We are coming to the final stages of involving local older people in the Where We Belong words and sounds project. Thousands of words have been written, recorded, collected – some as poetry, some as social comments, some as memoir, some as reflection on the landscape and seascape that surround us.
Over the months, Geoff and I have discussed, pondered and re-considered the ways of presenting the soundscape alongside and around the written words in an installation to be exhibited at The Watchtower Gallery in Berwick upon Tweed. I was particularly keen to find other ways of presenting the written word to the public which avoided the traditional leaflet or a pamphlet or a poster.
Eventually we combined Japanese plywood, lithopress, a local carpenter, a local visual artist, more timber and a lot of on-line research. Then we took a deep breath as it all came together for the preview at Bell View Resource Centre, our partner organisation in Belford. They provided a space for a specially invited audience which prioritised participants and their families and friend who will not be able to get to the actual installation at The Watchtower. Bell View also provided luscious home-made cakes and cheese scones in their cafe so that people could chat in a space outside the installation which required a certain level of quiet.
We had some fantastic feedback as well as some invaluable suggestions about how we might improve the audience experience – such as giving people a bit of guidance about how to ‘navigate’ the installation.
Bucket loads of thanks go to the people who’ve been involved – and watch this space as we invite the widest audience to the installation in October.