I remember workshops

March 5, 2019

For the last month it’s been my great pleasure to support incredible writer/facilitators, François Matarasso and Sabrina Mei Smith – in the delivery of this Writing East Midlands led and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust partnered and supported project. Here’s a piece about it by internationally acclaimed participatory artist, François Matarasso. We’ll be launching a book arising from this first phase of Leicester’s Elder Tree in early June – with further residencies and activity to follow across Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and University Hospitals Leicester, later this year.

A Restless Art

For several weeks, I’ve been facilitating creative writing workshops in Leicester. The project, commissioned by Writing East Midlands with the local NHS Trust, is for elders, here meaning people aged over 55, a category that includes me. We don’t have very long—five ‘taster sessions’ with community groups, and ten two-hour workshops. At the beginning of a project, I really don’t know where I’m going. So much depends on who else comes along, what they contribute and where they want to go. The uncertainty is more exciting than frightening, but there is always an edge; I would worry if I didn’t feel it. I remember sitting in the car for a long time, one dove-grey January morning, feeling the edge and trying to marshal my resources before meeting the first group. I can’t now remember what exercise I’d planned for us to do because we never got that far.

In the…

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