For years, I have worked with people of all ages and abilities in social care, education, in woods, on moorland, even with entire villages and towns, helping people to write out of their own lives – what I call ‘out of the ordinary.’ This is only a selection of such projects:
A Better Life, 2013 Four new songs out of research with older people carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and performed by older people’s choirs at the launch event for their publication. They were also recorded for YouTube. (Commissioned by Joseph Rowntree Foundation)
Arts impact, 2012 Ten week project working with older people and their carers in four Derbyshire residential homes around writing and words (Derbyshire Arts/Derbyshire Arts and Health)
Big Sky: Stories from The Edge 2012 Creating new poems, songs and a multimedia performance out of stories from Skye Edge in Sheffield. Performed by mixed cast of professionals and local people. (Commissioned by Freedom Studios)
Everyday Pleasures 2012 Piloting a new course in creative writing for people with ME (Specialist NHS CFS/ME Regional Service for South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire)
Shakespeare’s Sonnets 2012 Working with older people to look at Shakespeare’s sonnets and make new writing (Art in the Park in collaboration with Sheffield University)
Derbyshire Libraries Wellbeing Project 2011 – 12 Creative writing workshops with people with mental health problems (Derbyshire County Council Libraries Service and Literature Development)
Forging Futures 2011 – 12 Sharing metalwork from Sheffield Museums with older people in care, including those with dementia. Using these as a stimulus for writing/reminiscence (Museums Sheffield)
Intergenerational training 2011 Trained 4 artists to work with children and older people (Art in the Park)
Sharing our Lives 2011 Making poems with parents from Pye Bank, Parkwood and Southey in Sheffield – women of nine different nationalities – towards an anthology and event (Art in the Park).
Write Down Your Street, 2010 – 11 Work with older people on Low Edges housing estate, Sheffield making poems and songs celebrating their place. Resulted in events and anthology (Art in the Park).
Threads 2010 Oral history interviews with ex mill workers in Derwent Valley. Also resulted in my own poems, an event and a website.(Fleet Arts, Belper).
Our History 2010 Poems and songs for community project in Old Whittington, Derbyshire involving older people, people with learning disabilities (Derbyshire County Council Libraries and MacIntyre Charity).
Songs on the Map 2006 – 7 Songwriting with 6 Derbyshire villages looking at local people’s connection with place. See http://www.songsonthemap.blogspot.com for a blog documenting the project (Firebird Trust)
Ferney Lee Mondays 2005 Creative reminiscence project with older people in Todmorden, leading to a simple book of stories, poems, songs, photos and reminiscences. Also trained local people in creative reminiscence approaches (Route to Roots)
Arts Training Fortnight 1999, 2003, 2005 Training for care workers in using the arts and arts activities with older people and people with learning disabilities. For darts (Doncaster Community Arts), Doncaster Social Services, Doncaster Health Authority
Discover Beighton 2005 creative writing with a number of local groups, including older people, stimulated by a heritage and arts project. Work included on a website, in a book and in local performances. (Full Circle/Eventus/Beighton Village Development Trust)
Brickworks 2005 Intergenerational project – writing with school pupils and older people from residential home to celebrate transformation of open space between them – words later incorporated into stone sculpture on site. (CI Arts, Sheffield Countryside Unit)
Songs for Life 2004 New songs and a CD out of research with older people in Hull, performed by Hull Community Choir at Age Concern Hull’s Healthy Living Centre. (Age Concern, Hull; Firebird Trust)
Arts at Ferrymoor 2004 Writing and music with people with dementia in care in Grimethorpe. Worked with visual artist Janet Flynn. Resulted in a presentation used to advocate for change in dementia care. It resulted in increased BUPA funding for activities. National coverage of this project in the specialist press including The Journal of Dementia Care. (Friends of Ferrymoor)
As We Have Done Before 2003 Weekly creative writing class arising from reminiscence with older people in care. Resulted in a book (Sheffield Life Long Learning, Sheffcare).
Generate 2002 – 3 Ambitious intergenerational songwriting project in Parson Cross, Sheffield. Worked with 5 schools paired with 5 groups of older people, resulting in 2 CDs and sharing events. Contracted a team of artists. Also fundraised, designed, managed and evaluated this project (Music Mine YMAZ, Youth Music, Together We Can EAZ)
Sounds Interesting 2003 Another ambitious intergenerational songwriting and performance project in Stocksbridge and Deepcar, working with 8 community groups. Older people worked with young people and children. Resulted in large outdoor midsummer performance. Worked with a team of artists. Also fundraised, designed, managed and evaluated this project. (Music Mine YMAZ, Youth Music and Stocksbridge Steel Valley and Upper Don Project).
A Different Song 2002 Research project on creative work with people with dementia (Darnall Dementia Care/Yorkshire Arts Research and Development Award)
Not So Many Elephants 2001 Writing with people with dementia, working with visual artist Neil McGregor. Resulted in a book. (darts, Doncaster Health)
Songwriting with older people 2001 practical training session at launch of Yorkshire Arts’ publication: Arts and Older People Handbook (Arts Council)
Heard It in the Playground, 1999 – 2000 Innovative intergenerational project with older people in sheltered housing and children in Lincolnshire, looking at their experience of “playing out.” With digital artist and filmmakerJeanie Finlay, made a playful website resulting from the work (Firebird Trust)
Borders and Islands, 1999 – 2000 Worked with variety of community groups, including older people, in North Lincolnshire with writer Peter Spafford. Resulted in a large community performance and book. Also fundraised, set up and managed larger regeneration arts project of which this was a part. (Firebird Trust/Yorkshire Forward)