Attenborough Arts Centre – Leicester

Location: Leicester

Partners: Leicester Ageing Together, University of Leicester Health Matters (Edith Murphy Foundation) Museum Development East Midlands

Lead Writer: Francois Matarasso

Shadow Writer: Sabrina Mei Smith

Museum visit: Newarke Museum, Leicester.

Sessions took place between February and April 2019.

Participants worked towards producing a book called I Remember: Leicester.

(download PDF here)

The Elder Tree at Attenborough Arts
The Elder Tree’s first residency took place at the Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester in January 2019.  Following exploratory meetings with five older-people focused community groups, a subsequent 10 weeks of creative writing sessions were delivered, by the internationally acclaimed community artist, writer and researcher François Matarasso – supported by Sabrina Mei Smith.

Inspired by Joe Brainard’s I Remember, the group recalled their own memories of life in the Midlands, India, Kenya and other places too.  Much of the work within the sessions involved talking and listening to each other, with one memory sparking another.  The work was then collated and edited into a publication, I Remember: Leicester, through which the Elder Tree participants invite you to hear their stories.  Their memories are unique, personal and even intimate.  They are part of each writer.  Their collective story of resilience and wonder echoes with reminders of how much we share in our differences.

‘This book is a wonderful example of the power of so-called ‘ordinary’ memories; these glimpses of a past become extraordinary and moving and glowing with art when they are written down and presented alongside each other.  Here are stories that are personal and local but which become universal when they’re shared.  Read and enjoy…then have a go yourself!’ – Ian McMillan, Writer and radio presenter

You can download a PDF of the publication by clicking here.

This residency has been supported by a number of partner agencies, including Leicester Ageing Together, who kindly promoted the opportunity to be involved to the many people engaged across their networks. Both book and project have been funded by Arts Council England and The Baring Foundation through the Celebrating Age Fund and additionally supported in Leicester by the University of Leicester’s Health Matters – thanks to the generosity of the Edith Murphy Foundation.