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Arts / Arts programme aims to support community recovery from Covid

Last Days At Gudden, 2019, Berenice Carrington.

SHETLAND Arts has announced a new programme of activities and projects to be devised and delivered by creative practitioners across the islands as part of the Scotland-wide “Culture Collective” initiative.

The programme, supported by Creative Scotland, explores ways of working together, supporting artists and embedding the arts within the community’s recovery from the effects of Covid-19.

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Shetland Arts is working together with other islands arts bodies – the Pier Arts Centre, An Lanntair and Taigh Chesarsabhagh in Orkney and the Western Isles – to “share experiences and ideas, and build connections between creative practitioners and project participants across our islands”.

All the projects aim to provide opportunities for people to reconnect with others after periods of isolation and restrictions resulting from Covid-19 in “relaxed, fun and creative ways”.

Older folk living alone or in care have been particularly affected by the pandemic and many of the projects aim to provide opportunities for them to share their ideas with others.

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Christina Inkster is hoping to work with care home residents to create individual ‘Pockets Full of Positivity’ embellished with positive messages and decorations, which can be combined into a large-scale tapestry that will then be taken around care homes and other locations.

Residents at the Walter and Joan Gray care centre will jet off to new destinations and visit family and friends through creativity and imagination with Kristi Tait in her Aeropuerto project – with hard-working staff also having the opportunity to delve into some “fun-provoking creative sessions”.

In Yell and Whalsay, Alex Purbrick and Jane Cockayne will work with the elderly and primary school children, and with Sandness Primary School, to share local folklore and stories, and create new ones through written and visual arts as part of the Wance apo a time… project.

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In Bigton and the South Mainland a variety of people from parent and toddler groups to older folk will have the opportunity to take part in collective music and song-making sessions as part of Finding Our Voice, run by Alice Ritch.

It will culminate in a sharing and performance event and the creation of a songbook containing old and new material.

In Gathering Strings, an intergenerational project between history societies and primary school children will take place across Bressay, Lunnasting, Burra and Northmavine.

Aimee Labourne and participants will explore the theme of connectivity in Shetland, past and present, undertaking research and creating artwork to be exhibited in heritage centres and community museums in summer 2022.

Heather Christie’s Care for Care-givers workshops will offer a chance for caregivers to relax, reflect on and share their experiences through painting, drawing and collage.

Bus shelters are familiar beacons in Yell’s landscape, and Berenice Carrington’s Sheltered project will imagine them as a portal to another world. She will work with local folk to map their interior worlds, which blossomed during the pandemic.

Carrington will trace the landscapes they walked close to home during lockdown, and maps of those landscapes will then decorate Yell’s bus shelters.

Finally, as part of Glöril, artist Helen Robertson will travel to every inhabited island in Shetland, except the mainland, to create work with communities.

Together Helen and workshop participants will explore lace knitting techniques, using a variety of materials to create unique lampshades, and enjoy connecting and making things together again.

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