The project is a cross-cultural, cross-age, cross-gender conversation (cross gender in the fact that it affects both men and women) about various issues related to interpersonal violence. This also includes how children who can be witness, victims or perpetrators of abuse. The project has been designed with the support and collaboration of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Service, South and West Devon.

Over the past year Lisa has focused the project upon violence and abuse against women; working with groups of women who accessed or worked within the Domestic Violence and Abuse service as well as women in the public domain to produce an installation entitled The Portrait Quilt. Her question was “How can we talk about violence and abuse without stereotyping abused women?” 

Since 2009 Lisa has worked as a volunteer for the Domestic Violence and Abuse service to undergo training and build a relationship with the organisation. As well as find out about the policies and issues they were concerned with. She was then able to set up informal interviews and work with women who had experienced domestic violence and abuse. Her intention was to ask them about the experiences they had gone through, the difficulties that arose and the affect it had on their lives.

During the process of working with groups, staff and volunteers Lisa made kits which were made up of fabric, pre cut squares, templates, examples of squares and other accessories which could be shared around and taken home. These kits were intended to make quilt making accessible for the women. Lisa also ran organised workshops at Newton Abbot town council and museum which were open to the public; and acted as a venue for women to participate in the stitching together and assemblage of squares. Some women who attended had suffered domestic violence and abuse themselves or had been witness to it. 

Alongside the quilt the installation also highlights the making process through photographic image and text. The quilt was placed on a double bed, the headboard was designed and made in collaboration with designer Lisa Fuller using words and sentences taken from conversational interviews to create a female form on the wood. From within the bed there was a sound collage of womens voices saying phrases also taken from interviews, relating to how the women were controlled.  The phrases were recorded by women from the public, asking women of varying ages and backgrounds to choose and record a phrase. Interviews with members of staff at the Domestic Violence and Abuse service on myths and steretype were in the space for members of the public could choose to listen to. Lisa and a member of staff were there at all times to offer support. 

The Portarit Quilt was exhibited at the council chamber, Newton Abbot (1-12 July 2010) with the support of the town council and museum. It was later exbited at Ultimate dART  University College Falmouth, Dartington Campus, MA Show 2010 as part of Lisa's studies in Performance Writing.

 Lisa hopes to tour The Portrait Quilt installation or elements of the work to schools and public spaces. The installation has been designed to be installed within alternative where the work can have direct engagment with the public. Her intention is also to extend the Words of Selves: the other side of silence project to work with other groups affected by domestic violence and abuse.

Lisa is keen for anyone interested in exhibiting the piece and/or the development of the project to get in touch with her.



 The Portrait Quilt is currently showing at the Roundhouse Cafe at Dartington Estate as part of World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10 October 2010. The event has been organised by The Arts and Social Justice Departments at Dartington alongside Soundart Radio as part of a season of work based around perceptions and depictions of mental health. The sound collage  which was part of the installation was made into a radio programme for Soundart's project Unsane Rhapsody.

The quilt will be displayed at the Roundhouse Cafe until 8th November.  

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