Celebrating Age, The Elder Tree
Gregory House, Grantham
Partners: Orders of St John Care Trust, Museum Development East Midlands
Lead Writer: Michelle ‘Mother’ Hubbard
Shadow Writer: Lytisha Tunbridge
Museum visit: Grantham Museum
Sessions took place between April and July 2019.
Participants worked towards producing a collection of tales, rhymes and advice, called The Gregory Book, Go and Mek Your Own Sausages. A PDF of the publication Go Mek Your Own Sausages can be downloaded by clicking here.
An introduction to the residency, by Lead Writer Michelle Mother Hubbard
“The Elder Tree writing residency at Gregory House, has been exciting and challenging.
Working with such a varied group of wonderful elders all keen to share their life experiences and stories brought the obvious dynamics of trying to ensure every participant had a voice and got an equal opportunity to be listened to, and to contribute during the sessions. This included managing the inevitable challenges of working with a group of elders, such as changes to the group each week due to prior health or social appointments, illness, loss, long term health decline, hearing/sight impairment, concentration/memory impairment, all of which needed accommodating for with a kind and gentle approach. This unavoidably affected group dynamics and timing of the sessions, and required flexibility and diplomacy, and the ability to think practically and creatively ‘in the moment’. Working with different staff members throughout the course of the project also required a respectful professional response to handling such dynamics. Importantly it required good ongoing communication, feedback, and co-operation which allowed the project to run smoothly.
Creative outputs were achieved via large and small group discussion, writing prompts, handling objects, sensory stimulation, and the exploration of familiar rhymes, songs, and sayings, plus a museum visit.
We started with blank paper, but soon found many themes and commonalities to explore! It’s harder than you think trying to ‘focus-in’ when there are so many amazing characters, with such wide rich tapestries of life, they could put the Bayeux Tapestry to shame!”
Thank you to:
All Gregory House Staff, particularly Anna the manager.
Staff and volunteers at Grantham Museum.
Last but not least, the amazing participants for allowing us to be custodian of their life stories and experiences.