3 Tiny Stories About Art, Community & Storytelling For Better Mental Health
Updated: Apr 13
Today I would like to present to you 3 tiny Stories that originated on Instagram. They are observations, self-reflections about the people I meet in my daily life working with and within mine and others communities. People are like mirrors we can learn so much about ourselves by what we learn and admire in others. Tiny stories are also, sometimes just thoughts and ideas inspired by my own journey or the things I have experienced or witnessed in the world that create happiness and change.
Lancashire Encounter Festival A Tiny Story About Community Art
In my pursuit to answer the question 'What is Community and What matters most to people in their communities’, I find myself at the Lancashire Encounter Festival in Preston recently. Its an art thing, a community arts and engagement thing, and it is done very well. I love art but as it turns out through working with communities and individuals on my TeaTalks project so do many local people. When art is 'de-snobberized' and accessible for all to engage in it can have many magical properties for inspiring personal and social change. So we get stuck into all the lovely engaging activities, the lovely Victoria is quick as a shark to jump on a crafty table knocking up this festive decoration in ten minutes flat while me and Laura head over to messing with oil, water, inks and printing with the lovely Arts2Health. There are so many things for people to see, hear, watch and participate in both Inside and out of a very busy Harris Building beaming with joyful noises, happy people, chatter and cups of tea. Preston know better than most how to make art accessible
StoryWork With Sam Simpson Arts (A Reflective Tiny Story)
I have this little project I do on the side called StoryWork. Its a type of work, a model of working that massively transform how people, organisations or communities see and tell their story. It uses a combination of psychoanalytical processes and theory, mixed with asset-based community development (abcd) and story therapy together. It has the power to hit home and change a broken, anxious, sad story into a true authentic powerful story of strength and as a result unleashes creative thinking, self-determinism, self-actualization and optimism in the participant. Its therapy, reflective work both personal and professional development on steroids and a little acid. It's my own model, one I developed myself and it works it works really well. So much so it works much better and faster than the traditional way I was taught to deliver therapy and counselling.
Like I say it was a side project one I am genuinely proud off and after working with ‘Sam Simpson Art’ using it as a professional development tool for community arts projects, I realize this is something I should concentrate on more so thank you Sam for holding up a mirror to my psyche so I can now see just how valuable this process really is.
The Art Of StoryWork | A Tiny Story About A Day With An Old Friend
I caught up with an old friend recently. Paul. He gave up his afternoon to help me out and I bought him a cup of tea. We shared stories, thoughts and ideas and I laughed so hard about something I cannot say here. I am grateful for this, our conversation. It reminded me of what I believe is the key to being well, of bringing communities together or changing systems for the better, the art of meaningful conversation and story.
It is so easy to get caught up in the daily tick box of getting through life that we often forget the stuff, that the people we love, our friends, our colleagues, have been or are going through. That is not to say it is deliberate, its the pressure of life to some degree. Listening to Paul today reminded me of just how strong this guy really is inside. Without speaking for him, I can say last year was beyond what seems fair in life, tragedy after tragedy after tragedy. It would have broken any man, shattered any mountain, brought the world to its knees.
Many of us do not see how strong we really are, we only see how far we think we have yet to go, what still alludes us, what we yet have not achieved. Storytelling is like the rock at the side of a long winding road, it is what we can climb up on, to rest, on (what feels like) a Never Ending Journey, it is where we can stand and turn around, to be mesmerized by seeing just how far we have already come, how the darkest part of our life seems much further away than we thought.
It gives us a moment to change how we see ourselves & each other. It gives us sustenance & affirmation, story renews our faith, quantifies our resilience & empowers us to make it to the next turn in the road. Each rock, each story rewrites our old perception of our selves & our experiences in the world. Over time, something magical happens, we begin to be the rock for those on the road behind us. We are amazing humans at times.
I must apologise that Paul is a little blurry on this picture due to forgetting to change my camera's focus setting