Words are false friends when introducing a creative activity. You can easily fall into the trap of being too prescriptive and as a result 'end-gaming' the outcomes that should be about discovery and giving participants a chance of finding their own voice and means of expression. There is always a desire when leading an activity to constantly provide, to fill every minute with things to do, stuff to handle. This sometimes gets in the way of participants generating material themselves with autonomy, authorship and agency.
Meet me at the Albany is a program I am involved with organised by the Albany Centre in partnership with Entelechy Arts, providing creative activities from singing to sewing and from circus to photography for the over 60s. My desire is to put creative collaboration (see also previous post) at the core of these sessions. I also think making art here should not simply be a means to enhance well-being, a sense of self and the building of a community, but be an end in itself.
The strategy I’m adopting is to rely heavily on visual resources, such as these illustrated, so to curb the reliance on words to initiate the activity. I also aim to have the work displayed as it is produced, negotiating this with the participants and working with them as curators as much as artists.
One month into the program there is already talk of hosting a Meet me at the Albany exhibition in 2014 (I’m also secretly holding out for a publication!). Thinking of these sessions not as workshops but events, one might think of the exhibition next year as a retrospective, showcasing moments of the Meet me at the Albany program.
Objects in the images above are the resources brought in at the start of the last session at the Albany on October 29th.