Personal Reflection – Culture Collective Sessions

Gabrielle Barnby, Orkney 2022, Culture Collective, Age Scotland Orkney, creative sessionsThese sessions have been a journey, through autumn and winter and now into spring. We have gone through new topics and group members have come and gone and come back again. I’ve developed a way of working with participants that moves and adjusts to individual needs, that promotes equity of participation, where access barriers such as transport are removed. I’ve used and discarded technology, tried new materials, explored a wide breadth of content and grown a sense of contentment based on what happens rather than what I had planned. It has been bespoke and personal, reciprocal rather than about prescribed roles of giving and taking. I feel at peace with what I have left behind.

    I have material to go through and want to create a sort of poetic archive of the shared experience of the groups. I feel this is a valid use of this material, my response to these experiences a process of archiving and honouring. If there is to be any creative product from this then it will be done softly and responsively rather than with an aim to modify, improve or poeticise for an audience. This feels ethically sound, it feels part of a process of reflection and development that I am following.

    I have learned about waiting, and allowing things to evolve, to let things go, to try things other people’s way and to release control. Why has it taken six months to do this? Perhaps it will take me less time in the future, perhaps I can find a way to genuinely let go and embrace the richness and variety waiting for me.

    I received a handshake after the Spring Foy, and that means something. It spoke volumes to me. And now the idea pops into my head that ‘Handshake’ would make a good theme for a session…

    I have worried about declining numbers, but I feel more that this is how life naturally plays out, ebbing and flowing, and flooding. The Foy was certainly a spring tide. Books have been picked up and taken away, and there was an energy around the whole process moving forward.

    The desire to create, perform, converse and explore remains even as memory becomes fragmented and mood rises and falls. This gives me great hope.


    Creating creativity with Age Scotland Orkney; reflections on process, development and evaluation 

    Culture Collective 2022/2023

    Culture Collective, Creative Islands Network, Gabrielle Barnby, Pier Arts Centre

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    Gabrielle Barnby