Act 40 Arnolfini, Bristol

Act 40 took place at  7.30pm on Friday 17 February 2012 at ArnolfiniBristol with 27 Co-Recitors who memorised and recited Articles in Amharic, Arabic, British Sign Language, Dinka, English, Farsi, French, German, Irish Gaelige, Italian, Kurdish, Norwegian, Punjabi, Romanian and Spanish. There is a great piece of writing about Act 40 at leadinmypencil.blogspot, on  MISFITS website by Eve Houston and an extraordinary rap by Deasy Bamford below reflecting on the experience.

Many thanks to all the Co-Recitors for such a rich and vibrant recitation and for the vital conversations that took place beforehand;  special thanks to Mel Scaffold for her unstinting energy, insight, enthusiasm and meticulous care in producing Act 40; to Sarah Warden for initiating and laying the groundwork; to Christine Atha and all at Arnolfini who made Act 40 possible; to Bristol Refugee Rights and Misfits Theatre ; to everyone who came and joined us and to there’s lead in my pencil blog for such an insightful account of the recitation. 

For more info  please visit Arnolfini’s website or contact: Mel Scaffold: 0117 9172 322 / / facebook or check out Arnolfini’s Flyer

Please scroll down to see the full list of Co-Recitors, Articles and Languages

Preamble, Monica Ross English

Article 1,Colin Higginson English

Article 1,Kamina Walton English

Article 1, Mekdes Gebriel Amharic 

Article 2, Claire Lise-Braun German

Article 3, Harpreet Kaur English

Article 3, Colin Dean  Plain English 

Article 4, Hugh Dowson English


Article 5, Karine Leroux in English French Spanish German

Article 6, Chris Coleman British Sign Language

Article 7 Ben Mackay English

Article 8, Zahra Azari Farsi

Article 9, Claire Hall, Bristol Refugee Rights English
Article 13 Rachel Beard English
Article 11, Claire Lise-Braun English 
Article 14.1, Sharif Abdullah Mohammed English 
Article 14.2 Amie  Feika English 
 Article 18 Josefina Vassjø Norwegian
Article 18, David Walker English 
Article 19, Mia Gilson American English 
Article 22 Marta Pacini Italian
Article 23, Deasy Bamford Cornish accented  English
Article 24, Claire-Lise Braun French
Article 25 Ella Montgomery-Smith English
Article 26, Olive Bridget Morgan Irish Gaelic and English 
Article 27, Eve Houston English
Article 29, Hugh Dowson English

Act 40 Friday 17 February 2012

Preamble Monica Ross English
Article 1 Colin Higginson English 
Article 1 Kamina Walton English 
Article 1 Mekdes Gebriel Amharic 
Article 2 Claire-Lise Braun German
Article 3 Harpreet Kaur English 
Article 3 Harpreet Kaur Punjabi
Article 3 Colin Dean  Plain English  
Article 4 Hugh Dowson  English   
Article 5 Karine Leroux English 
Article 5 Karine Leroux French
Article 5 Karine Leroux Spanish
Article 5 Karine Leroux German
Article 6 Chris Coleman British Sign Language
Article 7 Ben Mackay English
Article 7 Kamina Walton English
Article 8 Zahra Azari Farsi
Article 9 Claire Hall, Bristol Refugee Rights  English
Article 10 Esam Amin Kurdish
Article 11 Claire-Lise Braun  English 
Article 12 Monica Ross English
Article 13 Rachel Beard English
Article 13 Rachel Degarang Dinka 
Article 14 Speaker in Arabic 
Article 14.1 Sharif Abdullah Mohammed  English   
Article 14.2 Amie  Feika  English  
Article 15 Monica Ross English
Article 16 Monica Ross English
Article 17 Speaker in  English
Article 18 Josefina Vassjø Norwegian
Article 18 David Walker  English 
Article 19 Mia Gilson American English 
Article 19 Luana Tabirca Romanian
Article 20 Monica Ross English
Article 21 Monica Ross English
Article 22 Marta Pacini  Italian
Article 23 Deasy Bamford Cornish accented  English
Article 24 Claire-Lise Braun French
Article 25 Ella Montgomery-Smith  English
Article 26 Olive Bridget Morgan Irish Gaelic and English  
Article 27 Eve Houston English
Article 28 Hugh Dowson English
Article 29 Hugh Dowson English
Article 30 Monica Ross English
Act 40 Article List @ 6.30pm 17.02.2012

