Following a number of very successful training sessions where Pioneer Projects worked closely with staff and volunteers from The Folly in Settle around Creative Engagement with those living with a Dementia the wonderful ‘Looking At’ sessions happened in 2014. Those living with a Dementia and their carers were invited into the museum to explore and take part in a number of activities based around the museums collection.
We use ‘ Timeslips ‘ methods to build a story ( www.timeslips.org )
Anne Basting who developed Timeslips describe’s, “…a method that opens up storytelling to everyone by replacing the pressure to remember with encouragement to imagine.”
The participants were given a picture and, as a group, created the story. Normally a picture with a sense of the ridiculous is used to help create an interesting story but whilst working with the Folly we decided to use photos from Settle in the past, such as this photo of the firemen which had the dragon photo shopped in.
This worked very well and the stories created contained a lot of fun, (read here) however we also used this rather sombre photo of people in deep snow and the engagement from people present was astonishing, resulting in the scribe of the day creating poem’s directly from the comments made.
Find a way, make a way
walls of snow
whiteness envelops them
who are they?
old photo, sharp
and yet blurred
you don’t see more
by looking closer
definitely people –
clearing a path where
snow constantly blows in?
walking on frozen snow, on top of walls?
feeling cold, fed up?
hearing the wind?
there was a year a hundred German Prisoners of War
worked weeks to clear the track from Thornton to Queensbury
fast as they cleared it the snow
blew back in
a year hundreds of sheep and lambs died
a small plane dropped hay on Malham Moor
a year German Prisoners of War
helped dig out the trains at Dent. Fast as they cleared it
the snow blew back in
what year was it?
today we’re looking into distance
trying to find a way back in
they’re waiting for a bus
someone’s dropped a shilling and being Yorkshire
they’ve got to find it
they’re standing on the roof
of a buried bus
a bomb hasn’t yet exploded
those black marks sticking out of the snow
are the legs of the little boy’s sister
someone’s got a flask
someone else has a shovel
seven men, one woman
one small boy how
did the woman get there?
they’re standing, not smiling
huddle of black great-coats
scarves, flat caps that kid
has bare knees walls of snow
line a track or hollow lane
where they wouldn’t be stood about –
search party – looking for another woman?
inhabitants of a remote village or farm –
come to the end of the road, waiting
for people coming to meet them
digging through the snow
clearing it with shovels
trying to get through
Jean Harrison, a poet and a volunteer with The Folly, Art gallery and Museum in Settle, recorded the comments of participants at the ‘Looking At’ Timeslips event held in Settle at The Folly.
The poems above were crafted by Jean from participants own words.