Sarah Trevillion, one of Storylines three Directors, shares with us their Kemeneth project and how they have adapted their approach during the pandemic.
With Covid-19 we have all had to adapt and restructure our lives. Storylines has been no different, so instead of doing face-to-face oral histories and intimate creative workshops to gather stories, Storylines have found new ways of working with people remotely. Inspired by stories of communities pulling together and with thanks to Re-Ignition funding from FEAST and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, Storylines launched the Kemeneth Project.
Since Spring 2020 ‘Kemeneth’ (Cornish for community) has been corresponding with people by post, phone and online to gather and share personal stories that explore and celebrate community. Storylines wanted to capture stories of kindness, cooperation, tradition and belonging; providing people with prompts to help them celebrate and remember the positive ways that communities pull together, past and present, and reflect on what we’re now all going through and what we want for our communities in the future.
Over autumn/winter 2020, volunteers delivered 100 free story-sharing packs to people in Sennen and the Clay Country to help them share their memories, experiences and reflections of their communities. Drawing upon their experience of supporting people to share their stories, Storylines devised these packs to include a range of activities, prompts and resources that offered different ways for people to contribute. For some this meant quick responses to questions and prompts, for others it was a longer piece of writing, a creative response or a good old reminisce over the phone.
As well as providing opportunities for those who are more isolated to contribute, Storylines collaborated with PK Porthcurno to provide year 2, 3 and 4 children at Sennen school with their own special packs. Inspired by the uniformed Messenger Boys, who delivered telegrams by bicycle or foot, children will become ‘Messengers,’ sharing their own stories and collecting stories from their families and friends. Children explored themes such as belonging, Covid-19, kindness, community, communication and connection, producing some wonderful responses, a selection of which shared through this short film. You can see it here: https://vimeo.com/502573809
Storylines are currently working on a community book to bring together responses to the Clay Country packs, as well as a series of digital stories and keepsakes for others involved.
This past year has been a challenging one to say the least and it’s so important to process what we’re going through, reflect together and share our stories. Whatever our age, we are all impacted by the pandemic and one of the kindest things we can do for each other is simply listen.
We are very grateful for Feast for funding this project when it was a seed of an idea and for their ongoing support and understanding.
Storylines is a Community Interest Company, which runs creative projects, workshops and events that use the common language of story to bring people together to share, celebrate, learn and connect. Digital storytelling is at the heart of much of our work, providing a fantastic way to celebrate and share personal stories.
Storylines supports people, organisations and communities to unearth and share their own stories through bespoke story projects, digital storytelling, education, oral history, workshops, interpretation, training and consultancy.
Our projects help foster new relationships between people of all ages, building stronger, more resilient communities. Storylines provides opportunities to address the ever growing isolation and loneliness of many older people by providing friendship, support, and raising self-esteem. We are particularly interested in the benefits of intergenerational exchanges.