GUT HEALING is a live event delivered by artist and curator Amy Lawrence with invited local artists, in response to the themes and texts of The Portico Library’s current exhibition Bittersweet: Legacies of Slavery & Abolition in Manchester. It includes among other elements an immersive all-female participatory work created by Lawrence herself, influenced by her ongoing research into the relationships between women's voices and the abolition, in particular Sojourner Truth's iconic 'Ain't I a Woman' speech of 1851. A reflection upon Lawrence's own fragmented understanding via her study of the library's collection and other sources, the event is a piecing together of the legacies of abolition from a 21st century perspective. A diverse selection of participants redirect their voices into The Portico Library, where in 1807, the all-white, all-male membership discussed the abolition of slavery and signed petitions on either side of the debate. GUT HEALING takes back these histories and re-situates them to engage with complex issues of race, gender and identity politics.
Amy Lawrence is a Manchester-based artist, creative producer and facilitator of participatory events in a variety of settings, and co-founder of LEGROOM, a new space for exploring approaches to movement and visual arts in Manchester city centre. She recently completed an Emerging Artist Fellowship with Manchester International Festival and the Jerwood Foundation.