The March of the Artists – 2018
The March of the Artists is about visibility : Unveiling the artists who are behind the art.
It’s inspired by the March of the Blanketeers that took place 200 years ago, in 1817.
Around 5,000 Lancashire spinners and weavers set off from Manchester to London with petitions for the Prince Regent about the desperate economic hardship faced by the textile industry in Lancashire.
Each carried a blanket to identify themselves to other textile workers as they walked.
This wasn’t an isolated event. It was part of building public protest and visibility which led to the Peterloo Massacre
two years later, and the massive political changes that followed.
The March of the Artists isn’t an isolated event either, it is part of a larger movement of diverse, tenacious, resilient, dedicated groups and individuals, who are talking about
artists in city centres
artist led solutions
They are making history as we speak, transforming the landscape, some of it just around the corner from where you are right now.
The March of the Artists, Lauren Sagar, Eve Robertson and John-Paul Brown, walking from Manchester to London during summer 2018.
Artists are a powerhouse of creativity and environmental transformation; their work frequently experienced, as individuals rarely visible.
In 1817, the March of the Blanketeers planned to draw attention to the problems facing local unemployed spinners and weavers. Thousands of protesters met in Manchester to start the march to London, hoping to hold meetings and gain support along the way. Each would carry a blanket, (hence Blanketeers) to keep them warm at night, and to indicate to others that they were textile workers. They would each have a petition for the Prince Regent fastened to his arm. The petitions contained a request that the Prince would take measures to remedy the wretched state of the cotton trade. They were attacked by soldiers almost as soon as they set off; in Stockport several received sabre wounds and one man was shot dead. Around four or five hundred got as far as Macclesfield and Leek; most of them were turned back at the Hanging Bridge over the Dove as they were about to enter Derbyshire. Only one ‘Blanketeer’ managed to reach London.