Pioneer Projects

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 (  )

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


figures clustered

  between head-high

  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



Could be

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.