Hi this is Anastacia Ackers here, the new creative associate for NTW TEAM in Wrexham. A couple of weeks ago, we launched the Connection Callout– a means of the community keeping in touch with the homeless whilst we experience this pandemic. Working alongside the fabulousNo22, CAIS, and Wrexham Homeless, we have been providing letters, stationary and some delicious desserts to go with their meals and to let them know that although we can’t be with them in person, we can still maintain contact.  

As an activity this weekend, myself and my family made some letters and drawings for the homeless community. As I have a four-year-old and a three-year-old whose favourite words are ‘paint’ and ‘everywhere’, this was rather hilarious and a lovely way to spend time doing activities that have a bit of meaning in these troublesome times. I just asked them to paint a picture that would make someone happy to see and for my activity, I wrote a letter with an accompanying poem by Emily Dickinson about hope.   For those moments, we all focussed on our creations – the simple act of putting pen to paper and making something for someone else to enjoy was really lovely.  

I’d like to reach out to you reading this post (yes, you!) to see if you would consider writing something that we could share with the homeless community – it could be a letter, a poem, a drawing or a painting. Something that inspires hope and that reminds someone that they’re not alone – that we may be apart physically at the moment but that we can still be social. Keep an eye here on the NTW Community as every Monday, we'll be posting updates on the Callout and sharing ideas on different ways you can get involved!

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Comment by Bill Hamblett on June 3, 2020 at 11:11

Hi Anastasia, Of course it is ok by me to share the image but it obviously a Banksy credit, but I assume it is an image in "creative commons"  and therefor shareable. I apologise if I get a bit wordy but with Small World Theatre closed and all of us being on furlough at home I tend to spout a bit.

I have found that there is an interesting balance between using theatre, art, images as inspiration, introducing a vision, or provocation and the process of listening, allowing time, silence and space to work and listening again in a co creation or participatory process. Stories will highlight what we need to hear and how many key questions are interlinked. As a senior educationalist friend puts it, There is no learning until we have made a narrative or story in our head from the information and data. Keep safe, Bill

Comment by Anastacia Ackers on June 3, 2020 at 10:43

Hi Bill!

Firstly, thank you so much for sharing that excellent Banksy image and your powerful words. If its ok with you, could we share the image during next weeks meal distribution with some of your words?

From your words, I can tell you have a strong co-creation ethos to your work which to me as an artist is the best way to work. That everything from subject matter to what the outcome of a project/process looks like is created for and with the people involved, and not simply about them. At this moment of societal and political crisis, its clear that the arts holds answers to some key questions that need to be asked, and that also we need to re-evaluate who is asking those questions.

Comment by Bill Hamblett on May 31, 2020 at 13:59

LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE: To use this Banksy picture as a talking point may be good. Does it inspire hope? Change is inspiring and hopeful if the person who wants change can determine that change. In our theatre for development work in Africa we came across Julius Nyrere's axiom "You cannot empower anybody. They can only empower themselves." instead of assuming the role of the empowerer we found a more sustainable , long lasting role was to use arts and theatre to encourage peoples own stories to determine the direction of their development wether that be a shared agreement on the direction of change or the content of the advocacy. 

The UK government has called the isolation of people "social distancing" but the homeless situation has pioneered societies reaction to social distancing. Brit gov takes the lead and sets the mood in walking away from any meaningful solution as well as making no progress in listening to the voice of homeless people. So is it us up to artists and creatives to help focus a response, to patch up the safety nets and be the only ones looking at the big picture? If happiness is a solution that is sought then the definition of happiness could be a start. Apparently, Happiness is achieved by setting a goal ,and going about reaching that goal. So where do I, sitting on the street, set my goals? is this big picture any help? 

Best of luck with connection callout

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