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Getting CreActive – Part 2 – Digital Storytelling And Visual Art

26 January 2022
Best Possible Future - Lena Said
Best Possible Future - Lena Said

Introduction

In my last Get CreActive blog I focussed on the use of the creative arts to reframe relationships with physical activity.  Physical activity is an important part of managing hip dysplasia but it can be challenging to be active, and trying new things can be anxiety filled. Through the Get CreActive project however we found that when we selected movement arts that were truly all-inclusive and demanded little from the participant, fuller embodied engagement could and did occur. Even those who were initially anxious or who were facing huge physical challenges, found, explored and enjoyed movement.

Although the Get CreActive project is focussed on physical activity, it soon became evident that being active was wrapped up in a broad range of experiences of being diagnosed with and living with hip dysplasia. The group had stories to tell, experiences to share, and those needed airing.

In this blog we talk about our engagement with two further creative artists – digital storyteller Lisa Heledd-Jones and visual artist Seth Oliver who aided the group in saying what they wanted to say.

Digital storytelling

We invited digital storyteller Lisa Heledd-Jones from StoryWorksUK to run a series of digital story workshops with the Get CreActive group. The aim was to help the group capture something about themselves or their lives, and work towards creating their own digital stories.

Lisa ran three workshops – working with up to 8 people per workshop. Devising a series of individual and collective tasks Lisa delivered a masterclass in creative language and the use of imagery.  Setting the group a task to write a 200 word piece, Lisa worked with each individual to craft a digital story from what they had written.

On two evenings in the summer, we gathered online for digital story screenings. Twenty stunning 2-3 minute stories were viewed by the group.  The essence of each story and the story telling devices used varied – with each offering up a key (and often shared) experience of living with hip dysplasia. Some stories focussed on a moment or a period of time which represented a key experience or part of the hip dysplasia journey for that person.  Others focussed on a key issue they had experienced – such as the challenges of delayed and lengthy diagnostic journeys, surgeries or post-surgical recovery.  Some used key objects as storytelling devices and told their story from different perspectives.

The full suite of the Get CreActive stories are a stunning collection – collectively giving any viewer a poignant insight into the lives and journeys of people with hip dysplasia.  You can watch one of the stories below.  All Get CreActive digital stories will be made available on our forthcoming website.  Look out for announcements in blogs here and follow us on twitter.

Watch a video now

In the summer of 2021, the Get CreActive group were 6 months into a packed programme of online engagement with one another and a range of artists. Needing a moment to breathe and take stock of the project thus far, we invited visual artist Seth Oliver from FizziEvents to run an online visual art session.

Ahead of the session Seth posted out a set of session materials to each member of the group.  The delivery included paper, inks, pastels etc.  We met Seth online for 3 hours – which began with the unloading of our deliveries and spreading out our materials on the table.  Seth introduced some basic symbols (Circle = wholeness, Rectangle = support, Triangle = goal, Spiral = change, Star Person = relationship) and got the group making marks using these symbols.

 

After our initial mark making, the session moved to focus on exploring challenges and potential for change. The group were encouraged to reflect and work towards the construction of pieces reflecting 1. The Present state, 2. a Present future (a future based on no radical change) and 3. An imagined future (the ideal future if all positive actions were taken and effects achieved). A selection of images from the afternoon’s session are shown below.

 

Best Possible Future – Lena Said

 

Imagined Future – Sally Truman –2

Reflection

Each of the creative activities included in the Get CreActive project were selected with a clear purpose – to act as a medium to express or capture an experience or as a device to stimulate movement and physicality.  Each of the activities brought with them their own anxieties and their own triumphs.  Through the groups engagement with the creative arts, they have been able to tell their own stories, reflect on their experiences, their own challenges and triumphs, try new embodied activities and share what they have learned with others.  Their engagement now forms a library of materials which are being used to build a supportive website to help other people with hip dysplasia be CreActive! In the final forthcoming Get CreActive blog we share key research priorities developed by the group and share with you our new Get CreActive website.