September, and a new development for the Intimate Tour of Breasts: I have been invited to create a Birmingham version of my walking tour as part of the exquisite Birmingham Still Walking festival, and also pre-empting the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s forthcoming exhibition, Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender, and Identity, which opens in December. My walk takes place on Saturday 16th September, 12.45pm (with a second outing next Spring, dates tbc), I’ve discovered some really exciting Birmingham legends and landmarks. Here’s the blurb:
Artist, writer and breast cancer survivor, Claire Collison is your tour guide on this three-hour walk exploring multicultural mythologies surrounding breasts, and looking at their commodification throughout history to the present day – from religious martyrs to political activists, fine art to Page 3, nipple slip to slippery nipple. Engaging in conversations and activities en route, you will be unraveling the implications of all this on how women feel about their own breasts. This Birmingham Intimate Tour of Breasts is second in a series which began 2016 as part of the Walking Women festival in London.
An Intimate Tour of Breasts is supported by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and pre-empts the exhibition Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity opening on Saturday 2nd December. This major exhibition will feature over 80 modern and contemporary artworks by internationally renowned artists who explore themes of gender, sexuality and identity in art.
Booking and further info can be found here – http://www.stillwalking.org/intimate-tour
In other news, I apologise for being so completely rubbish at the regular upkeep of a blog (how do people do it?) so I am belatedly sharing this, a podcast of me reading my poem, The Ladies’ Pond, which was awarded second prize in the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine 2017. In an interview explaining how I came to write it, I said:
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I became acutely aware of the invisibility of other women who had chosen not to have reconstructive surgery. This invisibility not only signalled the pressure I was under to conform, it also meant I had no tangible evidence of women survivors. The Ladies’ Pond is both an institution and a secret – a natural oasis, hidden away on Hampstead Heath in London, where women swim year round. The chance encounter with an old woman that I describe in the poem really happened, thirty years ago, but it was only on my birthday, days before my own surgery, that I remembered her. I sometimes wonder now if she was a ghost from my future, come to reassure me all would be well.”
And, while I’m at it, here are a few links to where poetry of mine can be found online…
(Keeping Borzoi was Highly Commended in the Bare Fiction Prize for Poetry 2016, as chosen by Helen Mort.)
The Compass Magazine http://www.thecompassmagazine.co.uk/cc/
The Flambard Prize 2016 http://archive.nclacommunity.org/content/?p=2404
That’s plenty for now. If you’re in Birmingham, maybe see you on the 16th!