There’s a great big blanket assumption that artists are teachers, that poets are performers and that people who return to Memory Lane are story-tellers.
Someone does a piece of art then another wants them to run workshops. Someone writes poems and it’s assumed they want to read them out loud and even perform in front of a microphone.
A person may go along to a reminiscence session then be expected to tell their life story. They might have preferred to soak up shared memories and not become a public speaker. In one generation and in another culture the speaking platform is reserved for the older man anyway.
Now is the season of the E17 Art Trail, a seemingly white middle-class adventure ‘nothing to do with the horrid gentrification of Walthamstow because the Art Trail was here first.’ Hmm. The Leyton people I know have no idea that such an annual fortnightly event is going on over the parish boundary. The senior sisters at the mosque are too busy babysitting and tell each other “It’s not for us”. The Facebook page is full of whiteness. What’s to be done?
For myself, I’ll trundle around soaking up the art and searching out the artists who will run free workshops for Up Your Street seniors. The lottery-funded ‘Step Up’ starts at The Mill with free art workshops, the first given by a celebrated sculptor. And shortly the William Morris Gallery will put on free art workshops for older people to alleviate their loneliness. Do we come in with Dial-A-Ride?
Hackney continues as host to reminiscence projects so don’t come as a shy senior because you will be filmed and quoted. The Learning Trust there is holding a day event at The Hackney Picturehouse but you have to book. Good luck with that because the phone operators play loop the loop. At the Open School East in deeper Hackney there’s a filming project about memories of buildings in the Borough.
In Waltham Forest there’s……..