Jess’ Journey – and a journey of my own

A few weeks ago we premiered ‘Jess’ Journey’, a film I created with women at Elysium Healthcare‘s Arbury Court and Geese Theatre Company.

I laughed so much over the course of the project, shared in the participants’ journeys and I’ve come away with even more determination to make Participatory Arts the force it can be.

I’m emerging from a really beautiful space that was co-created by patients, hospital staff and some highly skilled, talented and experienced facilitators from Geese. A space of trust, care, respect, joy, experimentation, learning and so much more. It’s potent and important.

The project came shortly after a wonderful ‘Gathering’ with ArtWorks Alliance at the Liverpool Philharmonic. I recently joined themas an Associate, and it’s been wonderful to finally find my ‘people’.

We are a group of organisations and individuals with a passion for participatory arts and an understanding that working together to strengthen support for those working in the field will bring benefits for everyone involved.

ArtWorks Alliance mission statement

The Gathering was a welcome space to think about the ingredients needed to make my own practice as participatory and inclusive as it can be. It’s an ongoing journey of learning, experimentation and reflection. It involves making the case for working in a particular way, some risk taking and seeking out opportunities to work collaboratively.

I was also able to combine my trip to the North West with a visit to the People’s History Museum in Manchester. As well as taking in the stories of ‘ideas worth fighting for’ over the past three centuries, I was able to reflect on how the exhibitions had been curated. This will feed into the next phase of the ‘Represent’ project which I am managing. The team will be developing a pop-up, interactive exhibition of our research and artwork created by two community groups with Artists Carolyn Morton and Jo Löki – we’re brimming with ideas!

Next month I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts at an ArtsConnect WM Pecha Kucha event. More reflections and some musings on some recent reading will follow soon as I develop my presentation…