A digital artwork premiered in March 2021 as part of the Mayflower 400 Giving Thanks campaign which ran between Thanksgiving (November 2020) and Valentine’s Day 2021.
Giving Thanks was designed to create digital memories that bring the people of Southampton together in a shared celebration of the city and communities, with more than 300 people of all ages joining in through social media channels and online interviews.
Thanks to funding from Arts Council England and the Barker-Mill Foundation, artists Shared Space and Light premiered a digital artwork which pulled the community-generated content together.
This online show on Saturday 27 March told the story of Southampton and its people at this unique moment in time using motion graphics and 3D animation.
Shared Space and Light are artists who strongly believe in the power of video projection to bring people together. Collaboration is central to what they do, and they have worked alongside a diverse range of communities as well as musicians, set designers and theatre companies.
They said: “This project has been an exciting challenge, working together in difficult times and we hope to create a memorable celebration for Southampton. Thank you so much for all your contributions online and over Zoom!”
Giving Thanks was delivered as part of the city-wide Mayflower 400 programme which aimed to not just mark the anniversary, but to bring people together, especially in these days of social isolation, through generating an understanding of difference and helping to develop empathy.
Southampton residents were asked to share photos, images, videos, stories, poems of the things for which they are grateful. Schools and colleges took part in the programme, as did a range of community organisations such as Theatre for Life CIC, Skate Southampton, SO Linked, the Romanian Advisory Centre, TUVAA.
Throughout the campaign, a selection of ‘thanks’ were posted on the Mayflower 400 website - a huge selection can now be seen here.
These included this Giving Thanks from a member of the public: "I am grateful for the opportunities the last year has provided. I am aware for so many it has been utterly challenging, at times, and I know beyond description in pain and suffering.
"Those are not the aspects that I mean to highlight or make light of in any way. Yet, I believe this period has strengthened our family ties and hopefully will help us look outward to those around us who we can support and show care to during this continued challenging time."
Giving Thanks was supported by the Barker-Mill Foundation. A spokesman said: “The Barker-Mill Foundation is absolutely delighted to be supporting the campaign and the wider Mayflower 400 project which has bought and will continue to bring so much joy to the City.”
The programme was also supported by partners Northam Community Centre, GO! Southampton, Southampton Voluntary Services and by Southampton Paralympian Aaron Phipps, who acted as an advocate for the campaign.
Cllr Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes, Communities and Culture said: “During this difficult time, it’s more important than ever to celebrate and share the important things that make a difference to our lives every day, however small.
"People from all ages and backgrounds have supported this campaign which shows both the positive can-do spirit and the camaraderie and kindness of our great city. We are grateful to them and to all the people of Southampton who have come together during these unprecedented times."
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