21.06.2019

The Other Island, a new project giving people living on the margins the opportunity to tell their stories

21.06.2019

The Other Island, a new project giving people living on the margins the opportunity to tell their stories

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Supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin, the project gives people living on the margins the opportunity to tell their stories – stories which usually go unheard.

The project organisers are looking to recruit around 10 participants who may be homeless or in insecure accommodation, living on very low incomes, managing health challenges including addiction, or dealing with challenges that others aren’t aware of.

From mid-July onwards, the participants will work with a team of facilitators in regular creative workshops over a period of three months. They will learn the skills they need to share their experiences in a range of ways, including storytelling, poetry, reportage, photography and video.

The work produced – which will be shared via a dedicated website and social media – will illustrate what life in the Island looks like from a different perspective and how sometimes, just a few twists and turns can result in drastically altered circumstances.

Cat Jenkins, Co-ordinator of The Other Island project, said,

‘We called the project The Other Island because it will reflect a very different Isle of Man. We want to build awareness of aspects of Manx culture that are largely invisible, and hopefully foster compassion and understanding. We’re sure the stories will give real, deeply felt insights into living with extreme challenges, and will reflect the resilience, humanity and humour of the participants. We know that creative expression can have a big impact on a person’s sense of agency and overall wellbeing, and the new skills the participants learn could serve them well in the future.’

The team of creative leads includes Veronique Mistiaen, an award-winning journalist with extensive experience of similar projects; Janet Lees, a poet and writing for wellbeing facilitator; Jack Bridson, a young videographer and proponent of mental health awareness; and Marianne McCourt, a highly experienced photographer and life coach.

The Other Island workshops will be based in Douglas and will generally take place every Wednesday between 11am and 3pm, with lunch provided. Participants will need to attend as many of the workshops as possible, and to do some work between sessions on their stories.

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