Children from 28 schools in Nottingham have taken a hand in designing a huge quilt to celebrate the power of kindness. Textile artist Rebekah Johnston has used the children’s designs to create the ‘Wrap yourself in Kindness’ quilt. There’s an extra surprise, as the corners of the quilt include QR codes that can be scanned to hear children’s voices explaining what kindness means to them.
The finished quilt was revealed for the first time at Bulwell Riverside Library on Thursday 28 September. Children and teachers from the schools involved were there to celebrate the moment.
The quilt project has been a collaboration between the City Council, ChalleNGe Nottingham and the National Literacy Trust in Nottingham and 28 schools as part of RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) Day activity. The 2023 theme was ‘Let’s launch into kindness’.
Rebekah, the artist, led a practical workshop with teachers on how to design and create quilt squares with their children. The teachers worked with children in their schools to explore what kindness means and to create designs of quilt squares to represent their ideas. The schools chose one or two designs to share with the artist to form part of the finished quilt.
The quilt will be touring the city’s libraries, where schools can participate in workshop activities.
The quilt will be on display at Bulwell Riverside Library in early October. During the October half term, the quilt will be displayed in Mr Webb’s bedroom in Newstead Abbey. There are plans to display the quilt when the Central library opens. During February, the quilt will be at Sherwood Library for Children’s Mental Health Week.
Cllr Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education said ‘It’s truly inspiring to see how our children and young people value kindness and want to create a kinder environment. The individual panels have been superbly brought to life by Rebekah’s talent. The quilt will be the focus of a series of workshops for children, parents and teachers in Nottingham’s libraries in the coming months.’
Artist Rebekah Johnston said ‘The creativity the children have shown is astounding. It has been a pleasure to work with these talented young people.’
Cathy Mahmood, Challenge Manager for ChalleNGe Nottingham said ‘teachers and children from different schools have come together to explore kindness and express their own ideas within a large collaborative quilt – we hope it sparks further projects between schools who are doing great work and finding creative ways to explore important topics’.
Relationships and Sex Education Day (RSE Day) began in Nottingham in 2018 and is now a nationwide celebration of excellent education around healthy relationships and positive sexual health. The day is a call to action for schools, families, communities and organisations to take an active role in educating in this area and share their fabulous work via events and on social media. www.rseday.com
ChalleNGe Nottingham is Nottingham’s Cultural Education Partnership, hosted by Nottingham Trent University and supported by Arts Council England and NTU. www.challengenottingham.co.uk Their mission is to facilitate more collaboration and connection between arts organisations and schools so that all children and young people in Nottingham engage with relevant, inspiring and accessible arts and cultural experiences, at home and in their communities.