Illustrations by Hannah Robinson

Broadening Horizons is a new monthly feature that looks at a few positive, untold stories, news features and current affairs issues that haven’t been covered in the mainstream media.

Each month a different writer takes over this feature and shares what they have been enjoying that month. In this first feature, Tala Pattinson writes about five projects she has enjoyed following over the past few months.

Something to celebrate: five projects that began in lockdown

Unless you’ve spent the last few months growing gills and getting to know life at the bottom of the ocean, it won’t have escaped your notice that we are in the midst of a global pandemic (no, it hasn’t gone away yet I’m afraid). Naturally, the news of late hasn’t exactly been light. We’ve all found ourselves worrying about a second wave, sampling a new flavour of governmental failure each week, and, if you’re a 2020 university graduate like myself, wondering guiltily just how many more meals your parent is going to have to serve their twenty-two-year-old unemployed offspring before you can finally get a job, move out and leave them in peace. It’s been a heavy time.

Whilst many of us—myself very much included—have passed the time alternating between spurts of mild productivity and vegetating at various angles on our houses soft furnishings, some more dedicated souls have been using this time to really get sh*t done. Around all the dire headlines, I have watched with quiet joy as online projects have sprung up to fill the normal-life-shaped gap in our day-to-day, and even given our stagnant minds some much-needed education in the process. As we see out our fifth month of lockdown, here are five projects begun in quarantine worth celebrating.

1 — Profile Gallery

Profile Gallery describes itself as “a social-art network for early-career artists”. As galleries and museums accompanied us into lockdown, Profile Gallery emerged to provide online spaces where emerging artists can showcase their work. You can find Profile Gallery on Instagram and on their website.

2 — Handbook of Collective Confidence

Announcing themselves on Instagram back in May, Handbook of Collective Confidence aims to provide a collaborative platform “for everyone and anyone to discuss issues surrounding body image”. Their first issue launched online in mid-August and features writing and art from a plethora of talented young creatives — you can find a link to the issue in the bio of their Instagram.

3 — Quaranzeens

One of the first projects I saw pop up during quarantine was the epic Instagram page @quaranzeens. Posting since March, Quaranzeens has provided lockdown laments, anti-racism guides, film recommendations and more all in homemade zine form.

4 — Canvas 4 Equality

Canvas 4 Equality is the brainchild of a group of young women from the South East wanting to raise awareness of social inequalities. Launched on Instagram in July, C4E (as they also style themselves) has thus far published educational recommendations, videos titled ‘Let’s Talk About Being a Black Male’ and ‘Let’s Talk About Hair’, and partnered with Calais Food Collective to bring attention to the crisis in Northern France.

5 — Decolonize the Art World

Finally, one of my absolute favourite Instagram pages to come out of lockdown has to be @decolonizetheartworld. Spurred into existence by the most recent wave of Black Lives Matter, the page exposes colonial museology and champions Black art. Promoting “the power of critical imagining”, Decolonize the Art World has rocketed to 10k followers worth of success and is the place to go on Instagram to interrogate our white- and Western-centric art canon.

Whilst all completely different, what each one of these projects shows is that though there is a lot of serious, stressful and upsetting stuff happening in the world right now, there are some points of light out there too. Whether, like Profile Gallery, they provide some escapism for us or, like Canvas 4 Equality, they bring our attention to vital issues in new and creative ways, every one of these five deserves to be celebrated for getting the aforementioned sh*t done and creating something positive in these challenging times.

Interested getting involved in the next Broadening Horizons feature? Drop us a message at editor@thebroadonline.com