pre-recitation meeting: Sharif Abdullah Mohammed and Claire Hall: Hugh Dowson; Monica Ross and Mel Scaffold
All the above Photographs: Bernard G Mills 
Act 40 poster of the UDHR, marking the 40th recitation in the Anniversary series 
Free to download and print:  
A3 print  (297 x 420mm)  A2 print   (420 X 594 mm)  A0 print   (841 x 1189 mm) other A sizes on request
Untitled (detail) 2012, Rachel Beard, Work in Progress. Pencil, gesso and newspaper on board. Thanks to Rachel Beard for sending this image of a piece she is currently working on and inscribing the text of the UDHR into. See Rachel’s post below for more info about her work.

Photograph, by Claire-Lise Braun, of a page from The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ published, in Arabic, English, French, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish by Amnesty International, Belgium to mark the 40th anniversary of the UDHR in 1988. The book was illustrated by Folon , a celebrated Belgian artist who apparently accepted the commission because “Everyone talks about it, but no-one reads it”. Thanks to Claire-Lise for her photographs and for flagging up such a relevant quote.  More Photographs by Claire-Lise, of Bristol Amnesty’s actions and events can be seen here:  Amnesty Bristol photos   Amnesty at Pride Bristol 2011   Amnesty Bristol solidarity with Burma’s political prisoners Bristol Amnesty’s website is here and Amnesty Bristol Bookshop is here
more photos still to come….


38 Responses to “ Act 40 Arnolfini, Bristol ”

  1. Olive on 09/03/2012 at 11:27

    Ah, brilliant Deasy,
    Cheers, lLive

  2. Olive on 22/02/2012 at 13:12

    Hello Monica & all co-recitors no.40,

    First of all, Deasy I really like your image of us as ‘dandelion seeds’ flying in the wind. I’ve been trying to put into words my response to being part of Monica’s 60 Acts of Memory.
    To Monica, I say, how lucky we are to have met such a respectful human being and Artist. To everyone else I say(inspired by Deasy) ‘The answer my friends is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind’(B.Dylan)
    Monica, Go raibh míle maith agat (Thanks a million)

    p.s. Any chance of an Act of Memory going to Dublin?

  3. monica on 20/02/2012 at 17:47

    hi all,
    have just uploaded a new jpeg of Rachel’s image so hope everyone can see it ok now

  4. Marta Pacini on 18/02/2012 at 09:56

    Hello all, just to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, grazie, merci, gracias etc., yesterday was MAGIC. Thank you Monica for this project, the world needs people like you. Genuinely proud to have been part of this.

    • monica on 18/02/2012 at 20:04

      thanks to you Marta and to everyone! it was a fantastic recitation. congratulations to you all and thank you: thank you – your memorising was outstanding. I’ll update the article list tomorrow with everyone’s names and all the languages and will be in touch soon with photographs.

  5. Mel Scaffold on 16/02/2012 at 14:44

    Hello all

    I just wanted to say how excited I am about tomorrow, and how much I’m looking forward to seeing everyone who’s taking part.

    We’re still getting people sending in information about which articles they want to recite, and I’ve had many many emails from wellwishers and people saying they’re hoping to attend.

    We’ve had a large version of the Memory poster printed – it’s just arrived in the office and we’ll put it up tomorrow morning.

    I hope your memorising is going well. As Monica said, don’t worry about being word perfect, it’s about the effort of trying to remember. Your presence, and the commitment you’re making to the work, are the important things.

    Warm wishes


  6. monica on 13/02/2012 at 19:39

    dear all,
    am very much looking forward to friday and to hearing everyone’s articles- the list looks great!
    hope you are all doing ok and your memorising is going alright. – your recitation doesn’t have to be word perfect, it’s making the attempt to remember and speak the article under pressure that matters.. even though i’ve done this so many times i still make loads of mistakes…as you will see…

    • monica on 14/02/2012 at 19:44

      Dear Kamina,
      completely understand, Article 7 always makes me hold my breath and compels a careful think to disentangle what it is saying.
      2 main points are being made so i try to manage it by reminding myself that they are:
      sentence 1 = is about everyone being equal before the law WITHOUT any discrimination.
      sentence 2 = is about everyone having equal Protection by the law AGAINST discrimination
      so i break it down and learn it like this:

      All are equal before the law /
      and are entitled / without any discrimination/
      to equal protection by the law.

