Five years ago with the country about to vote on its Brexit referendum , the shock news emerged of the killing of the Labour MP for the West Yorkshire consituency of Batley and Spen.
This week, Manchester’s People’s History Museum opens with a new exhibition of Placards, banners and artwork created in the aftermath of the death of Jo Cox in such tragic circumstances.
More in Common is made up of a group of over 30 people from different backgrounds who have each made Manchester their home, coming together to share knowledge, experiences, and conversations.
The title pays homage to the words of Jo Cox, “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us” in her short time as MP.
Here the Jo Cox memorial wall will go on display for the first time since it was erected outside the Houses of Parliament.
Now part of the museum’s collection, the wall features the handwritten tributes of hundreds of people, including children, and will stand alongside a new virtual Wall of Hope on which visitors to the museum and online will be able to add their personal tribute messages.
The exhibition also features the Voices of Manchester Projec, led by four volunteers inspired by Cox’s words.they invited local people for an experiment and asking them to take part in a recordd conversation as well as the threads that bind us, a collection of four costumes which explore the past present and future of Manchester’s diverse population.
For younger visitors to the exhibition PHM’s Learning Team has put together a special resource for children to use and take home with them. This looks at Jo’s story and the issues that it raises through younger eyes so that children and families can discuss and explore her legacy through the exhibition in a way that’s meaningful to them.
Abir Tobji, CultureLabs Project Manager at People’s History Museum, says, “Jo’s beliefs and message reach out to everyone and represent the values that she lived by, just as this exhibition is intended to reach out to everyone. Jo’s story joins the stories of individuals who embody her belief in ‘more in common’ and highlights the realities of a diverse world, both from an individual and collective perspective. We hope all of the stories will inspire visitors to gain a greater appreciation of the power of a ‘more in common’ view of the world.”
Kim Leadbeater MBE, Jo’s sister, says, “This exhibition is a fantastic way to remember Jo, her life and her work. It has a special resonance as it coincides with the fifth anniversary of Jo being taken from us. As a family we have taken the opportunity to go through the piles of photos and other memories of Jo and many of these will go on display for the first time. It’s been a bittersweet experience, of course, but we are hugely grateful to everybody at People’s History Museum for their work in putting on what I know will be an amazing and inspirational exhibition. I hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to see it – in person if possible but if not on-line.”