I’m an multi-disciplinary artist, cultural and political activist and active citizen. I also have to earn a living. Alongisde art I currently work two days a week for the intergenerational arts charity Magic Me and run a small gardening business. I’ve recently changed location, after 32 years in London I’m back in Maidenhead to care for my 93 year old mother. You can find out more about my professional career on Linkedin: uk.linkedin.com/pub/deborah-mason/7/610/901/
I’m interested in whether cultural engagement can create political engagement. Following on from that whether political engagement of the citizen can create political change – real change not just a change of government but of what government means.
I should say (just in case the above statement is mis-interpreted) that I believe in democracy and that I think we all deserve a better democracy than the one we are currently living in.
5 years ago I had a life-changing conversation with Lucy Neal (author of Playing for Time, Making Art as if the World Matters – and much more) and read Robert Macfarland’s book ‘Landmarks’. In that book I found a paragraph that has informed all my artistic work since then. In a nutshell the idea that to give close attention to something generates empathy with it, and because of that empathy we care more about what happens to that thing/person/place. This has been a theme in my Artist in Residence in My Own Street project, in Plant of the Day, in Cheer up Love! and in my new project 365 Days of Mum. I also find it retrospectively in London Debates and Collage 365.
I have worked with Prof Ann Light of University of Sussex on a number of creative projects linking creative practice and environmental and community sustainability most recently:
On a report for the AHRC as part of their Connected Communities programme “Creative Practice and Transformation to Sustainability – Making and Managing Culture Change” as second author
and as co-author with Ann Light on a contribution to Nesta’s Radical Visions of Future Government collection – “Earth 2030: Governance for Life on an Evolving Planet”
You can find out about creative projects here
I am a recent committee member of Wild Maidenhead which has been set up to help look after the wild things and wild places in the area. The aim of the group is to discover, celebrate, support and protect biodiversity, whether in the area’s 3,000 acres of domestic gardens, or in parks, wildlife areas, nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). I work on data and public engagement.
Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum
I am a member of Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum which is a group of local people looking to create a Neighbourhood plan for the central 7 (unparished) wards of Maidenhead.
Women’s Equality Party
I am a founder member of the Women’s Equality Party and served a term as treasurer of the Lambeth Branch. I was also election agent for three candidates in Lambeth’ local council elections in 2018. I was also on the ground campaign lead for our candidate in Vauxhall in the 2017 General Election. I also campaigned in the London Mayoral/GLA elections in 2018, the Brockely council bi-election in October of that year and the Lewisham parliamentary bi-election in May 2018. I continue to be actively involved in the party and I am now data manager for the newly formed Windsor branch. I stood as a candidate in the Riverside Ward by-election in October 2019. In September 2019 as part of Climate Strike week I organised and chaired a ‘Women & Environment’ event celebrating local women leading on different aspects of tackling the Enivronmental & Climate Emergency.
I was co-chair of What Next? Southwark and facilitated a number of public engagements including a culture hustings at the Young Vic during the 2015 General Election. I continue to be a member of the What Next? movement and was involved with the setting up of the BBC Get Creative initiative in it’s first and second years. As part of this I organised a ‘Knit in for Peace’ hosted by Knit for Peace at the Barbican Centre
I was a trustee of the Kennington Association, the primary function of this local residents association was to support the work of the Lollard Street Adventure Playground.
Artists’ Assembly Against Austerity http://artistsassembly.wix.com/artistsassembly
I was on the steering group of the AAAA – and worked with the PCS Union on a conference on the Future of Arts and Culture in Britain – details of that conference here:
Details of the #SHOWCULTURESOMELOVE campaign here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5zViue3YfFVMGYtdWh0TVkyU1E/view?usp=sharing
Is She Having Fun www.isshehavingfun.wordpress.com
My friend Bruce, alerted me to the ongoing threat from organised misogynist organisations targeting feminist bloggers and together we started this small campaign to help people understand what was going on and hope to devise some strategies to combat it.