Creating Connections

Addressing the wellbeing needs of the community through arts

No one can resist opening a handwritten envelope before opening any other mail. Handwritten letters inspire curiosity and evoke nostalgia. This well-being focused project will engage groups of primary school children, 50+ participants and senior citizens with life experience in SE9 to initiate a dialogue through letter writing to upskill participants in communication, inspire interaction and promote positive relationships. Through workshops led by our professional artists and facilitators, letters exchanged between the two generations will inspire shadow puppetry and storytelling to visualize their understanding of the content of the letters & support their representation of ideas.

Participants will be encouraged to develop empathy and understanding through reading about other people’s experiences and feelings. Many people’s lives are busy and full of distractions from the internet. Handwriting a letter is a deliberate rejection of electronic messaging and requires our full attention and patience. Letters are tangible objects that can communicate more considered expressions of our thoughts and yet writing and receiving handwritten letters has become a rarity.

Creative practitioners will facilitate online letter writing sessions in primary schools to aid literacy, inspire interaction and to promote a sense of identity and locality. They will also engage with senior citizens online to discuss themes of letter writing and inspirations to create characters for shadow puppetry stories. 

The project is inviting 50+ participants and young children (4-10 years) to be a part of this creative process. We would like to recruit participants with or without any digital access. The creative offer is open to all young children and 50+ participants in the SE9 and for those who may have links to the area.

If you are 50+ and would like to take part in a free online letter writing workshop, then please register you interest here

Key Dates

2nd Nov – 4th Dec 2020 – Digital workshops with primary schools

Our practitioners will work together with teachers, children and 50+ participants to evoke, inspire, imagine and create stories through letter writing.

Given the current situation, we are only able to deliver online workshops in three primary schools. However, we would like more schools in the SE9 area to participate in this project. Therefore, our creative practitioners have put together an extensive toolkit for teachers which will enable them to deliver the project with ease.

4th Nov 2020 – Support session for primary school teachers

We are also offering one online support session for the teachers on 4th Nov 2020. If you are a primary school in the SE9 area and would like to participate in the project, then please refer to our toolkit which will be available to download from our website soon. If you would like to book the support session for teachers then please email us at elthamartsgroup@gmail.com latest by 21nd Oct 2020. Please note the deadline to submit all final outcomes is 4th Dec 2020.

6th Nov 2020– Letter writing discussion with senior citizens

A Zoom catch up with our creative practitioners to discuss letter writing themes and create content which will contribute to the shadow puppetry story writing in primary schools.

If you are interested to take part in this discussion, then please register here for the online session.

1th – 30th Nov 2020– Open invitation to SE9 community for letter writing

We are inviting all young people (4-10 years) and 50+ participants in the SE9 and those who have links with the area to take part in this project. Please refer to our letter writing guidance which will be available to download from our website soon. You can get involved by writing and sending us a letter through –

An email at elthamartsgroup@gmail.com

By post at Eltham Library, Archery Rd, Eltham, London SE9 1HA

Post it physically into “Ted” – the hungry letterbox in the library!

A list of letters will be available on our website and Facebook page each week. You will be able to request a letter in return by either emailing us or collecting one from the library yourself!

Tuesdays, 17th Nov, 24th Nov 2020, 1st Dec and 8th Dec 2021 –  Letter reading days for Senior citizens

We have collaborated with our wonderful Eltham Library to ensure we can reach out to most people in our community. We are hosting four telephonic letter reading workshops for our 50+ participants who may not have any digital access. These sessions are for you if you are aged 50+ and are not able to engage with the project through any of the above means. Our fantastic library staff will read you a letter of your choice from the selection of letters for that day. All you have to do is call the library between 12 – 3pm on any of the above dates and a library staff member will read the letter to you over the phone! You will also be able to request this letter sent to you by post.

Final Outcome

Our creative practitioners will collate the content created in the digital workshops and turn them into animations/a short film which will be available on various Eltham Arts digital platforms such as website, YouTube channel, social media etc.

The creative outcomes received from the schools will be displayed in an online exhibition.

All the letters will be archived in Eltham library and will be available for all members of the community to read.

More details to follow.

Meet our Creative Practitioners on this project

Shermaine Slocombe – Shermaine is our Lead Practitioner on this project. She is a multi-disciplinary participatory artist and educator, experienced in engaging young people in ambitious creative learning projects. Read more

Diana Jones – Diana is our Lead Artist on this project. After completing a degree in Fine Art in Sunderland, Di Jones moved to London and embarked on a freelance career in community and celebratory arts which took her the length and breadth of Britain. Read more ….

Vicky and Marc from Haltwhistle Film Project – Vicky and Marc will collate the final digital outcome for the project. Haltwhistle Film Project (HFP) has been established for over 20 years. Central to all their work is the voice of participants. They work in film and animation, and other art forms, across many sectors. They also established Film Able 12 years ago, a film production company, run by and for people with learning disabilities. Read More … 

Pragya Kumar – Pragya is our Project Manager of this project. She will also co-facilitate workshops with our other practitioners. She is a visual artist with more than 10 years’ experience in participatory and community arts. She has been associated with Eltham Arts for the past six years and have successfully delivered projects to connect the community, increase social engagement and provide opportunities for self-expression. Read more

http://www.artscouncil.org.uk