A Story of Hope: Overcoming Digital Exclusion Together

image of hope COVID-19 zine

How it Started

Covid-19 has intensified the digital divide in the UK. We partnered with 3 community organisation in Manchester to survey over 100 people on their experiences of digital exclusion.

We wanted to address the fact that our research showed that people facing digital exclusion in Manchester were worried about whether they were receiving accurate information regarding COVID-19. In response to our findings, Spark & Co. set up a community zine making session with artist Luci Pina and members of the Manchester community.

People accessed the workshop through our amazing outreach partners - Lets Keep Growing, V2020 and Partisan. The workshop had a real mix of people, ages, professions and locations across the city and together - under Luci's expert guidance, produced a zine which was then distributed to 200 families across Manchester.

How it Was Made

As part of the workshop, people had to source, draw or create images to send to Luci. The images people sent were full of love, community and the one which really brought a glisten to everyone's eye was a man holding a 'hope' sign, which is visible in the print. Luci drew a combination of everyone's images, including the iconic hope sign, which made the centrefold of our zine which was then adapted for the print you see today. 

One of our participants, Mo, who took part in the workshop said "It was really interesting. It was something I had not done before and feel that it is a skill that I will share with some of the groups I work with".

Luci, workshop leader said The project was a really lovely way to connect to professionals and people making a mark in their communities. It was really rewarding for me as a creative to make a community zine that was informative but personal and bespoke to communities in Manchester.”

The Print you See Today

The print you see today is the product of completely community-led design.

To print, we partnered with Tender Hands Press, who printed it with a risograph printer on recycled paper, a printing process which is kinder to the planet than regular inkjet printers as it doesn’t use ozone and toner emissions. which makes it less destructive to our environment - and they also look super cool too. Each print is signed by artist Luci Pina, and provides the bit of hope we all need at the moment. 

Proceeds from the sale of this print go to our Tackling Digital Exclusion outreach programme. 

Buy via our Etsy here.

This piece was written by Spark and Co.'s Offline and Outreach Manager Jessica Elouahbi Mallard. Find out more about Jessica here.

If you are, or know of, an amazing organisation that might want to work with us, get in touch at jessica@sparkandco.co.uk.