Inspired by Baking Blind, China, Rotary Club and Lighthouse.

See Toby’s creative process https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=jyJcGAwAIsA  and hear his thanks for the truly inspirational trip to China that resulted in his excellent new artworks and the success of his inaugural exhibition.  The Holman prize has reached further than could have been imagined.    All thanks to the funding from the Chongqing Rotary Club and San Francisco’s Lighthouse organisation

See more of Toby’s work here.

 

Penny

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British Vogue applauds China artworks

Fabulous illustrations by Baking Blind videographer, nephew Toby, are extra benefits of our culinary world tour – all made possible by the San Francisco LightHouse organisation.

Toby (and I) found the pace and innovation of development in Chongqing in China breathtakingly inspirational.  This was the underpinning theme of his first solo London exhibition last week and his work caught the eye of Vogue magazine.    He has already gained recognition for his “tower” illustrations such as the compilation of London architecture featuring on the china collection being sold by Selfridges on Oxford Street.  He has developed this concept further with a tower of iconic Chinese buildings and is starting to use “glow-in-the-dark” inks to capture the wild night illuminations.

I’m very touched that he dedicated the exhibition to me and the Baking Blind project  which gave us both the chance of so many new experiences – we will be publishing all the videos in a few months once I return to the UK after my accident recuperation in France.

Stop Press: I’ve managed to stand three times this week (nearly unaided) so the soft-shoe shuffle can’t be far away – not bad for just three months since near death.

Penny

Baking Blind China visit inspires Toby’s exhibition.

My nephew, Toby, is a key member of the Baking Blind team: he is the videographer who has captured all the thrills and spills of my cooking adventure over the last year.  He was intrepid in accompanying me throughout the world tour and, as himself a professional freelance architectural illustrator, was inspired by China .  I am thrilled that the Holman prize (funded by San Francisco’s Lighthouse organisation) has produced this extra outcome – and am very humbled that he has dedicated the exhibition to me.

INBETWEEN

The debut solo exhibition by

TTOBY MELVILLEBROWN

22/03/18 – 28/03/18

65 Decima St, London SE1 4QR

 

 


​​
​​Transformative artworks observe the troubling changes to communities in Uk and China. 

The project was inspired by a recent trip to China and an active study on the economic upheaval of cities; Chongqing and Shanghai. On returning to the UK, Toby was reminded of more familiar forms of displacement; the young unable to buy property and artists turfed out of studios due to high rents.

The resulting work is an attempt to observe the changes in our communities. Asking what should change and what should remain? Touching on gentrification, migration and preservation. This is a look at our current state and an acknowledgment that society is always in flux, always In-between.

On the Launch Night (22/03/18), the subject of transformation will be brought to life by 8 brand new drawings. Intricately detailed artworks that change under specialist lighting. In the adjacent room, risograph printed posters, celebrating the event will be on sale, along with a live draw, free beers and specially composed acoustics.

The following Saturday (24/03/18), budding creatives, (ages 6 to 15), are invited to the In-between Invisible Ink Workshop. An event in partnership with Little Architect. The afternoon will begin with a short presentation from Toby and Little Architect, followed by a drawing activity, where attendees will then be invited to consider their own surroundings, what it is they enjoy and what they’d like to change. Finally there will be a chance to create a mural which uses invisible inks to convey the transitory nature of the city. Little Architect is an education and learning platform for teaching architecture and sustainability in London’s primary schools led by the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

Toby is most notable for his intricately imagined responses to our built environment. Subjects range from maps to architecture, contexts range from animation to wall murals. He’s been commissioned by Nike, Architectural Review, Imperial War Museum and The Crown Estate.

“Complex, exhilarating, challenging and troubling, local and transnational. Toby’s work‚ 

In-Between, observes shifting communities and their displacement in China and the UK, across time and space, class, gender and ethnicity. Where are the boundaries between them?”

Harriet Evans University of Westminster/LSE. Prof Evans is a leading voice on contemporary Chinese culture.

In-between is dedicated to Penny Melville-Brown.

In 2017, Penny became a Holman Prize finalist, awarded by LightHouse, enabling a world tour of her YouTube cooking show Baking Blind. Toby joined her as videographer and assistant. It was during their time in China that Toby was inspired to begin this project. As a blind veteran who helps those with disabilities get into work, championing a much marginalised community, Penny is someone Toby values greatly. Visit her Baking Blind YouTube channel here.

