Radical Cushions

A selection of 8 cushions printed with various text and image
Melodie Holliday’s Radical Cushions at Redefining the Radical. Image: Melodie Holliday

At a time of such global political uncertainty, Unlimited Impact looks back at a piece we supported last year that challenged the political agenda in – shall we say – a softer approach!

Unlimited Impact supported Collective Encounters in commissioning a new range of textiles ‘bearing radical slogans’ by multidisciplinary artist Melodie Holliday, for the Rediscovering the Radical Conference, Liverpool.

As a passionate advocate for marginalised issues and social justice, Melodie attended the rehearsals of the Make Your Mark Legislative Theatre project, where she drew out key political concerns of the young people of the North as a starting point for her slogans.

“I was struck by how politically aware they are and began to form ideas about what I was going to make and how I would respond to what I was hearing.”

11 people sit on chairs in a circle in a large hall

Group discussion at the rehearsals of Make Your Mark Legislative Theatre. Image: Melodie Holliday


Printing and stitching the finalised slogans onto t-shirts, cushions and placards, the resulting pieces were incorporated into the youth group’s performance of a large scale silent protest that greeted the Redefining the Radical delegates outside the main auditorium.

Group of people linking arms in front of a gate

Performance of young people forming a line in protest at the Rediscovering the Radical conference. All wear t-shirts bearing the slogan “Refugees Welcome Here” Image: Melodie Holliday


The cushions were then sent on a tour across the country, decorating the industry networking space at the Southbank Centre’s Unlimited festival, and stimulating conversation at the What Next? symposium at Tramway, Glasgow and the People, Place, Power conference, Doncaster.

By secreting the cushions around the rooms, they set a tone to the spaces they occupied, successfully demonstrating the power of subtler artistic interventions – as Melodie sets down, “I have used slogans to bring the political into the living room for those who want to avoid engaging with issues. There is no escape because these issues affect us all.”

A man in a floral white shirt and woman in black in conversation

Delegates networking at the Southbank Centre’s Unlimited festival. Photo by Rachel Cherry




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