Victoria Park Community Art Project, Making Matters, 2011

Making Matters was part of the Somerset-wide Company of Voices intergenerational project. The aim of the project was to bring together older (50+) and younger people (under 25) to work together on positive activities that are of benefit to the local community. In 2010 - 2011 SAW developed a diverse programme of projects with over 200 participants. Working in partnership with organisations and individuals across Somerset, SAW engaged a number of artists to work with communities and develop projects that use Making as a catalyst, to bring the generations together and benefit community cohesion.

Intergenerational practice aims to bring people together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities which promote greater understanding and respect between generations and contributes to building more cohesive communities. Intergenerational practice is inclusive, building on the positive resources that young and old have to offer each other and those around them’  The Beth Johnson Foundation, 2009

The Company of Voices was a cross-sector partnership in Somerset promoting cohesion in communities so that older and younger people improve the extent to which they:

  •  value and respect one another;
  •  feel safe and secure in their community;
  • are able to speak about their issues and views;
  • have opportunities to come together to make a difference in their community;
  • enjoy healthy, active and fulfilling lives.

SAW welcomed the opportunity to work with these important groups using ‘Making Matters’ as catalyst to open up new participation in the community.

Older people in the communities of Somerset hold a wealth of creative skills to share and pass on to young people.  Young people also hold skills they can share with the older generation.  This, in turn, promotes the values and skills of making as a means of self-expression and improved self-esteem across all ages and abilities.  Working together on a creative project is a great way for people to talk, get to know each other and break down barriers.

‘Making as a process or series of processes is often undervalued. And yet making develops a wide range of skills, feeds creative thought and action, results in our being productive in the best possible sense, and is vital to the economic and cultural development of our society.’ Paula BaleAccessArts.

SAW delivered a series of intergenerational projects in Somerset during 2010-2011, under the title of Making Matters.

SAW Making Matters Project Co-ordinator – Beccy Swaine.

The Company of Voices project is part of the Generations Together national programme funded by DCSF.

Our Making Matters projects include:

Chilton Generations Together

An intergenerational project celebrating the history of the school through an exploration of the images and stories of past pupils.

SAW worked with Chilton Trinity School in Bridgwater to develop communication with past pupils as a way of recognising the generations of local people who have attended the school through the years.  This was linked to the changes at the school due to the new school building in development.  An intergenerational group formed to organise an open day at the school.  Local people were invited to attend and bring their stories, photos and mementos of their time at Chilton Trinity.  Large photographic prints of past pupils were produced and displayed in the new school building as a visual reminder of the school’s history and place within the local community. View the project blog

Short film

Project Artists:  Laura Rouse and Sophy Denny (Layzell).

Making Matters with the Great Crane Project

SAW worked with The Great Crane Project in 2010 and 2011 to develop an arts and community strand to an exciting project which is re-introducing the Common Cranes to the Somerset Levels. View our project blog

View short film documentation

Working with intergenerational volunteers and engaging artists to deliver primary and secondary school workshops,  intergenerational community days, providing local people with the opportunity to join the Great Crane Project and discover the wonders of cranes.  Participants explored the wetland habitats and created crane-inspired artwork under the guidance of a professional local artist.  Artwork created in the workshops was displayed during Somerset Art Weeks Autumn 2011 to celebrate the Great Crane Project, and at Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire (partner in the Great Crane Project) 15 June – 04 August. Artists on the project:  Fiona CampbellKitty HillierHilda Vaughan. To find out more about the wider Great Crane Project

Around Here and Out There

A creative intergenerational project took place in Langport Somerset, as part of Company of Voices / Making Matters.  Led by Sue Palmer and Simon Lee Dicker, professional artists specialising in working in participatory projects in the public realm. Around Here and Out There featured:

  • A special day out on a free coach trip
  • Further creative sessions in Langport
  • The opportunity to make something special in relation to where you live

An exploration of the sights and sounds that inspire us to think about the place we live in, about Langport, Somerset, our history and our future.

View the project blog

A short film inspired by the project created by artist Sue Palmer:

Making Matters at Carymoor Environmental Centre –  Sculpture Project

Local artist Fiona Campbell worked with intergenerational volunteers atCarymoor Environmental Centre during the summer of 2010.  Through the medium of visual arts, volunteers developed an environmental themed sculpture project to raise the profile of the charity’s valuable work. View the project blog to follow the work of the intergenerational volunteers

Making Matters Photography Project with Young Arts Promoters at Barrington Court

As part of our Making Matters intergenerational project we worked with the Young Arts Promoters (YAP) and the National Trust Volunteers at Barrington Court delivering photography skills training and discovering how to capture the essence of a place through photography.  Led by Somerset artist Rick Crane. A showcase of the images created was displayed at Bow Wharf Langport during Somerset Art Weeks 2011

Making Matters at Victoria Park Community Centre Cafe, Bridgwater

34 local people came together to explore ideas and create permanent art works for the new-build community centre café.  The older and younger people worked closely with lead artist Julie Roberts to develop the art work which adds colour and character to the community space and encourages a sense of ownership within the local community. A project showcase was on display during Somerset Art Weeks 2010. Click here to visit the Victoria Park Making Matters Project blog, lots of great pictures to document this community led project.
View the short film documentation:
5 min version

3 min version

Making Matters Archive Project at the Regal Theatre, Minehead

SAW worked with The Regal Theatre and West Somerset Community College on an archive project led by Minehead artist Andy Davey.  Theatre memorabilia was collected from homes, attics and private collections, inspiring the intergenerational volunteers to create art work to be displayed throughout Somerset Art Weeks 2010.   Intergenerational technical skills workshops have also been run, encouraging the older generation to pass on their skills in theatre lighting and sound to younger volunteers.  Improvements have been made to the exhibition space at the theatre with a new hanging system and lighting, providing improved showing space for local artists.

Making Matters Photography Workshops with Somerset Rural Youth Project

Working with Somerset Rural Youth Project (SRYP), SAW developed an intergenerational photographic project in South Somerset.  Volunteers worked with Somerset artist Rick Crane to learn new skills in photography and work towards an exhibition at the Octagon Theatre, Yeovil for Somerset Art Weeks 2010.  The exhibition of photographs has also toured to Carymoor Environmental Centre.

Company of Voices logo

Project Artists:

  • Fiona Campbell
  • Andrew Davey
  • Kitty Hillier
  • Hilda Maureen Vaughan
  • Laura Rouse
  • Sophy Denny
  • Simon Lee Dicker
  • Sue Palmer