On 15th November, Emily and Andrew led the second of our pilot workshops at the Unitarian Church in Shrewsbury. The group that took part in the walk in the previous week returned for mapping and collage, and a fun, creative afternoon was had by all.
We began with a recap on our walking experiences, reflecting on any further thoughts that had emerged.
There seemed to be a heightened awareness of the town’s transience, how the uses and nature of buildings changes, sometimes imperceptibly and sometimes more dramatically or controversially. We noted the ongoing works to develop university accommodation at the old Tannery site, and remembered its former uses by the Sixth Form college and various restaurants.
“The uniqueness of Shrewsbury is its abundance of visible links to its past history”
Much of the conversation revolved around our sense of place, and it was interesting that the majority of the group were visiting from outside of Shrewsbury, and most, if not all, of the group were not born in the town. Some of the group had lived in places as far away as Canada and Australia, so there were many different perspectives.
Given that all of us were in some way migrants, the significance of boundaries and cultural identity came into question.
There were readings of two more poems that had been completed since the last workshop.
As a way to help form ideas for the collage, the group split into three smaller groups for a short exercise in mapping the walk. Simple cartographic lines indicating our route and relevant streets were used as a starting point, and participants added their own diverse thoughts and memories on sticky notes or in little drawings.
Everyone made an individual collage in a square format that could then be combined to form a single collaborative grid of collages. We could start off the collage thinking about our “map” using lines of writing, or imagined lines of walking. The river formed a common thread too. There was quite a buzz of activity for the next couple of hours.
The conversations continued as we surveyed the finished work.
Here is a selection of finished collages:
It was a jolly atmosphere, and many commented they hoped the group could continue, perhaps with other walks. We hope so too.
“A really excellent time and the opportunity to talk and mix with like minded people.”
“I amazed myself at what I managed to achieve. Lovely encouraging tutors were much appreciated”