Spring to Life is co-ordinating a ‘Freedom to Live’ therapeutic activities programme with Freedom From Torture, West Midlands in 2018. The programme started off with an ‘Art for Wellbeing Calligraphy Workshop’ at Lightwoods House, Bearwood.
The session lasted for two hours and twelve or so participants took part (including two or three interpreters and the Freedom from Torture therapist Isabel). The session was held in a warm, light airy room. Being focused around a big central table, the session had something of the atmosphere of a shared meal enabling people to sit quietly focusing on their creative work or to join in with the various conversations that were sparked by the activity.
All the calligraphy ‘pieces’ were completely personal and unique and helped to generate stories and conversations very naturally. Even when verbal language ‘barriers’ exist communication through ‘making’ can be profound. During the morning people experimented with different calligraphy styles writing family names and inspirational texts in several different languages.
Participation in shared creative activities can be a valuable stepping stone towards building confidence and friendships. Whilst it is perfectly acceptable to work on artwork in silence, meaningful dialogue can start to gently unfold in the group too. Part way through the morning we enjoyed sharing refreshments from the Lightwoods House Café and then the group were keen to return to their calligraphic pieces. A gentle creative buzz continued right up until the time came for us to pack away for lunch.
Gillian Lever. March 2018