Mayflower 400 Southampton

Giving Thanks launched as part of Mayflower 400

26 Nov 2020

Launched on November 26th, Thanksgiving day 2020, Giving Thanks is a new campaign to create digital memories that bring the people of Southampton together in a shared celebration of our city and our communities. It is delivered as part of the on-going city-wide Mayflower 400 programme and aims to not just mark the anniversary, but to bring people together as best we can in these days of social isolation, through generating an understanding of difference and encouraging an attitude of gratitude. The public are asked to share, through social media and using #MyGivingThanks, photos, images, videos, stories, poems of the things for which they are grateful; maybe that’s their pets, their parents, or their local park. There are online activity packs available to help communities, families and businesses get involved. The scheme will be open until Valentine’s Day 2021 and is supported by the Barker-Mill Foundation. 

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes, Communities and Culture says: “During this difficult time, it’s more important than ever to celebrate and share the important things that make a difference to our lives every day, however small. We hope Southampton people from all ages and backgrounds get behind this campaign and show both the positive can-do spirit and the camaraderie and kindness of our great city.”

Tim Jobling, Barker-Mill Foundation trustee says: “Giving Thanks couldn’t have been launched at a better time, it’s been a tough year for all and this campaign gives the people of Southampton the opportunity to really showcase those things they are thankful for and highlight the fantastic community spirit of the City. The Barker-Mill Foundation is absolutely delighted to be supporting the campaign and the wider Mayflower 400 project which has bought and will continue to bring so much joy to the City.”

Throughout the campaign we will post up a selection of ‘thanks’ on the Mayflower 400 website and through its social media channels. With funding from Arts Council England, artists Shared Space and Light will pull the community-generated social media content together, and in partnership with Northam Community Centre, work with communities in Northam and Kingsland, to make a new digital artwork that will be shared online in March 2021. This will tell the story of our city and its people using motion graphics and 3D animation. The project is also supported by Southampton-based literature development agency, ArtfulScribe, who will be posting poems that respond to a theme of gratitude on social media throughout the 10 weeks.

Part of the programme will be curated by GO! Southampton and will be timed to give thanks during the Christmas festive period.  They have commissioned City Eye to capture films of some of the city’s key workers, highlighting the vital work they are carrying out across our community during the pandemic.  The films not only thank our key workers and community, but also show the importance of supporting one another at this time. 

Project partners, Southampton Voluntary Services (S.V.S.), initiated this programme of Giving Thanks activity. Through S.V.S, small community organisations will be able to access training and small funds to support participation in the project during January 2021. The campaign was initially designed to encourage activities like street parties, picnics, coffee mornings, but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced a move into the digital environment. 

The project also owes a debt to Native American Wampanoag partners. The idea of giving thanks is central to the Wampanoag culture, through ritual, ceremony and the sharing of food. It is the story of the Wampanoag people coming together with the Mayflower passengers which inspired the US national holiday, Thanksgiving. The programme opens with a new film made by the Wampanoag people expressing their thoughts on and explaining more about the Thanksgiving traditions. 

Miles Bernadett-Peters, representative of the Mashpee Wampanoag people says: “To follow the meaning of Thanksgiving is to be thankful, to be respectful, to be caring to other people, to be giving. Not just to you and your own, not just to you and your family, but to strangers, to homeless people, to people who have nothing, people who are just trying to survive. That’s what the indigenous people did for the people who came across the seas on the ships.”

Giving Thanks runs from 26 November 2020 to 14 February 2021. More information available online at: and at #MyGivingThanks 

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