People watching

Grow Festival 2019 © Andy Eathorne

People watching

By Helen Willmott, Programme Director, Made With Many

Last month we launched You Must Stay At Home, a piece of new writing by Ryan Leder presenting stories from people experiencing homelessness in Wellingborough. The resulting publication doesn’t simply portray a single story, instead is a collection of mini-stories, thoughts, opinions and dreams, collected throughout the past year. It gives an important insight into the causes and effects of homelessness, but for me it was the personal nature of the content that was quite emotional and shows how catastrophic life events such as injuries and job losses can be. 

A couple of weeks later, I met with digital artist Jason Wilsher-Mills and saw the design for an exciting, but secretive, new sculpture he’s working on. His work is based around the experiences of adults with learning difficulties and over the past 4 years he’s been working with organisations across Corby, like Teamwork Trust, to inspire his creations. 

Both of these artists, and the local people they have been working with, remind us of the importance of local stories. These are the voices of people that we might not usually notice, people that we walk past on the street or sit behind on the bus nearly every day without a second glance. 

It’s why I love all of the competitive cooking and craft shows on TV, like Bake Off and the Pottery Throw Down. They show not only the hidden talents in our communities but also the personal stories behind them as we get to know the contestants week by week. We hear about what inspires them, the people and places they love and what their ordinary lives look like. It’s like the ultimate form of people-watching. 

And in all of those stories, we understand a bit more about each other, begin to appreciate the hardships that other people face and to celebrate each other’s skills, talents and dreams. 

You can download a copy of You Must Stay at Home or, if you live in Wellingborough, request your free copy to be sent by post.

Over the coming month, we’ll be announcing further details of our first in-person events in over a year. Follow us on the channels below for further details.

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