Weather was lovely, sunshine & cloud with a light wind close to the sea. I watched from the Hoe as the light grey fog that hung over Plymouth Sound on Wednesday afternoon, obscured the jagged volcanic rocks of Drake’s Island, then lift almost as soon as it came.
1940’s mental health nurse Lucida, having just returned from New Plymouth, New Zealand, had many fruitful interactions with visitors to her events, sharing stories and comparing experiences of the COVID 19 pandemic with WW2 and the post war period.
Many people recognised the importance of the moment, reflecting on the divisive events of 1948; the building of the Berlin Wall, the beginning of Apartheid in South Africa and the establishment of the State of Israel. All acknowledged the impact of those post war devisions and the need for global unity now, in 2021 not just for humanity but for all nature’s sake.
If ever there was a time to send a postcard it is now, we all live under the same sky, reach out and communicate.
I love this part of my workshop process, when I have been working alongside participants engaging creatively together with natural objects. We share our thoughts, reflections and responses and make a collaborative poem.
This one is from Shropshire Supports Refugees’ volunteers responding to sea shells, borderless, unbounded and found :
Seeds, pearls, beginnings of treasured love, change you
Evolving, complex, disjointed, unknown.
Swoosh, dripping, organic, natural ridges.
Borders, discover home, one life, a social echo, identity
Integrity an allegory as actor artist, to tell stories.
I’d be interested to know if it resonates with anybody who wasn’t there….
It is so important, in these times especially, to work with other people. To keep connecting and collaborating via zoom, phone, distanced walking and talking or all of the above. I’ve had some great interactions walking in parallel with artist Julie Louise Harrison via WhatsApp, followed by creating via zoom once home, since having to stop our monthly Thinking Path meet up to walk the Shropshire Way.
I have enjoyed working with Director Ellen Edwin-scott to develop my conduit, character for The Weather Report Lucida Impey; an English Mental Health Nurse working in New Plymouth, New Zealand and about to return home in1948. Lucida delivers The Weather Report workshops via zoom through time and space from New Zealand (!) and will be returning to England in the spring to Plymouth Harbour (from where both James Cook and before that the Mayflower set sail for ‘The New World’ ) .
From this historic place she will make safely distanced conversation with passers by engaging them with the project themes of connection, commonality and migration, and talking about the weather.
I’m looking forward to working with Kim Wide form Take A part, artists Still/Moving, and The Box, in Plymouth later in the project as part of the city’s Mayflower400 events.
As a neurodiverse artist I often find that I miss out explanations about how to engage with my projects and invitations to share in my practice. In fact throughout the project I’ll be exploring my own neurodiverse ways of communicating, with artist Heather Peak who is mentoring me.
This is the first project I have applied for Arts Council England’s Access Fund, and it has made such a difference from the usual stress of bid writing – I would urge neurodiverse (dyslexic etc) artists to apply for bid writing support. I went to DASH, https://www.dasharts.org/ for advice on this and in relation to the general accessibility of the project . Mike Leyward was brilliantly helpful.
Julie Hoggarth from Brass Tacks (https://www.brasstacks.org.uk/), a long time friend and fellow artist, helped me hone the bid with her magical recomposing of words.
I would also recommend this podcast : https://www.movebeyondwords.co.uk/podcast to any one who is or thinks they might be dyslexic/neurodiverse or wants to understand links between creativity and neurodiversity.
The workshops for The Weather Report are dedicated to specific groups at the moment, but I would like people to follow and respond to the blog which will be weekly mainly visual snippets and will invite participation further into the project.
I’m happy to be launching this Arts Council England funded project, aiming to facilitate connection and wellbeing in these difficult times and finding commonality through natural objects.
The Weather Report is dedicated to my lovely mum, Betty Impey, who struggled with depression, she passed away in November 2020, aged 90. We always talked about the birds and the weather. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about the weather, it’s a starting point, an ice breaker, we all experience weather who ever we are and where ever we live.
The online workshops start on Monday 18th. January 2021. Firstly I’ll be working with volunteers and staff at Shropshire Supports Refugees and later on with service users themselves. This will be followed by sessions with Age UK Plymouth, staff, volunteers and service users.
The outcomes from these two sets of workshops in conjunction with recordings made in New Zealand (Aotearoa) in 2019 will inform and become part of a new film work.
The Weather Report will explore existing and lost or hidden connections between lands and ancestors, migrations, impacts of colonisation and how we might develop a language to navigate prejudice and negative interactions.
Please do contact me if you want to be involved or join the discussion, thank you