The Sycamore Court Art for Wellbeing Group met together for three two hour ‘Unremembered Wreath’ sessions with Spring to Life artist Gillian Lever. The Art for Wellbeing group at Sycamore Court established by Sarah Blackstock (Witton Lodge Community Association Health and Wellbeing Manager www.wittonlodge.org.uk) aims to minimise the impact of a range of health issues for participating Sycamore Court residents and a number of other local people.
The first of the three ‘Unremembered Wreath’ sessions included conversation, research and the sharing of fascinating family stories about the men and women from the many lands across the Commonwealth who contributed to the war effort as workers one hundred years ago.
Many of these men and women died without recognition. The Big Ideas Company (www.big-ideas.org) provided some interesting resources for this first session and group members also fed into it with information about family members whose contributions weren’t acknowledged. The Big Ideas Company is an agency which develops and delivers projects for public participation. They specialise in projects which bring groups together and create new experiences and relationships.
As well as talking and researching the group were keen to pitch in straight away with practical ideas and as part of the first session they made ‘mini wreaths’ and then sketched out ideas for the bigger wreaths that they wanted to create for the challenge. All the group members were very committed to the project and came up with some striking and creative ideas. The second and third sessions were action packed with all group members focusing in on the task in hand but also feeling energised by the team effort and banter. Experimenting with art materials can often enable people to find new ways to express themselves and to tell their stories. This was certainly the case with ‘The Unremembered Wreath Challenge’. The group was so enthusiastic about the project that they decided to continue meeting by themselves and they have designed and produced three wreaths which they are hoping will be selected for a National ‘Unremembered Wreath Challenge’ event organised by The Big Ideas Company.
The event exhibiting their wreaths and those made by a number of other groups from around the country took place on the 17th of May at the National Army Museum in London. During the event there were performances and speeches by artists and performers from Commonwealth countries where some of the unremembered veterans came from.