      *All are entitled /
      to equal protection against any discrimination/
      in violation of this Declaration/
      and against any incitement to such violation.
      it is a difficult one, so please do find your own way to learn and speak it- it’s the only way.
      the main thing is to try and stay as close as you can so that your interpretation is still within the range of all the translations into other languages.

      see how it goes.. best wishes to you

  7. Rachel Beard on 09/02/2012 at 18:37

    Dear Monica

    I am so flattered that you wanted to share my piece of work! Thank you.

    Something about it:
    I am an artist (student) and my recent work has been inspired by the global Occupy Movement. A movement of the 99% to address the imbalance of power held by the ’1%’.
    Getting involved in Act of Memory seemed to fit well with this, and it is a personal challenge for me, as my work is far from being performance based.
    I was moved by Monica’s story of how this project came about, and that she writes the whole declaration out before each performance.
    This inspired me to write it out for myself, and this has now been incorporated into my current work, as in the image above.
    Layers of newspaper have been ‘whitewashed’ over, reflecting the whitewashing of the propaganda that the ‘news’ often contains. Newspapers also being a symbol of that powerful 1%.
    Writing the UDHR over this is a gesture to redress that imbalance.

    Writing out the UDHR, which I’ve done a few times now, has been an interesting activity in itself. I have noticed how my attention wanders, and I’ve found myself paying little or no attention to the meanings of the words and phrases.

    Looking forward to the event next week


    • monica on 13/02/2012 at 19:35

      dear rachel,
      thank you very much for contributing your image and your thoughts on the process of transcribing / memorising the UDHR document.
      ‘Writing out the UDHR, which I’ve done a few times now, has been an interesting activity in itself. I have noticed how my attention wanders, and I’ve found myself paying little or no attention to the meanings of the words and phrases.’

      There is a sentence towards the end of the Preamble that calls on ” every individual and every organ of society, keeping this declaration constantly in mind…” what a challenge. It’s such a demand to just do that- keep the UDHR in mind , let alone implement it and turn it into action…

  8. Rachel Beard on 07/02/2012 at 18:09

    Hi Monica, Mel and all,

    I was at the workshop last month, and was deeply moved by Monicas story behind this project and of reciting this.

    I will recite Article 13. This is in support of those in Palestine – Gaza and the West Bank, and those friends of mine who have been involved in the attempts in the last few years to break the siege by boat as the Free Gaza Movement.

    Looking forward to the event


    • monica on 08/02/2012 at 00:02

      dear rachel, that’s great and thank you very much for your message

    • Olive on 08/02/2012 at 14:20

      Welcome Rachel.
      Olive. Article 26

  9. monica on 07/02/2012 at 10:54

    Dear Claire-Lise,
    thank you for the above- and the additional act of remembrance which your personal act will bring to the collective one of Act 40.

  10. monica on 06/02/2012 at 21:39

    dear all,
    following all the discussions we’ve been having about posters i decided to make one to mark the milestone of Act 40 of Anniversary — an act of memory.
    If you like it you can download and print it as an either an A3 or A0 sized poster here:
    and if you’d like a different A size, please let me know.

    • Mel Scaffold on 07/02/2012 at 23:00

      Thanks for this Monica, it’s a fantastic visual representation of the UDHR. We’ll ensure it’s printed for display in Arnolfini on 17th Feb.


  11. Josefine Vassjø on 04/02/2012 at 11:51

    Hello, everyone!

    I was at the workshop at the Arnolfini and I really want to get involved. I’ve chosen article 18 and I want to recite it in Norwegian, my native language. Thank you ! :)

    • monica on 04/02/2012 at 20:34

      that’s great josefina, thank you!

    • monica on 04/02/2012 at 20:46

      Hi josefina,
      just went to the UN UDHR translations website to get the link for the UDHR in Norwegian and found that there are two versions.
      Norwegian (Bokmål) (Norsk, Bokmål) – United Nations Information Centre, Denmark
      Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Norsk, Nynorsk) – Diffusion Multilingue des Droits de l’Homme, France

      I’ve put a link in the Article list above to the first one for now, but please let me know if ‘your’ version is the second one?

