Making international connections during isolation
A new, year-long creative project is being launched to help people who are at risk of isolation connect with others through stories, music, photography and film.
Here’s Your Seat, led by Newcastle-based Skimstone Arts, is connecting people in the North East and the rest of the world, including communities in India and Portugal.
Claire Webster Saaremets, Artistic Director at Skimstone Arts, said: “As the pandemic has led to people across the globe being isolated in their homes, we wanted to help people to use their own creative and artistic skills to make new connections and still feel they have a valued place in the world.”
To take part in Here’s Your Seat, people are invited to choose an object that is special to them, share the story and take a photo of themselves with their object. The photos will become part of a larger artwork, bringing together contributions from people around the world.
“What’s special about Here’s Your Seat is that people can take part whether or not they have any experience of making art in the past. This is something that anyone of any age and background can be a part of,” said Claire. “People will take photographs of themselves from the shoulders down, so they can remain anonymous but at the same time be a part of something bigger, even from within their own homes.”
Community groups in Newcastle and East Durham will also be working with professional artists as part of Here’s Your Seat, using digital technology to work together remotely to create songs, poems and photography.
Film maker Arun Bose in Kerala, India, and Martin Dinis from Madam Teatro in Portugal, will replicate the sessions with their own local communities, with all the artworks being combined into one large piece, to be unveiled at the end of June.
Claire Webster Saaremets added: “Families in Byker have already been working with our artists to co-create songs, poems and photographs and now we want to invite more people, in Newcastle and across the UK, to join in and contribute to a collaborative work of art which we will reveal at a celebration safe distancing event.”
The first Here’s Your Seat celebration social distancing event will take place on Tuesday 30 June, 1-3pm outside St Michael’s Cross Café in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne.
The new artwork brings together photos, songs and stories created as part of Here’s Your Seat and will be projected from St Michael’s Cafe window in Byker (with social distancing measures in place).
We’ve been working with community police and the council to ensure that all safe social distancing procedures are in place. If you can’t view the projection in person, you’ll also be able to see the artwork online, on our Facebook and Twitter pages and website.