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Parades and processions: The Lord Mayor’s Show

Published 14 November 2014

The Lord Mayor’s Show has been taking over the streets of London for nearly 800 years, and features a parade of over 6000 people. This year, the RA’s Learning Team were delighted to be part of that tradition.

  • The roar of the crowd, the marching bands and colourful flotillas were only part of what made the RA’s participation in the Lord Mayor’s Show this year so spectacular. For us, the highlight was sharing the day with so many people that we welcome and collaborate with through our various Access and Community programmes.

    The Learning Department partners with groups such as Crisis, Kids Company, Action Space and Portugal Prints. They visit the RA regularly to take part in creative workshops tailored to ensure they engage with our exhibitions and explore their own creativity in a way that is relevant and meaningful for them. After brainstorming how we could communicate a procession design around the theme of ‘Creating Wealth, Giving Time, Supporting People’, it was clear we needed to invite these groups to join us on the day.

  • We were so pleased that loads of staff and participants from these groups joined with our RA staff and volunteers to parade through London’s Square Mile, past historic sites (in the perhaps inevitable rain). We shouldered over-sized paintbrushes and palettes (tools of the artist’s trade, all made by Academy staff) and wore sandwich boards depicting new works by Royal Academicians Mali Morris and Cathie Pilkington, and past Summer Exhibition posters. We were also excited to be joined by Tony Allan from Action Space, who curated his own troupe of the procession to display his text-based artworks. One of his pieces proclaimed “Art is part of the Equation!” – a fitting banner to walk under as we paraded to celebrate the new Lord Mayor’s benefaction of the RA this year.