Exhibit shines new light on unsung hero

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Edward Rushton (artist unknown)

Edward Rushton (artist unknown)

A city-wide project has opened to celebrate the work of Liverpool’s most implacable anti-slavery abolitionist, Edward Rushton.

‘Unsung – Liverpool’s Most Radical Son’, which is being organised by ‘ DaDaFest’ throughout the city, will pay tribute to the extraordinary life of Rushton and the work he still inspires today, with a series of exhibits and activities funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Rushton, who lived from 1756-1814, was famed for his human rights activism and efforts to improve disabled rights. Edward was blinded as a teenager, but this only fuelled his ambition. He was born and worked in Liverpool, and his legacy still lives on as The Royal School for the Blind, for which he was a campaigner.

Although the exhibits, which feature writings, artefacts and pictures from his life, will be on show until May next year, November 22nd will mark the bicentenary of Rushton’s death. On this day, many activities will be held to remember his life. A rehearsed reading of a new play inspired by Rushton, called ‘Unsung’  will play at the Bluecoat from 7.30-10pm. The play is written by John Graham Davies and James Quinn and will be directed by Chuck Mike.

Ruth Gould, DaDaFest’s Artistic Director, said: “When John and James brought this story to my attention I found it so moving and inspiring I was determined that this extraordinary man’s 200th anniversary should be properly marked.”

The exhibition will be spread across three key venues: the Museum of Liverpool, the International Slavery Museum and the University of Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery.

Ruth added: “In speaking to other organisations we found others equally passionate about the various causes Rushton stood for and their relevance today. It is my ambition that everyone in Liverpool hears his story and it inspires a new generation of human rights activists.”

The exhibit will run from November 7th– 10th May 2015. To find out more about DaDaFest, go to www.dadafest.co.uk or follow @DaDaFest on Twitter.

About Emma Marsden, JMU Journalism