  12. monica on 31/01/2012 at 13:52

    many thanks karine

    • monica on 02/02/2012 at 10:33


  13. monica on 31/01/2012 at 12:16

    Dear Kamina,
    thank you very much for your mail- great to hear about the Amnesty Poster- do you have any idea where it was sourced from? it would be great to add a link to that here or to have an image of it. Thanks also for your choice of Articles. There was a very moving interview with Doreen Lawrence in last weekend’s Guardian. also details of how to donate to the Stephen Lawrence Trust which is currently in a “worrying financial situation”. If anyone would like to know more here is the link:

    am finding it very inspiring watching Act 40′s list grow and take on it’s unique shape as it reflects everyone’s thoughts and concerns.
    best wishes, monica

    • Kamina Walton on 31/01/2012 at 18:37

      Hi Monica
      I’ve found a link for Amnesty UDHR education resources:
      I’m not sure is this is the adapted version of the poster I saw so will check with the teacher and let people know.
      Best wishes

      • monica on 31/01/2012 at 23:52

        Hi Kamina,
        Thanks for this link to Amnesty’s education resources. The link for the UDHR text in English and the 380 plus traslations is the one used for the recitations; together with Signed and Plain English versions it can also be found from here:
        Amnesty and the UN have commissioned many different posters over the years so definitely worth continuing to find out more about the one you saw especially if you thought it was particularily effective.
        (e.g. here’s a photo of one in Scarborough Library which the UN commissioned for the 6oth anniversary of the Declaration in 2008: Another version, published by the UN for the 40th anniversary, was spotted in a second hand shop in York a few weeks ago- apparently it used to hang in a library in York.
        best for now, monica

  14. Olive on 30/01/2012 at 15:42

    Good Luck Claire-Lise Braun. Best wishes. OLive (Art 26)

  15. monica on 28/01/2012 at 10:55

    am thinking that this page could do with an image which is local and relevant to Bristol ? e.g on the The Scarborough page there is a photo of a poster of the UDHR which was installed by the Local UNA UK Group in Scarborough Town Hall on the 60th Anniversaryof the UDHR (

    So please feel free to send any images you think would work well here too.
    Claire-Lise brought a very beautiful edition of the UDHR to the workshop which was published to mark the 40th anniversary in 1988. It is illustrated by the Belgian Illustrator Folon and published in Russian, French, Arabic, English, French, Mandarin and Spanish – some of the pages can be seen here:

    Folon was also an ambassador for Unicef in 2004 and among his many other works produced some beautiful posters for Amnesty France. /

    • Olive B. Morgan on 28/01/2012 at 20:58

      The illustrations by the artist Folon are really beautiful. Thanks Monica. I have been given a loan of a handmade banner, made by some members of the Bristol Refugee Rights(BRR) members for Human Rights Day, Dec. 10th 2011. I will try to take some pics of it to include here. It got a bit damaged in storage, so I’m doing a bit of mending work on it, as I try to memorize my lines of Art.26. Slán / Goodbye(phonetics=Slawn)Olive

  16. Olive Bridget Morgan on 27/01/2012 at 15:03

    Hello Monica & recitors,

    I’ve decided to recite Article 26. It has three parts so I will do the first one in Irish(Gaelic) and no. 2 & 3 in English. Article 26 is about ‘Education’ and its close to my heart as I’ve been involved mostly in Arts Education all my life. I had some wonderful mentors who were teachers when I was at school and college. Also I have so much gratitude towards my parents who did everything they could to get me and my 6 siblings an amazing education. They had to leave school at 14 years old as there was no free secondary education for them.
    Strange to say, but it was one of my worst teachers who taught me so much. Because of her attempts to bully me as a teenager, I developed the courage to speak out whenever I’ve seen injustice anywhere in life. Now that has made me quite unpopular at times but the older I get the easier it gets and the less I have to lose. Don’t be scared folks as I’m mostly very well behaved and easy going! Cheers & Slán(goodbye). Olive

    • Olive B. Morgan on 05/02/2012 at 21:19

      Hello Monica,

      How do I send an image to you please? e.g. a jpeg image. Will I send it to Mel’s email address? I’m working on an art idea related to Article 26.
      Slán(slawn) Olive

      • monica on 06/02/2012 at 14:43

        hi olive, if you click ‘contact’ in the black bar above it takes you to an email address that you can send the jpeg to as an atachment.
        looking forward to seeing your image!

