Our 2019 highlights
A reflection of 2019
It’s been quite a year for Sail, we have worked on some fantastic projects, met some real game changers, connected with diverse communities and been humbled by some truly inspirational individuals. Life can fly by so fast sometimes that you barely get to take a moment and reflect on your experiences, but taking the time to write this blog only solidifies our passion for connecting with and working alongside people and audiences we care about. Here’s a few of our 2019 highlights.
Creative freedom is a wonderful thing, it is the power to create without boundaries. Sunderland Council and Cultural Spring commissioned Sail to develop way finding and signage that encouraged people to pick up their litter, which on the face of it could seem an uninteresting (yet important) message to creatively explore. This project however was a great example of how creative freedom can change how, what and to whom you communicate. Throughout the beginning of the year throughout 6 areas of Sunderland, Sail ran 38 workshops over a 6 weeks period with groups ranging from 3 year old pre-school children where we created cut and stick pieces of art, graffiti workshops with groups of young people to joining elderly community members in their tea dance sessions. This project was all about engaging community conversation, related to pride of place, memories, stories and connections. The result was not only signage that was co-created with the very people living in the areas where litter was an issue but a strengthening of relationships and community empathy. The project left real legacy and further action around pride and ‘clean-up’ was taken by the community after the end of the project.
Women of Tyneside Festival
The Women of Tyneside project started for us back in 2018 when Sail were commissioned to work with Tyne and Wear Museums as branding and campaign partner for the project. Our objective was to celebrate and value women-giving women of the region a voice, whilst encouraging conversations across generations. International Women’s Day, marked the launch of the Women of Tyneside’s ‘Festival of Women,’ a uniquely programmed series of events that took place across Tyneside. It was a joy for us to see the festival unfold with such success and intersectional inclusion. Being a part of the project meant the world to us. The brand received exceptional feedback from the cultural and heritage sector, including that it was so refreshing to see something more exciting and dynamic. Women of Tyneside were shortlisted for the Museum Changes Lives Awards.
This has been such a humbling project. It started with us being interviewed by a group of Young Carers, who decided they would like to work with us on an exciting billboard campaign that aims to reach out to other Young Carers in the city who may not know they are in a caring role. Since then, we have got to know these amazing people pretty well and seen them grow in confidence and become strong inspiring advocates. The launch of the four new animations we co-created with the group took place DATE and 8 of the Young Carers stood in front of a room full of people and gave deeply personal speeches about their experiences of being a carer, it was astounding and deeply moving. Working with Newcastle Carers has most definitely been a highlight for us and also hugely impacted the way we will continue to work with audiences going forward. The project has not only had personal impact, but excellent commercial impact, improving perceptions of the charity and their impact.
It’s not every day you get the opportunity to revive a national and historical treasure, however over the summer months we did just that. Scarlet Women was a national publication produced from 1976-82 at the height of the Women’s Liberation Movement. We were approached to work with Scarlett Women and Tyne and Wear Museums to produce a special 2019 edition of their feminist zine, to support recent research which looks at what has changed over the past 35 years (and what hasn’t). The DIY magazine’s aim has always been to encourage change and start conversation and discussion. Through collaborative workshops, intergenerational conversations and a bucket load of passion still burning strong through the original creators a revival was born. There were lots of intergenerational conversations, and there is now a young group that are aiming to bring the organisation back to life.
We are big independent film fans here at Sail. Independent Cinemas have always been at the heart of our communities and the films created are often projects of passion, a form or art and expression of thought, opinions and empathy for fellow humans. Film Feels is UK-Wide film season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. It is designed to celebrate film’s unique ability to transport us, to illuminate ideas, and to spark a conversation. It doesn’t get much more inspiring than that! So this was a super exciting project to work on and we had so much fire in our belly getting stuck into the creation of this.
We first met festival director Phil Douglas back in 2016 over coffee to discuss the Curious branding project, we knew we were about to embark upon something seriously special. Curious Festival has become one of the most important LGBTQ arts and cultural happenings to mark on your calendar, and July’s festival was one of the best yet. The chance to celebrate diversity, intersectionality and the wonder and beauty of our humanity is very much alive at every festival through music, performance, poetry and music, it validates the need for visibility, expression and self acceptance; and the importance of safe spaces for young people to surround themselves with like-minded people that embrace individuality. We will forever be Curious champions and feel proud to have been with them since the start. Curious are doing exceptionally well, now arts council funded, and award-winning.
With funding received from The Big Lottery this opened up the opportunity to facilitate fortnightly creative workshops, with the end goal being to create an exhibition of works that would explore and celebrate the voices and experiences of young autistic people and children. Meeting the ‘gang’ which the young group eventually named themselves ‘Autism Activists’ was quite frankly awesome, and activists they were right from the get-go. They were charged with opinion, facts, knowledge and assertiveness about who they are and what they want to say. The protest-style exhibition was a success and the confidence in these young people grew so much that they took their bold messages for equality, inclusion and acceptance to the streets of London and even right up to 10 Downing Street. This was a big ‘YES’ moment this year.
You just can’t beat being in room full of people who are passionate system changers. Lankelly Chase are exactly that! Originating in 1962 by philanthropist Major Allnatt they positively influencing policy, system and structure and provide a platform for grassroots groups and less mainstream voices. Putting people facing extreme disadvantage at the centre of services is central to what they do and we had the chance to spend two days in the gorgeous setting of Beamish Hall to absorb, observe and create illustrations as a communication aid in their place based learning programme. To come away from an event like that feeling that there is hope for our communities in this current political climate is a good reminder of why we continue to fight for positive social impact.
Fedrigoni UK’s calendar project is a collaboration of designers, illustrators and photographers from across the UK, who contribute a piece of design that interprets the numeral or date that they are provided with at random. The design brief is purposefully restrictive, so that creativity is challenged. We love a challenge and its great to do side projects when time allows so we got stuck in and created a slanting anarchy symbol which now reads 17 as on this day in 1978 punk pioneers the Sex Pistols split up after Johnny Rotten left the band. Punk died its first death.
Following the completion of a new brand we created for North East marketing agency Crystallised they scooped the 2019 North East Marketing Awards for small agency of the year. Working almost exclusively in the arts, culture and creative sectors Crystallised are humans after our own heart, not bound by convention they shake up and challenge the very sectors they represent by following a strong ethos on culture being for all, and demanding that everyone have the same opportunity to be a part of culture however it is defined. Creating the brand was a real collaborative experience and their award was well and truly deserved.
Last but not least, we have had an amazing project with incredible movement Iweigh.
What started out as a single Instagram post by Jameela Jamil, turned into an unstoppable movement now known as IWeigh. IWeigh is a powerful social media movement about radical inclusivity, they amplify, advocate, and or are tour de force for social change. We have been super excited be working with IWeigh on the new brand to be launched very soon – watch this space. We got to go out to LA to visit the IWeigh team back in October, to undertake some brand workshops and produce more creative ideas.