Write from the Art
This past month started with a new workshop for me: "Write from the Art" in which I brought together ideas from using art as a stimulus for philosophical enquiry and creative writing activities. It was exciting (with all it's various elements of fun, alarm, fear and exhilaration) to develop my practice and create something new. It was on offer as part of the Sheffield Showcase programme - a weekend of cultural events across the city - which felt like a good community to be part of. It was also good to work with the Fronteer Gallery, a near neighbour to us in the Writers Workshop.
I loved the feedback from one participant that I'd "pushed [his] horizons" as it fitted so well with my own experience of the challenges of putting new work out into the world - whether it's a new workshop or a piece of creative writing. I'll be offering further 'Write from the Art' workshops next year, watch this space.
Stone Soup with Emilie Taylor
Emilie Taylor is a potter and an art therapist and she creates beautiful work - both pots and projects. I was delighted to be invited to be part of her most recent community-based project Stone Soup; to be a guest speaker / facilitator at their celebratory feast and to write an essay. The essay, Stone Soup: a recipe for community, is currently only available in print form - it's printed inside the wrapper of the project's legacy tea towel - and I got my copy at the private view for the exhibition.
In due course it will be available on Emilie's website, along with the community generated poem written as part of our feast philosophising.
The private view was another horizon reached for me, as it was the first time I'd been to one for an exhibition that included some of my creative work. Horizons are tricky things though aren't they - because in reaching one, you find another.
Nottingham University Hospitals - now even more hospitable
Another horizon I reached this month, was going to the launch event for the new Arts Trails in Nottingham Hospitals. This was a project I worked on earlier in the year - facilitating workshops and drop-ins for staff, visitors and patients, to get them engaged with the hospital's art collection. I then curated contributions into the creative writing that's now part of the Arts Trail both on the walls and online.
Walking around the hospital corridors to see all the pictures again, now with the Arts Trail plaques in place, brought back many memories for me, including remembering how very long those corridors are.
It always feels bold to put creative work out into the world, but in this case I'm confident that the trails can offer a different horizon for the people walking past them.
And in hospital, whatever the reason you're there, a different view is often a good thing.
To further extend the reach of my emboldened horizons, here's a video of me reading one of the poems. (I stood on a bench to record it with people walking past.)
This month, I'm going to be offering a Pop-up Philosophy Cafe at the Culture Health and Well-being Alliance Conference which I'm very much looking forward to.
And, for the first time, I'm offering a series of philosophical enquiries which I'm calling the October Sessions. These will be four linked sessions on the theme of 'responsibility' and will offer the chance to think creatively and deeply on theme, and to find out more about the Philosophy for Communities method. I'm delighted that ten people have signed up so far, which means there are only two tickets left. If you think you might like to join us you could book on here.