Another postscript to Assignment Two

I had an email today from the Director of Artscape in whose gallery the ‘Memories’ project is currently hanging. it read:

Good afternoon Tom

I work at the Highfield Unit and used to have regular walks along the Warneford corridor to reach the canteen – I was always impressed by the artscape work, but never fed this back to anyone. Since our unit has moved to a new building on the Warneford site I don’t walk the length of the corridor any more – however today I had a meeting further into the building and was really taken by the recent ‘memories’ project. Please will you let the people who took part know how impressive it is, and how very moving it was so see the things people had chosen. As a family therapist I never cease to be in awe of how amazing families are!

Thank you very much,



Family and Systemic Psychotherapist

I thought it was nice.

Assignment 2 – memories project

Outside the Fusion Arts centre today, these flags have been designed and hung as part of the community coming together to try and raise funds to keep the centre going. The wind blew them hither and thither rather beautifully.

Today I presented the group with their A2 prints that told their stories. Ten photomontages each with a singular narrative, all very personal to the ‘user’. I have been nervous as to how these would be received, the ‘users’ were very involved with the editing – as part of the project I wanted the ‘users’ to provide the edit, under my guidance, of an aspect of ‘them’.

Leaving aside the artistic endeavours, the response was much, much better than I could have hoped for. I asked each of the ‘users’ to present/talk about their piece and I was nervous as to whether the audience would ‘tune-in’ to the work, but I was very pleased that most of the time the room was very concentrated when the work was being presented. There were lots of questions from the floor as to the nature of the work, questions regarding background information to images that had been incorporated and follow questions about the consequences of the activities in the shots. There were two different ‘users’ who had royalty pictured with them; Peter with the Queen and Graham and Angela had a picture with Camilla Parker-Bowles. There were lost of historical images nineteenth century images coupled with contemporary ones that gave a wide ranging view. Student photographs and University graduation certificates, work pictures and holiday shots (lots of holiday shots). However it was the conversation that both inspired me and impressed the clinical staff as it provided ample evidence of engagement. The staff are already talking about doing something similar in the near future, maybe two or three projects time, as they felt it was such a success. I am mightily relieved, happy and looking forward to not having to do this for a while or more.

I will write up this project as an assignment report, hand it, together with a disc of the images to my tutor shortly. The only image I can show is one of John, who is a full time carer for his wife and had asked me to interpret his idea of a self portrait for him. I wanted John to present this image last and, I have to say, this was received extremely well, indeed I got an ovation from all the ‘users’, which I found rather humbling.

John, self portrait

John, self portrait

This is the third attempt to get it right. The blending of the constructed bookshelf and the portrait was the issue that I wrestled with most, in the end I left it as a ‘normal’ blend and set the opacity to suit the image. The position of John’s left eye just punctures the picture a little. It was interesting that without explanation some of the ‘users’ ‘got-it’straight away, but most needed to be a little away from the A2 sized print.