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Big questions for our final UNION 23 Weekend in Blackpool!

This weekend was planned in collaboration with participants from across the North – Alice Francis, Nate Frost, Pauline Heath and Ola Wilson. Our base was the wonderful Old Electric.

Day 1

We started our Blackpool weekend off with food by Becky and a fascinating intro to The Old Electric from Mel Whitehead before heading into Songwriting for Social Change workshop led by Liz Kelly

“Working in groups, without the need for instruments or musical training, participants will create protest songs about things that are important to them and have the opportunity to perform them in front of each other.”

As well as the very important task of exploring the Blackpool Illuminations!

Day 2

During Saturday morning we worked on our own range of identities and the masks that we wear:

I am the mask. I am not your true self.
I come from the past, society, friends and family. I come from outside. I exist so deep you forget
about me.
I dream to become you. I dream you forget about me.
I fear being made redundant, that you will put me down and leave me aside. I fear you’re
outgrowing me. I do not fit you anymore. What will I become?
I hope you remember me. I hope you will learn from me, that I shall transform you. Completely,
inexorably, totally.
I love how you feel under me. I love sensing you struggle. I am nurtured by this push and pull. I love
showing myself up. I love… You.
I am the mask. I am you. I am not a stranger.
I come from within, I come to you as a destiny.
I dream about you and me. We are one. I dream… about you.
I fear no one, not even myself.
I hope you can understand, I hope you get it. I hope, I hope, I hope… that we will forever be
I love when you pretend to hate me. I love when you pretend, I am not there. I love this feeling of
you being me being you being me.
I am the mask. I am the mask. I am a better version of yourself. I am your enemy. I am the worst of
you. I am not here to mess around.
I am not being serious, I come from another world. I come from within.
I dream taking over, being complete, being at peace. I dream this will never end, you and me.
I fear the day you will wake up; it terrified me. I fear this might be the end of the road, the end of the
road for you and me.
I hope you will remember. I hope you will live.
I love you, don’t forget me.
I am the mask, your mask. Mask, masquerade, masking, uncover me.
Open up but don’t forget me.
I am not the enemy.
Text by Lora Krasteva

During the afternoon time for a Creative Space to actually make the masks we had been talking about…(shout out to Katy, Liz and Ian for bringing along supplies!) and then in the evening to put it all together to create our very own masked ball complete with beautifully wacky costumes lent by Corinne and Theatre Space NE and music by DJLipGlossBoss aka Ola Wilson

Day 3

A full Sunday programme…

Starting with The Six Circles of Wisdom which explores ‘My purpose in the world’. From this exercise, we explored What’s Next for me? asking:

  • What’s next on my timeline/journey?
  • Is it a next step or a plot twist?
  • A crossroads or a threshold?
  • What are my questions going forward?

We also wanted to capture our reviews of UNION 23, for this created an illustrative timeline of UNION 23, with participants in the room and on zoom, thinking about…

  • What has my journey through UNION been like?
  • What are my abiding memories?
  • How have I been in it?

To close out our weekend we created a ritual (Mabon style)

  • What am I letting go of?
  • What am I calling in?

As one UNION programme is let go another one is called in. But:

“UNION is a bedrock”,*

so this isn’t a goodbye, just…see you soon


*UNION 23 participant quote

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