OUR PRIDE Arts Project
Shoulders Back, Head High is a 4 minute VR short-film celebrating the life and legacy of LGBT activist Marsha P Johnson. The use of 360° and VR video, allows you to step into a world of color and beauty inspired by Marsha to gain a new perspective on the progress made since the Stonewall Uprising, and the work that still needs to be done to help protect everyone in the LGBT community.
Marsha P. Johnson was an activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Marsha went by “BLACK Marsha” before settling on Marsha P. Johnson.
The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender. It is the consideration of who “BLACK Marsha” was that inspired The Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
Recognized for her role during the 1969 Stonewall Riots, (a pivotal turning point in the fight for LGBT equality) Marsha P Johnson will forever be remembered as a passionate woman with a kind heart and flamboyant dress sense.
Marsha P Johnson's story isn’t only one that defines a decade or a generation; it’s one that will sit in the minds of everyone for eternity. Marsha, alongside all other members of the protests, paved the way for LGBT rights and equality and will forever be remembered as heroes.
Welcome to our lesson plan for Shoulders Back, Head High. This activity plan will help you look at the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement, and use your creative skills to understand how we can help make a safer future for the LGBTQIA+ community.
THINGS YOU MAY NEED:
Shoulders Back, Head High looks at the life, legacy and activism of Marsha P Johnson, and the impact she had on the ongoing fight for LGBTQIA+ equality. It combines original writing, stunning artwork and a chorus of voices from the LGBTQIA+ community to highlight the progress that we have made since the work of Marsha P Johnson, and the steps we still need to take.
Activity 1: Watch & Listen
Start by watching, Shoulders Back, Head High. This should take you about 5 minutes. It is a 360º film which means it will happen all around you.
This experience is best watched using a VR headset. However, you can also watch on desktop or mobile:
Watch and listen closely to the actions of Marsha P Johnson which have made her a memorable figure within the LGBTQIA+ community.
Activity 2: Your Reflections
Activity 3: Create Your Headdress
Having watched Shoulders Back, Head High, have a go at the activities below. This should take you about 15- 20 minutes.
Shoulders Back, Head High mentions Marsha P Johnson’s role in the Stonewall Uprising, a turning point for LGBTQIA+ equality.
1. Take some time to research the Stonewall Riots and what life was like for the LGBTQIA+ community at that time.
2. Write TWO LISTS of the following:
* Things that HAVE CHANGED for the LGBTQIA+ community since the Stonewall Uprising.
* Things that HAVEN'T CHANGED for the LGBTQIA+ community since the Stonewall Uprising.
Be mindful that some things might have changed for some members of the LGBTQIA+ community but not all of them.
3. Write a short paragraph explaining why you think some things have not changed, and ways we can improve them.
SUBMIT your Paragraph or Poem (below)
As it says in Shoulders Back, Head High, Marsha P Johnson is known for walking the streets in elaborate outfits that she made herself, with headdresses crafted from some of the most unusual things. As strange as these headdresses were, many people still remember her by them because they were so unmistakably hers.
Take the next 25-30 minutes and design your own headdress that is unmistakably your own. This can either be done as a wearable piece, or as a drawing.
Try to create something that represents WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON, it could include photos, magazine clippings, drawings of your favourite things. Make it as detailed as possible so that it can’t be mistaken for anyone else's.
Once you have created your headdress, write a short paragraph explaining what you have decided to include, why you have decided to include it and how it represents you.
Take a photo of your creation.
SUBMIT your photo and Paragraph or Poem (below)
Want to submit a Video? It's easy!
100% FREE! Use Promo Code: PRIDE2023
We will display and share your creations during the festival
and with a special event on Stonewall Day, June 28.
Educational resources are suitable for both home and school use. Shoulders Back Head High is © MBD and permission is only granted for their use in connection to these activities. For any other use permission must be obtained.
Shoulders Back, Head High was written and created by MBD with support from Arts Council England and Leicester’s LGBT Centre. The Voice Actors were Johnny Goss, Tom Griffiths, Kat Lawrence and Sarah Penney. The Music and Sound Design was created by Meduktions.
MBD is an award-winning UK based arts organization that specializes in making immersive digital experiences, using VR and 360° video, to bring stories to life.
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If you enjoy this activity then contact email@example.com to learn more about practical workshop options.
2024 ENTRIES NOW OPEN! 100% FREE! Use Promo Code: PRIDE2024
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