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The Story of You & Me (2018 & 2019)

Live art / craft / toolkit

The Story Of You & Me

live art // craft // toolkit

Which stories are important for you to tell?

Which stories to do you want to pass on to others?

Which stories do you want to make sure you remember?

THE STORY SO FAR

In 2018 I undertook 3 months of R&D on the project, supported by Arts Council England. I recruited two groups in the North East – one of over 60’s and another were regular foodbank users of all ages, to test all the separate elements including posting a toolkit to participants with instructions to carry out before an in-person workshop. 

Stories ranged from tales of childhood japes to recounting a series of trapdoors in someone’s life that caused them to keep falling down. 

“The workshop was one of my highlights of 2018. I had wanted to make a tribute to my mum, who died this year, and making a book about part of her life that was important to her was a perfect way of doing this. I’m not sure how I would have approached it without the workshop, and perhaps I still wouldn’t have got round to it. Working on the whole process, from writing to binding, felt very empowering and slightly cathartic. It certainly made me feel close to my mum and it would have made her very happy and proud.”  (Vanessa, workshop participant, Hexham)

Participants reaction and feedback has led me to think hard on how this could reach more people, resulting in a new idea using digital engagement. 

Thanks to Natalie Querol/The Empty Space, Sandra English/Reviving The Heart of the West End & Queen’s Hall Hexham

The Story of You and Me has been a new concept for us as far as engaging with our communities through arts based activities.  As a charity, our focus is on working with individuals and communities to improve their life chances through training, employment and enterprise.  We worked with Amy to generate an interest in her project and visited our local foodbank to tell customers there all about it, which had a great response.  The workshops were really inclusive and engaging and were extremely popular with the participants who, during the process of making their books, began thinking of other ‘stories’ they would like to tell.  In our view, not only did it prove enlightening with regard to the topics people wanted to write about,  but it broke down some social barriers as well as giving people access to art with the opportunity to be creative.  An additional benefit was that the activities themselves were very much mindfulness practice based and proved most enjoyable for all participants and has made us, as an organisation, look at more innovative and creative ways to engage with people in our communities. Sandra English (Development Officer) - Reviving the Heart of the West End

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