Details & links

Further info and press images: Call Laura 07875653402 or email inbetweenpromo@gmail.com

In-between promo video link 

Launch Night 22/03/18, 7-10pm RSVP link

Invisible Ink Workshop 24/03/18, 3:30-5pm RSVP link

tobymelvillebrown.com   Instagram-@tobymelvillebrown   Twitter-@toby_mel_brown   #inbetween




Penny Melville-Brown – Twist of fate interrupts world tour.

Please see below a dramatic update from Penny on her Baking Blind World Tour:

Twist of fate interrupts world tour.

It was nearly an untimely end for me and Baking Blind: in France just before Christmas scoping out more cooking opportunities, I was involved in a serious car accident https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBMOMDSInYY .

I had to be cut out of the car before being rushed to A&E – pretty close to death. Ribs and sternum were broken but, most importantly, fractured vertebrae in my neck put my spinal cord at significant risk. It took some two months in intensive care, including 5 weeks in an induced coma with life-support systems, before I started to surface. The breathing tubes stopped me talking so communicating with the French medical team was a challenge for all of us and even more complicated by my total blindness – but we all got on outstandingly and there was a great cheer for my first attempt to stand .

Now I’m in a specialist rehabilitation unit in France with physiotherapy to build my strength until my neck is properly consolidated with the bones reconnected. I’m stuck in bed but cycle on a sort of horizontal pedalo and stretch muscles as hard as possible. The move has meant learning lots of new people but they too are great in putting up with my shattered French and using their variety of English skills. I’m waiting for the next scan to discover if the neck has fused and I can start to learn how to sit, stand and walk again. So it is all likely to take at least a month or two.

Meanwhile, the videos from last year’s baking blind are all being edited and we will start releasing them when I’m back in the UK and can finish them. So, please bear with me and be patient, there’s lots of amazing footage to come.

I’m still having some difficulties managing e-mails as my IT access is a bit limited. But perhaps you could express support by sharing this blog, the video and the social media stuff as widely as you can please.

Penny

Penny

Best wishes

Lorna Payne

PA to Penny Melville-Brown

Tel: +44 (0)1329 841814

Disabilitydynamics.co.uk

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Director Disability Dynamics: Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Registered in England and Wales Registration No: 04058702

Registered address: Laylands House, 25 Catisfield Road, Fareham, Hampshire, PO15 5LP

Twist of fate interrupts world tour.

Penny managing a smile and a wave despite her injuries

Penny managing a smile and a wave despite her injuries

It was nearly an untimely end for me and Baking Blind: in France just before Christmas scoping out more cooking opportunities, I was involved in a serious car accident https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBMOMDSInYY .

I had to be cut out of the car before being rushed to A&E – pretty close to death.  Ribs and sternum were broken but, most importantly, fractured vertebrae in my neck put my spinal cord at significant risk.  It took some two months in intensive care, including 5 weeks in an induced coma with life-support systems, before I started to surface.  The breathing tubes stopped me talking so communicating with the French medical team was a challenge for all of us and even more complicated by my total blindness – but we all got on outstandingly and there was a great cheer for my first attempt to stand .

Now I’m in a specialist rehabilitation unit in France with physiotherapy to build my strength until my neck is properly consolidated with the bones reconnected.  I’m stuck in bed but cycle on a sort of horizontal pedalo and stretch muscles as hard as possible.  The move has meant learning lots of new people but they too are great in putting up with my shattered French and using their variety of English skills.  I’m waiting for the next scan to discover if the neck has fused and I can start to learn how to sit, stand and walk again.   So it is all likely to take at least a month or two.

Meanwhile, the videos from last year’s baking blind are all being edited and we will start releasing them when I’m back in the UK and can finish them.  So, please bear with me and be patient, there’s lots of amazing footage to come.

I’m still having some difficulties managing e-mails as my IT access is a bit limited.  But perhaps you could express support by sharing this blog, the video and the social media stuff as widely as you can please.

 

Penny

Penny@laylands.co.uk

Naval history still inspires.

