You were working on the Brilliant Resilience Project with participants in Fermanagh. Did the project achieve its aims?
Yes, the following feedback the project received during its evaluation suggested the project achieved its aims of supporting people through the Lockdown through their own respective creative projects:
“This was not just a skills enhancing course but a restorative experience. Anne (CAP facilitator for textile, craft and crochet arts) brought encouraging words at the start of each day. Some of these applied to my personal circumstances and gave me a sense of being cared for and understood.”
Each participant brought their own skills, ideas and attitudes, which they freely and generously shared with others. Coming from different backgrounds and with different abilities, the chat among us was always friendly and informative This reinforced the fact that when we meet together it is for our mutual benefit and we create a new community where difference positive and trust and respect can grow. This course provided the environment for this to be progressed.”
This class has given me a focus and the courage to start engaging again with the world outside my home.”
There has been a significant shift in my awareness of the importance of connecting to each other. By attending the class, I appreciated the need to meet people and interact with them. Mentally I am in a healthy place.”
The past weeks have been an absolute joy where we have learned to crochet and to natter and be back together again after such a long period, socially distanced of course.”
“The lovely ideas that keep coming has given me so much to think about and plan for special events where the ideas can be used. Learning to be creative with crafts and producing handmade gifts is so encouraging. It has been a time of helping each other and sharing our skills.”
“I left school early and had no exams. Have returned to learning. Always scribbled a bit when stressed and have written poems for my children over the years. When lockdown came, I couldn’t go anywhere so I decided to begin writing my book – my life with a twist. It has been so lovely to fit into a group, experience value and surprise yourself.”
The limits of time, of COVID, fired up my creativity.”
What about the Community Resource produced through the project – the Calendar and Coffee-table Book – How has that been received?
People have been really delighted with the calendar and the coffee table book. This is really pleasing as any time you publish something in print one has just the one chance to get it right. So, it’s a real suck it and see moment. The calendar was about reflecting the beautiful photographs participants created of County Fermanagh. The book was about reflecting the participants and their creative process from workshop to production to the exhibition. We think it has turned out well.
You set up a stall at St George’s Markets recently. Is this part of a process alerting people to the many publications and community resources CAP has produced over the years?
Exactly. There has been so many great publications produced by CAP participants over its 21 years. The market stall was an opportunity to reconnect people with their work. These include Poetry publications produced by community participants as well as school children, as well as other CAP publications such as “Between Ourselves”, a community arts reader about the great work done by intercultural arts companies in Northern Ireland. The stall was a great chance to meet people that attend the market and have conversations about the work. Hopefully we will be back regularly.