The Tavistock and Portman banner project
In 2018 we commissioned an embroidered, textile banner to celebrate our shared values, the rich history of the Trust and our many achievements. This project involved many hands and many voices across the Trust from staff and members to services users, patients and their communities.
Our community is diverse and The Tavistock and Portman means different things to different people. We see this as one of our strengths. We placed coloured postcards in the waiting rooms around the Trust. Everyone who visited the building had the chance to let us know what the Tavistock and Portman meant to them.
We were delighted to invite Ed Hall to kick off the project by talking about his work as a banner maker over the last 30 years. He has worked with many organisations and museums and is well-known for collaborating with artists, making brightly coloured, stitched and painted banners for Jeremy Dellar's Turner Prize-winning exhibition Folk Archive in 2004 and English Magic at the Venice Biennale in 2013.
In 2011 Hall presented his first solo exhibition of banners at the People’s History Museum, Manchester. In 2012, the British Council Collection commissioned Hall to create two banners celebrating works in the collection and his banners can probably be seen in any upcoming demonstration in a UK town!
The banner was made by Ed Hall, a banner maker for trade unions and exhibitions for 30 years. Ed writes: "The idea was to make a banner for display and to be out in the street on some occasions, publicising the Tavistock and Portman with a visual language that would reflect the important work of the centre. It was important that the ideas and work of staff, patients and service users be central to the banner's creation.
"I was asked by the artist Rachel Causer to be part of this project at the Tavistock and Portman, which was very exciting. It involved holding workshops and talks at the Tavistock.
"My job was to listen carefully use the ideas and the material produced to make a visual display which was obviously a banner with a title slogans and a centrepiece .
"A range of ideas were part of the project, but the idea of a stormy sky to reflect that life is not always tranquil, and a sea which carried the slogans made at the workshops within the waves. Raindrops were made as buttons, with drawings, symbols and sayings.
"A rising sun is a symbol of hope, and a simple rowing boat being steered across stormy waters symbolises confidence and help in times of difficulty.
"I am a banner maker mainly of trade union banners, they are hand stitched mostly appliqued. The process of this project was most important to me as many elements, the sea, sky and the storm, the raindrops which were buttons were all made by the staff and service users, and the waves which are quotations are all from the workshops."
Rachael Causer, our artist in residence during the creation of the banner, writes: "My intention from the outset was this project should be a genuinely collaborative work that would include not only voices and thoughts but also the physical handy-work of individuals - service users, their families and the staff that make up the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. It was important that the workshops were firmly focussed around conversations and making…and quite a lot of cake!
"The resulting hand-stitched buttons, hand-painted fabric, the messages in the water and the design imagery all reflect this collaboration very well. Ed Hall did a tremendous job in bringing these diverse elements together and making a beautiful and meaningful banner."