James Holman was a truly remarkable man:  he was just a young Royal Navy Lieutenant aged 22 when he lost his sight.  Undaunted, he used his personal charm, charisma and determination to travel the world alone and become the most renowned travel writer of his generation.  Even more remarkable, he was doing all of this about 200 years ago and when blindness carried massive social stigma – our modern concerns with accessibility, discrimination and equality pale in to insignificance.

Visiting the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard gave me some clues to what his life would have been like.    I heard the waterfront and the sea shanties, the shouts and cries of bustling people, the creak of wood and rope in the wind.  The smells of hot coals on the brazier and food cooking mixed with the sea salt and ozone.  Underfoot, the cobbles were hard and the weather was icy cold with sea winds.  I could touch the hard metal of the cannons, the roughness of rope and the swing of the hammock.

James would have known HMS VICTORY as Nelson’s flagship (he’d joined the Navy around the time of the Battle of Trafalgar) even though the ship was already decades old and getting out of date.  During his life, conditions at sea would have gradually improved and HMS WARRIOR, the new iron-clad warship, was launched soon after James’ death.

He had joined the Royal Navy through the academy in Gosport – just across the Solent from Portsmouth – and the chances are high that he too knew many of the buildings that were also familiar to me from my own years of serving in the Naval Base.  So this visit was doubly poignant: echoing his own footsteps and re-treading some of the paths I’d trod nearly 20 years ago – all in this year of the Women’s Royal Naval Service centenary.

Both of us had careers that were cut short by blindness but we went on to carve out new futures – his was magnificently illustrious and I have just tried to follow his example.  But neither of us gave up to disability – perhaps our naval training gave us the competences, self-confidence and people skills to carry on?

You can see the adventures I’ve had as a winner of the international Holman prize run by San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind on my YouTube channel.

Penny

Penny with HMS Victory in the background

Deadly discrimination: because your skin is the wrong colour.

Our equality concerns in the UK pale in to insignificance compared with the terrors that some have faced in Africa due to their colour.

Last week in Malawi, I learned a little about the dangers that people with albinism have faced.  There are about 4,000 of them in a population of about 70 million.    Their lack of skin or hair pigmentation means that they stand out from others, often have visual impairments and have much higher risk of skin cancer.  But these are only part of the problems they face: women giving birth to a child with albinism have been accused of infidelity and abandoned by their husbands making life and finances even more difficult; people with the condition have struggled to be integrated in to their communities with disastrous consequences on their education and employment prospects.  Most sinister are the physical attacks – I was told that over 20 people with albinism have been killed over recent years –and three so far this year.  But death isn’t the end of it: some bodies are dug up and there is trade in their bones for ritual use in other countries.

I had an inspiring time with three people with albinism and some who support them as we all cooked local food together for a great feast.  The Government in Malawi is making progress: they are now making the special sun-screen available that will help give some cancer protection and have made the penal code tougher on such violence.  The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi  is supporting their members to create local self-support groups and is receiving help from overseas: you could donate glasses to correct short-sight to them for distribution.

Many people in Malawi are still close to their cultural and rural roots – I had an amazing experience cooking traditional food in one of the local villages and being invited to their dance celebration.  All this was arranged by Cephus Kadewere, the amazing head chef of the Latitude 13 hotel that hosted us.  He and General Manager, Mehul, were unstinting in their support and enthusiasm for the Baking Blind project:   we had some very special times together under the trees next to the hotel pool where Cephus shared some of his most popular recipes with me.

The Remembrance memorial in the centre of the capital, Lilongwe, is a massive construction marking all those who died in the two World Wars and other conflicts.  Perhaps we don’t pay enough attention to all those who fought alongside us in the past?  But it did strike the chord of how military service binds us together, from those who were commemorated there through James Holman who inspired the prize that funded my visit to my own time in the WRNS and Royal Navy.

Alongside all the progress and development being part-fuelled by overseas businesses and Governments, the sheer friendliness of the people of Malawi was the delight of the visit.  The people themselves make Malawi the true “warm heart of Africa”.

Now I’ve completed the second leg of my Baking Blind world tour thanks to the Holman prize run by San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind but there is still lots to do.  Over the next month or so, there are hundreds of hours of video to be edited, recipes to be written (www.bakingblind.com), more experiences to be shared and new cooking opportunities to be planned here in the UK and Europe.  Please keep watching and following to get the full story of my adventure.

Penny