  17. Luana on 26/01/2012 at 13:22

    Hello all,

    I decided to do Article 19 in Romanian, my native language. I was pleased to find that the article referring to freedom of opinion and expression, which is what I wanted to do, is, in fact, my date of birth, the 19th. I chose this article as it relates to current events back home, there are protests in all major cities, against the president and its strict measures that did nothing for the progress of the country, but only assured an excessive amount of wealth for the ‘powerful’. Although his main promise was to eliminate corruption, this is still blossoming. After 20 odd years since 1989, the Romanians are trying again to change something and although passive so far, the public pressure is increasing everyday, it is now the 14th day of protests. As a young citizen born just after the Revolution, I always regretted that I couldn’t be there when history was made and, now, yet again, when I am at the top of my potential, I cannot be there. My reading of the article is in sign of support for Romanians in the cold at home and to all Romanians around the world. :)

    • monica on 26/01/2012 at 14:17

      dear Luana, Thank you very much. it’s interesting that your message and Mia’s (below), choosing Article 19 in your respective languages, more or less arrived together. just had a look on Article 19′s website, they have a base in Central Europe and some information/ campaign news pages here which might be of interest?
      there are also many papers and reports about issues of Freedom of Speech in Romania on their site here:
      i think you are going to be the first recitor to contribute to the project in Romanian , it will be great to hear Article 19 being spoken out loud in your language.

  18. Mia on 26/01/2012 at 12:59

    Hello all!

    I would like to recite Article 19, in English. As an ex-pat American I find the concept of Freedom of Speech in different areas of the world to be fascinating as I watch my own country struggle with SOPA, PIPA and the like.

    The idea that one day I might not be allowed to speak my own mind is a terrifying one, and as tighter controls on piracy and copyright are imposed, censorship will follow.

  19. monica on 26/01/2012 at 11:50

    dear colin,
    thank you..and yes, you are right, Act 40 started as soon as we began the discussion at Arnolfini last week,
    best, monica

  20. monica on 26/01/2012 at 11:28

    hi all,
    In the workshop last week we touched on the differences between the UDHR, later Conventions, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and current debate about Tory Party proposals to overturn the UK Human Rights Act.
    If anyone wants to follow this up there is a piece by Francesca Klug in yesterday’s Guardian commenting on Cameron’s recent speech about their proposals:.
    Francesca Klug is a Professor at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at LSE
    (one of the you tube videos we looked at in the worksho, Act 19, was produced with the LSE centre in 2010).

  21. Olive on 25/01/2012 at 21:31

    Hello Monica & everyone,

    I too, was at the workshop last week and I would like to recite an Article of the UDHR in Irish(Gaelic). I’m not a fluent speaker but it is officially my first language and I really like it as it is so much a part of Ireland’s history & culture. I’m almost sure which article I will recite and I suppose the sooner I make up my mind the better as one of my article choices is a long one!
    Also during the last week I’ve had some very interesting conversations and questions asked about the UDHR and Monica’s ‘Act of Memory’, and I discovered that one English friend was given a copy of it as a child when she was a member of Woodcraft Kids.
    There has also been an interesting development. I work as a volunteer with refugee women and some of the refugee women have decided to do a reading of the 30 UDHR Articles in the near future. The reading will include several languages such as Somali, Arabic(Libya)(Sudan)(Morroco), Farsi(Iran), Eritrean, Swedish, Irish, Kurdish(Iraq). There has been an amazing interest in the UDHR document in itself.

    I’ll be back soon with my confirmed Article for recitation asap.
    Cheers, Olive

    • monica on 26/01/2012 at 00:41

      Hello Olive,
      I’m intrigued to know which Article you are going to choose. You can hear previous recitors in Gaelic on the you tube channel e.g. Paddy O’Keefe reciting Article 3 in Act 07 and Act 09, and as Act 27 took place in Galway Gaelic was well represented.

      It’s great to hear about the work you are doing and that the multi-lingual reading you mention might take place. it is exactly the kind of thing that i hope the project will help to prompt and catalyse. please keep us posted on how this goes. It would also be great if any of the women you are working with wanted to take part in Act 40 at Arnolfini too.

      In case of interest – in November we worked with Platforma Arts and Refugees network to present a recitation in the Counterpoint exhibition with Recitors in Tegregna and Amharic (Ethiopia), Kinyawandar (Rwanda), Twi (Ghana), Persian, Spanish and Italian – their page is here:
      Representatives from the Northern Refugee Centre also contributed to Act 38 in Sheffield, in Bahasa Melayu (Malay), Ndebele (Zimbabwe) and Tumbuka (Zambia): –

      Platforma is a national Arts and Refugees network – so your group might be interested to know about it? They are also very keen for different groups and individuals around the country to connect with them nationally and regionally:
      best for now and look forward to hearing more, monica