To mark World Aids Day 2012, Plus Me and Creative Recovery created a large scale art installation which asked local people ‘How accepting is our town?’ and explored the impact of discrimination. The project combined a number of art forms, including film, textiles, music and audio to create a walk through experience lasting 10 minutes. It is hoped it encouraged reflection about ‘community’ and grow mutual understanding. Visitors were transported from the 1980s to the present day and encouraged to consider their own thoughts and feelings.
The project was inspired by the ‘NAMES Project, AIDS Memorial Quilt’, which was conceived in November 1985 by US gay rights activist Cleve Jones. The quilt came about after a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. In 1987, the Quilt was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It covered a space larger than a football field and included 1,920 panels. Half a million people visited the Quilt that weekend.
The Sticks and Stones project brought together different groups of people from across Barnsley to create different artwork. It was an opportunity for local people to be part of a big project and learn new skills, at the same time as raising awareness of World Aids Day, the Plus Me organisation and to reap the therapeutic benefits of being creative.