Cultural Connexions & Creative Wellbeing

Cultural Connexions

Cultural Connexions is a project to bring people of different ages and backgrounds together, supporting growth of new friendships.

This project is delivered in partnership with Ashford Place and supported with a Culture Seeds grant.

Cultural Connections is based at Ashford Place, Cricklewood with delivery spanning September 2018- June 2019. Larger public events  has taken place to mark significant celebrations during this period, such as World Commonwealth day in March 2019.

Participants in this project  take part in a range of weekly creative activity, including African drumming sessions, pottery classes, creative writing and textile crafts. Through these activities stories have been shared and art forms and techniques from different cultures have been explored. This  has helped  to breakdown barriers, enhance understanding and promote stronger relationships with in the community. From this, new friendships have evolved.

The project has launched with a weekly provision of African drumming over September 2018 with 17 participants taking part, including attendees of the Ashford Place Well-being group.

September 2018: African Drumming and Movement

During the African Drumming sessions participants were introduced to the drums and the different ways of playing them. As sessions progressed and their confidence grew, they were encouraged to move to the rhythm and explore beaters and traditional African chants to develop the performance.

Conversation about where in Africa, generated general discussion on people’s backgrounds and heritage, as well as discussing some traditional customs of Africa.  As a result many personal exchanges were shared amongst the group and they’ve enjoyed the chance to get to know each other.

As trust and skills increased, the group played together performing separate parts that combined to create impressive rhythm. Dance and movement was enjoyed as we moved to the collective beat and celebrated all we had learnt during these workshops.

Participant feedback included:

It’s very good therapy – for the person themselves.”

“Feel good, feel alive!”

“I would just like to say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”

(When asked what was gained from attending this workshop) “Company.”

October 2018: Black History Month: African – Inspired Pottery

Over October 2018, weekly pottery classes are being delivered at Ashford Place. Participants are learning the basic techniques of pinch pot and coil pot making, before exploring adding decorative details, inspired by African pattern.

Participant feedback included:

“Everything was extremely enjoyable”

“A gained an insight into experimenting with clay”

(when asked what they would have done had they not attended the session) “I would have stayed at home”

November 2018: Heritage Wall Hanging –
Collaborative Project

This activity focused on the collaborative creation of a heritage themed patchwork wall hanging, exploring flags and maps. These sessions were a real exploration into the vibrant make up of Ashford’s Place clients, looking at their identity and heritage.

Each week the participants used mixed media to build up their patch work surface. It was then sewn together to create a beautiful patchwork that will go display in Ashford Place.

Participant feedback included:
“Nice and Inclusive”
“Looking forward to the next one.”
“I’ve gained knowledge of other people’s countries.”
“This keeps you occupied.”
“Very therapeutic.”
“I learnt how to embroider.”
“I’m showing people my heritage.”
“I’ve really enjoyed you being my tutor.”
“This has been really enjoyable.”

January 2019: Experimental Drawing Workshops

From Still Life drawing, to learning the basics when drawing hands and faces, each week participants were given classes on experimental drawing, improving their drawing skills and improving their confidence in their ability.

February 2019: Interpreting Poetry Workshops

Each week Poetry selected from Ashford Place’s Creative Writing group was used as inspiration and interpreted to create a piece of work. Emotion and imagery was explored, participants were encouraged to work freely, exploring their imaginative thoughts conjured from the Poetry.

March 2019: Commonwealth Event & Workshops

The purpose of this event was to connect the Community of Ashford Place with the wider community, allowing new connections to be established and strengthen existing ones. The event was opened with a speech from Cllr Tariq Dar, and from a Mayor of London Culture Seeds Officer.

There were multiple events and workshops throughout the day. With a special themed lunch inspired by Caribbean cuisine.

Traditional African Folklore storytelling was a popular workshop, with the facilitator captivating the audience, with an interactive story. Steel drums played between activities, providing musical entertain and sing along opportunities.

The event was well attended with over 50 attendees.

May 2019: Introduction to Printmaking

Cultural Connexions Project Finale: African Drumming Workshop

Finishing the project as we started… On Thursday 30th May, there will be and African Drumming Workshop, celebrating the end of the Cultural Connexions project.