Garstang Go Global Fairtrade/Slave Trade project
Monday 4th September 2000 saw the launch of the Fairtrade/Slave Trade project with an exhibition on chocolate and fair trade in Garstang Library. The Garstang Oxfam Group joined up with the Garstang Youth and Community Centre, Garstang High School and the Lancaster Global Education Centre to run the Garstang Go Global Project. Neil Tricket (who formed the Global Issues Group at the Youth Centre) and Helen Selby (of the Garstang Oxfam Group) won an 'On the Line' award that sent the young persons theatre group 'Mission' to Ghana in July 2001.
The Garstang Go Global Project is essentially aimed at building long term partnerships with students and farmers in Ghana in order to break down stereotypes and promote a better understanding of global issues in the Garstang area. It combines the work done on Garstang as a Fairtrade Town with the fair trade / slave trade project. Although sending the theatrical workshop to Ghana was central to the project it is intended that the project will continue in other forms for years to come.
Slavery to Fair Trade
The slave trade and fair trade are two trading systems, old and new, one benefiting people in Developing Countries the other exploiting them. This aside there are other links between the two subjects providing plenty of material for the project. The slave trade abolitionists set up the Sierra Leone Trading Company, which was an early fair trading system attempting to show it made economical sense to trade directly with the West African people, rather than exploit their labour in the Americas. The Garstang Oxfam Group believe we can learn from the successful campaign to abolish the slave trade, when looking at ways to campaign on fair trade and expose the injustices of the present trading system.
The two issues link Garstang, and the surrounding community, with the cocoa farming community of Ghana. Lancaster was the fourth biggest slave trading port in the UK, which, with Ghana, made up two points of the notorious slave trade triangle. The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) who have their origins locally, featured prominently in the movement to abolish the slave trade. Garstang's status, as the World's First Fairtrade Town, has also helped to forge links with the cocoa farmers of Ghana who have benefited from the Fairtrade system. It is hoped the project will encourage links between the cocoa farmers and local farmers also fighting for a fair price for their produce. Bruce Crowther, Chairperson of the Garstang Oxfam Group, said, "The project has involved many sections of the local community including the youth club, schools, churches, shops and farmers. By promoting fair trade it is a perfect example of how local action can make a difference globally."
Events and exhibitions around fair trade and the slave trade were held in and around Garstang during the academic year 2000/2001.
On 24th January 2001 the Go Global team presented a two hour theatrical workshop to year 7 at Garstang High School . Central to the workshop was the play 'Hidden Brutality', put together entirely by the theatre group 'Mission', formed by the young people in the Global Issues Group. Following the play were three half hour sessions on the slave trade, fair trade and racism run by the High School, Oxfam Group and Youth Club. The common strand linking the three issues was indignity; the indignity at not being given a fair price for ones produce and thereby devaluing your hard work, the obvious indignity of the slave trade and finally, the indignity of racism which was used to justify the horrendous Atlantic Slave Trade in people.
'Hidden Brutality', directed and produced by Claire Piela, is a powerful moving drama focusing on the Atlantic slave trade of the past and modern child slavery of today. The cast included Claire Piela, Beth Carroll, Mel Yates, Amy Williams, Peter Lane, Sally Piela, Lee Bradshaw and Tom Bamber. Technical support was provided by Andrew Hogton, Steven Hughes and Joseph Myerscough. The play was performed to the State Experimental Basic Schools in Kumasi when the students visited Ghana in July 2001. The play has now been reviewed in the light of what was learnt from the visit and, with funding from 'One World Week', has been professionally videoed. It will now be used as part of an Education Pack on Fairtrade, the Atlantic slave trade and racism to be launched later in 2002. The Education pack will support the National curriculum and be made available to schools across the UK.
The cast of 'Hidden Brutality' with some of Garstang High School Year 7. The cast from left to right are; Beth Carroll, Sally Piela, Peter Lane, Lee Bradshaw, Claire Piela (centre), Tom Bamber, Amy Williams and Mel Yates.
Picture courtesy of the Garstang Courier
Cliff and Leanne were also involved in other projects with the Global Issues Group.