01.10.2019

Final Workshop Session

01.10.2019

Final Workshop Session

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On 24 September 2019, we held our final workshop.

On 24 September 2019, we held our final workshop. The 2019 group of Islanders have completed 10 (often fairly intensive) sessions, and done lots of work in their own time too. We’ve been recalling and shaping our stories, and finding ways to illustrate them through short vignettes; we’ve also explored creative writing, photography, music and video.

In some cases, it’s been quite emotional; people have been courageous in telling of their experiences, and it’s been lovely to see how generous they’ve also been in supporting one another.

The Other Island was inspired, in part, by the need to help others understand a little of what it’s like to have certain struggles; otherwise, it’s all too easy for us to be oblivious to problems like poverty, mental health problems and isolation. Sometimes folk can be judgmental, or blame people for having brought on their own problems. I’d wondered at the outset if this would be an issue for The Other Island. After all, we had a group with very different challenges – some had coped with homelessness, some had suffered very difficult childhoods, or were battling financially to stay warm and fed, and several had one or more mental health problems. Would we find the same ‘othering’ within our group?

In the event, it was a revelation; our members listened to one another respectfully, and spoke supportively and with genuine curiosity about how it is to deal with these things day to day. They showed a level of compassion, patience and understanding that sometimes seems lacking in our wider community and institutions. Perhaps there’s something in that experience of long-term struggle, that breeds the humility and vulnerability to let us connect with one another on a truly human, and humane, level….if so, then let’s hope for more openness and honesty when speaking of these things, and more kindness and compassion when hearing about them.

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