Combine to Create (C2C) artists/creative practitioners, Programme Coordinator Elidh Brown and Findhorn Bay Arts’ Creative Director Kresanna Aigner, came together for two days of conversation and reflection in September. Here Elidh Brown blogs about the gathering.
We spent our first project day, the hottest of the year, like tatties gently baking in our skins, inside and outdoors at Transition Town Forres, beginning with a workshop activity provided by Heather Fulton, C2C artist in residence, theatre director, maker and teacher.
Heather tested out a storytelling workshop for younger children on the C2C Collective. Under Heather’s guidance, we marked out boundaries for play, wrote stories together and told/acted these out, with or watched by, our peers.
We figured out how to walk, run, laugh, slide and play, take turns, and share space, with the shoe on the other foot (metaphorically speaking), or no shoes at all.
In the afternoon we moved on to working, first in pairs, exploring the connections and relationships with community partners, collaborators, connectors and associated/supporting artists, that have been built through the C2C programme’s artist residencies with communities in Moray.
We considered what’s changed over time, then shared these stories back to the group as a whole, part of an ongoing mapping that seems ever to shift and change as we move through the process.
On Day 2, now in the (thankfully cooler) confines of the Forres Tolbooth, Kate MacKay, Combine to Create artist/creative practitioner, invited the group to draw on the simple, yet exquisitely nuanced, polychrome card deck she has developed and is producing as a creative response through her residency with Moray’s neurodiversity community.
Kate continues to work on new ways people can work with the cards, including through a Continued Professional Development offer to teachers.
We each took turns to consider a word or words that resonated with us, their opposites, and how other similar/contrasting words and ways of thinking and seeing, could help us take steps and build bridges that lead us to make fresh connections and discoveries, and develop deeper insights, and richer meanings, through our Combine to Create work, individually, in pairs, and collectively.
After lunch, we moved on to hear in a bit more detail from Kresanna about the future.
Firstly, the big picture, the strategic direction and plans for FBA as a cultural organisation navigating challenges and opportunities through uncertain times. Together, we then focused on the transition from and embedding of new ways of working developed through Combine to Create.
This led into discussion with the group of how these new ways of working can, and are, being drawn into and developed through new projects, by FBA, the Combine to Create artists, with ongoing support from tsiMORAY, and with community partners, through relationships built through C2C.
Some of these plans are still in their early days, with further evaluation with Glasgow School of Art (GSA), and the independent GSA Combine to Create Learning report to be completed through Phase 2.
So, these plans are likely to continue to adapt and evolve. Others have begun to seed their own success in new projects, with funding secured and/or delivery underway…already lots to celebrate.
There was a strong sense of commitment to ongoing connection as peers, as a collective, with FBA, and with supportive partners from the cultural and community sectors.
Find out more about Combine to Create on the project page.
Photographs by Project Documentarian Jason Sinclair.