Showing Stories was a participatory programme created by artist facilitator Dr Mhairi Sutherland in response to the work of Katrina Palmer. Working with an Age Concern Causeway, the touchstone for the programme was different means of ‘storytelling’ – writing, speaking, listening, and the concept of ‘story’ as artwork. This group had previously worked with the Void Engage team through the ERA Project – Encouraging Relationships With Art – which explored the exhibition by Anne Wenzel Night falls, Day Breaks through workshops and gallery visits.
Showing Stories took place over six weekly sessions including a gallery visit mid-way. The approach involved discussing artists who use text as image in their practice; this served as preparation for the gallery visit, generated discussion within the group, and finally provided incentive for their own story journeys. Subjects’ discussions ranged from the mingling of fact and fiction and how these can be woven together in story form, re-shaping ‘found’ text from book pages, memories remembered and reworked into a new form.
People participated individually and as a group, contributing single words and crafting collective narratives, making ‘page poems’ and culminating in the hand-making of an individual book. Interests, themes, and memories ranged from making peats in the bog, visiting the Amish and growing garden herbs, to fishing in local rivers, visits from grandchildren and thoughts about warfare.
Filmmaker Mara Cavalli documented the process.
Void Gallery is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council.