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Case Study

A Project about Home and Identity by Kate Daudy

WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT IN THE CAR was a Manchester-wide installation by international artist Kate Daudy supported by Arts Council England.

Kate is known for her work which explores the ancient Chinese literati tradition of writing on objects, and for her sculpture/text crossovers, often creating interventions in public/private spaces. Her original interventions can be seen across Europe, America and the Middle East. This particular project set Manchester and its people at the heart of the local and national debate about home + identity.

The project was an art and science examination into how everything and everybody is connected, created alongside Manchester-based, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Professor Konstantin Novoselov. Together the pair invited passers-by across Manchester to consider their shared differences and common values.

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Throughout the city gigantic written interventions on the National Football Museum, The Great Northern, Selfridges, The Graphene Institute, Tibbs Street Fish and Chip Shop, Manchester Art Gallery and The Whitworth could be found following especially created maps which were distributed by each of the partners above.

Combining both art and scientific perspectives, the outdoor work, consisted of written interventions that took the form of hand-cut felt lettering as well as monumental panels affixed to iconic buildings. Daudy and Novoselov encouraged the viewers to question whether our thoughts all weigh the same in the public forum. They share the strong belief that we are all connected, not just in theory but scientifically speaking, as only slightly varying combinations of matter.

‘AM I MY BROTHERS KEEPER?’ and ‘BLUE SKIES’, a film by Odessa Rae at Manchester Art Gallery

Daudy travelled collecting observations from people affected by or involved in the current refugee crisis including diplomats, NGO staff, volunteers, refugees, doctors, military personnel, and psychologists, some of which she inscribed onto a tent given to her, in 2015. by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The desert tent was lived in by a family of Syrian refugees for several months; their whereabouts is no longer known. Facts that struck Daudy were that the average stay in a refugee camp is 17 years, and that some 80% of refugees are women and children. The number of refugees in 2019 is predicted to rise to 68.5 million people.

Thanks to Syrian friends Daudy commissioned crochet circles to be made by internally displaced women in Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. The goal of this project was to empower and provide financial support for the disenfranchised women whose work Daudy embroidered onto the installation. Kate Daudy would like to thank the ladies who worked on these doilies and especially Itab Azzam, Jack MacInnes, Susannah Baker and Leila Bouri.


Further iconic felt text was inscribed, at eye level, onto more buildings across the city centre. The installation was chosen for public spaces to surprise people in the daily routines, taking art from out of an ‘art’ context and onto the streets.

Words, made from felt, that read 'Where are we now?' are displayed on a wall.

Image: Drew Forsyth Photography

In huge felt letters the words 'The case for optimism' are displayed on a glass wall.

Image: Drew Forsyth Photography

Colourful knitted circles decorate a refugee shelter.

Image: Drew Forsyth Photography

The word Voltage is displayed oin giant felt letters on a wall.

Image: Drew Forsyth Photography

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