by | Oct 5, 2020 | After Lockdown

A socially distanced Carnival Parade

After Lockdown Diary

Katie Oborn

Since last month there has been an upsurge in virus cases in the UK and beyond. This second wave has led to updated restrictions, which have recently come in to place. One is the ‘rule of six’. No more than a bubble of six people is allowed to meet in any social setting, although a total of thirty people are still permitted at an event with socially distancing in place. This made the planning of the long-awaited Coxside carnival challenging, but thanks to Take A Part and all the other amazing people involved, it was able to go ahead safely along with several other activities in Plymouth as part of the Art Weekender 2020.

Ellie Shipman, participatory artist and illustrator from Bristol, was commissioned to create the carnival parade in Coxside through art organisation Take A Part.

“The parade is a trial-run to the reinstatement of a community carnival which took place in the area in the 1970s, which residents hope will develop into something bigger in the future.” Ellie explained.

She also described some of the challenges in planning the event in these Covid times:

“The whole commission was delayed from earlier in the year before the first lockdown. Then when planning the smaller scale event the guidelines for the six person limit in public came into place! We had to think on our feet and work out ways to hold the banners per household or via a steward, and everyone wore masks during the event. We also had to register all attendees so we could track and trace people if necessary so we couldn’t bring in other members of the public as originally planned. “

“Despite the restrictions and changes we were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather on the day and everyone who registered turned up and led a beautiful parade (literally with bells on!) all around Coxside. Stewards were collecting what local people loved about the area and writing them on tags to add to pearls on the banners. It was a lovely way to celebrate this wonderful and passionate community and hopefully will pave the way for a big Coxside Carnival to be fully reinstated next year!”

The parade of thirty residents, which took place on Saturday 26th of September, did a circuit of Coxside, starting and ending at the amphitheatre. Hand and ankle bells were worn by the group radiating a cheerful ringing at passers-by. Banners, with designs created in a workshop for Coxside residents with Ellie in August, declared the love of the area, sea life and community spirit.

“We love living here!” one banner read and another: “We love sea life.”

“A big Thank you to Take A Part – we want more!” one resident commented.

Beautiful banners by artist Ellie Shipman with words from the community at Coxside Parade, part of the Art Weekender in Plymouth

Paolo Fiore, illustrator and Coxside resident, designed banners and flags for the Coxside Carnival Parade. He had been working on the carnival project since early 2020, pre-Covid-19, as the original plan was for the event to be held in May but coronavirus lockdown prevented that. 

“The carnival plan was put on hold and it was uncertain at that point if it would go ahead in 2020 or have to be postponed till 2021.” Paolo explained

The images featured on Paolo’s flags were inspired by Coxside history, nature and wildlife he’d seen in the vicinity. One drawing shows some old cottages that once stood where the National Marine Aquarium now stands.

Paolo Fiore illustrated the teardrop flag for the Coxside parade event, showing images that each tell their own story about the local area

In other news: We’ve launched a community magazine, Coxside Echoes.

Something good to come out of the pandemic, a way to bring the community together safely and allow people to share their experiences of lockdown and living alongside coronavirus as it continues to effect society.

In conjunction with the Stonehouse Voice and Take A Part, the magazine was launched on September 22nd and the first edition records residents and businesses stories through lockdown and living through Covid-19 times from a Coxside perspective.

The front cover is illustrated by local resident Paolo Fiore and shows snippets of artwork inspired by articles and poetry within the magazine, submissions inside are framed with an illustrated seaweed border signifying seaside neighbourhoods.

Paolo studied BA Hons in illustration at Plymouth University graduating in 2013. He will be illustrating the cover for our next edition of Coxside Echoes due out in December 2020.

Life by the sea: Coxside banner by Paolo Fiore

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