and future workplaces of Liverpool.

Focusing on the idea of a workers’ identity, the groups have worked together with artist Sarah Bailey to create the short film Dear Future Worker, which premieres on Wednesday 1 May to celebrate International Workers’ Day.

With participants ranging from 9 to 83 years old, we believe that intergenerational work gives participants the opportunity to work together to gain skills, values and knowledge and develops social cohesion in our ageing societies. This is particularly apt following the publication of a 12 month parliamentary enquiry, which concluded that the tacit deal between young and old to support each other through life could break down because of major problems with work, housing and tax.

After being inspired by Behind the Rent Strike, a 1970’s documentary by Nick Broomfield, The Digital Ambassadors and the students of Holy Family co-wrote a creative ‘manifesto’ about how work shapes our identity and our city, resulting in the creation of Dear Future Worker. Throughout this process, the groups used a number of questions as a basis for their discussions:

  • What is a workers’ identity?
  • Does what you “do for a living” define who you are?
  • How has this changed over time?
  • What would workers rights be in an unknown future workplace?
  • What does it mean to be working class?

With their focus on Liverpool’s history, both groups used art to express who they are and to create a shared learning atmosphere - looking at how labour can change identity, and how knowledge about the history of the city can be exchanged through creative writing. The project presents art as a platform for participants to express who they are, and share stories in a learning experience which spans generations.

The Digital Ambassadors form part of our learning programme - the group explore art, technology and the cultural heritage of Liverpool in a creative and digital programme for older adults. The group meets twice a month on Monday afternoons for workshops and activities with artists and technologists, giving them the opportunity to share stories and engage with FACT’s artistic programme whilst learning about new technologies together.

Dear Future Worker was created by artist Sarah Bailey in collaboration with FACT’s Digital Ambassadors and Holy Family Catholic Primary School as part of Young At Art, an arts project working with over 60s across the Liverpool City Region which is produced in partnership between FACT, Open Eye Gallery and National Museums Liverpool.

Supported by Pilkington Charities Fund.