Playing the Race Card is an innovative project to provide artists who identify as black with an opportunity to exhibit their work. Conceived by local resident and community activist, Claudine Eccleston, it’s intended as a positive way to encourage discussion of the use and meaning of the expression ‘Playing the Race Card’, often used to dismiss challenges to racist behaviour, of which she has personal experience.

Claudine Eccleston

“We know that all too often this phrase is used as a blunt tool to shut down dialogue. I hope that Playing the Race Card Project will open up the conversations that I have everyday in my community and present an opportunity for an inclusive town-wide discussion.” 

Eccleston was closely involved with the Black Lives Matter protest in Alexandra Park earlier this year and annual celebrations of Martin Luther King. With funding from Good Stuff in St Leonards and the support of artists Maggie Scott and Becky Beasley, Black Butterfly director Dawn Dublin and Katy Baird of Home Live Arts, she has devised this two-year project to facilitate wider debate about racism.

BAME artists are underrepresented in East Sussex exhibitions, and this scheme seeks to both examine the term’s historical significance and celebrate diversity through visual art – paintings, drawings, photography or collage.

Two virtual, creative Playing the Race Card workshops will take place on Saturday 21st November at 1pm and 3pm, with a specific young people’s session on Saturday 29th November: 1pm to 3pm.

Artworks must be submitted by 31st December 2020. A £500 cash prize will be awarded via a public vote on the Playing the Race Card website and social media platforms, and a £100 cash prize for 16-18 age group.

An online exhibition will be launched on Martin Luther King Day – 17th January 2021, followed in April 2021 with an exhibition featuring commissioned artworks alongside a series of talks and discussions.

The Playing the Race Card Project (PRCP) is run in association with Black Butterfly, a non-profit cultural heritage and social justice organisation supporting people of minority ethnic communities. 

Based in Hastings, it aims to raise awareness of equality issues and engage communities in coming together through creative art and social activities. PRCP is also supported by Good Stuff in St Leonards – a creative programme of activities and events led by local artists.

Free to enter submissions are invited from anyone in the UK who identifies as black, including people whose ancestral origins are African, South and East Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Romany, the indigenous people of the South Pacific Islands, the American continents, Australia and New Zealand.

More information and how to submit artwork:

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