01 May The story of Mahnaz’s campaign
Tea4change is a campaign about bringing different communities together and combatting the isolation felt by those arriving new to Birmingham through stitching, drinking tea, eating cake and having conversations.
The campaign was devised by Mahnaz during ‘Making for Change’, a week of workshops run by Craftspace, with a focus on Craftivism.
Read Mahnaz’s story and find out how to download instructions to make your own tea bag at home…
Mahnaz talks about Tea 4 Change: how it started and how it’s developed…
Between 2016-17 Tea4Change took a gentle approach to campaigning. The aim to initiate changes and conversations.
The initial idea was to make a decorative teapot and teacups as the centrepiece for an activity of making which would open conversations between people from different communities.
We served free tea and cake and asked people to sew a decorative tea bag while encouraging conversation on the theme of community. The tea bags were then given away to a new friend. (See over for a step by step guide.)
After the event I had the opportunity to develop my campaign further. Over the period of two months working with other artists and the Craftspace team I hosted a large popup tea party outdoors in Cathedral Green aka ‘Pigeon Park ‘in Central Birmingham as part of In:Site Festival.
I’ve had the opportunity to go to an Eden Project Community Camp and meet other people from different parts of the UK, wanting to make a change within their communities.
I was interviewed within a month of returning from the camp on BBC WM breakfast show on the topic of ‘isolation’ and shared my Tea4change campaign.
I also travelled to Ljubljana with Emma and Deirdre from Craftspace on a united exchange programme. We met organisations from five other European countries: Dublin, Berlin, Italy, Belgium and Rotterdam. It was an opportunity to see how other organisations work and how we could take inspiration and grow.
Tea4Change has been part of many festivals and events including:
– MAC’s Social Exchange festival focussing on social action.
– A mental health festival in Birmingham with Arts All Over The Place. Adapting the making activity to suit the idea of writing positive messages.
– ‘On the Road to Belonging’ with Work in Progress. I was on the panel to discuss the topic of ‘belonging’ with public members asking questions, also at the MAC in Birmingham.
– ‘India’s Presence in Britain’ exhibition at the Central Library Birmingham.
– A party to to celebrate 30 years of Craftspace.
– Taster sessions for the ‘Making for Change’ project, cohort in 2017 sharing my campaign and talking about my experience.
– ‘Women in Protest’ exhibition at the MAC.
Through the workshops, the tea parties, the stitching and exchanges Tea4Change is an open campaign.
Other artists, organisations and individuals have used a similar ideas to encourage conversations and break down barriers.
Tea is a start and this campaign is to inspire and initiate a spark for others to make a change, whether it is big or small.