Having worked extensively with people with dementia for many years, in 2016 I was involved as composer in a Turtle Song project with Turtle Key Arts. It took place in Wolverhampton and was one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever done. Turtle Song are celebrating their 10th Anniversary and have shared a video of one song from each of the projects on their website. Do click the link to see the wonderful work they do. Our song, Breakfast Blues, is here: https://vimeo.com/256636243
Suitcase Stories 2
I have just started work on a new project, as you will know if you read my recent blog post Grandma’s little box. Suitcase Stories 2 is an 18 month reminiscence and music project for people living with dementia and their carers in the Wyre Forest, Redditch, Bromsgrove and Wychavon districts running from November 2018 to March 2020.
Fortnightly music and reminiscence sessions will run on Mondays at The Museum of Carpet from 10.30am to 12.30pm and Forge Mill museum from 2.30pm-4.30pm and Fridays at Wallace House, Community Centre in Evesham from 10.30am to 12.30pm for just £2.50 per person. I will be kicking things off with Museums Worcestershire staff supporting with their handling objects.
There will also be monthly music workshops/performances in Bromsgrove on the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 1.30pm to 2.45pm just £2.50 per person.
This project is generously funded by Arts Council England, Elmley Foundation, Bransford Trust, Wyre Forest District Council, Redditch Borough Council, Bromsgrove District Council, Worcestershire County Council, John Martins Trust, Wychavon District Council and Museums Worcestershire.
If you want further information and to book contact Jenny Davis, Project Manager from Arts Uplift CIC firstname.lastname@example.org 07946 585978
I started work on a new project yesterday. Organised by Arts Uplift under the title Suitcase Stories, it’s an 18 month reminiscence and music project for people living with dementia and their carers in the Wyre Forest, Redditch, Bromsgrove and Wychavon districts running from November 2018 to March 2020.
Yesterday we held a taster session in Redditch, singing familiar songs and looking at objects from a suitcase containing all sorts of things to trigger memories as a starting point for conversation and songwriting. Here are some lines I wrote using what one of the participants told me:
Grandma’s little slipper-shaped box
I’d never seen her take it before,
so it came as quite a shock
the day I saw my grandma
open up her little box,
pinch out the yellow powder
and push it up her nose
then try to hide her fingers
behind the dominoes.
Her handkerchiefs were horrible –
stained by that yellow stuff
but the little box was beautiful,
filled with grandma’s snuff.
© Heather Wastie
Here is a link to more information about the project. There are places available, should you know of anyone who may be interested, and there’s a mentoring opportunity for music students too.
Tonight I’ll be performing in Malvern with four other Worcestershire Poets Laureate. Happy National Poetry Day!
It’s true, I did waffle. Perhaps using that word in a press interview wasn’t a great idea, but it made me laugh afterwards. And yes, I’ve milked it for all it’s worth and refer to it in the last line of my poem below which I hope you enjoy. The article doesn’t mention Worcestershire LitFest so here’s a link to their website http://worcslitfest.co.uk/. Here’s to the next twelve months!
Poet laureate’s promise
For a whole year
is poetically mine!
I could strut sonnets in Stourport
Hand out haikus in Hartlebury
Tinker with triolets in Tenbury Wells
Swan through Kidderminster kicking kennings
Conjure couplets in Cookley
Polish pantoums in Pershore
Dig up doggerel in Droitwich
Blurt out blank verse in Bewdley
and bawl ballads in Bromsgrove
Exclaim elegies in Evesham
Forage for free verse in Fairfield
Offer odes in Ombersley
Recite rondeaux in Redditch
Initiate idylls in Inkberrow
Lurk with limericks in Lickey …
My stanzas could spring up anywhere;
there’ll be a poetic kerfuffle.
And one thing I promise the Worcestershire folk:
my poems will never be waffle.
© Heather Wastie
This post is all about loss.
I recently came across a site called I am not a silent poet which “welcomes quality poems of protest. ….. looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms.” Yesterday Reuben Woolley, who set up the site, accepted one of my poems which you can read here.
There are lots of other poems up there to be explored, though of course it’s not exactly light reading.
Last Saturday, National Libraries Day, there was a rally to show support for the Library of Birmingham and to protest against proposed cuts to this new award-winning facility. Here’s an extract from a speech made by Benjamin Zephaniah on the day: “This library is a great example of how to invest in the intellectual and cultural life of the people of Birmingham. Its opening filled me with pride. I was telling my friends all over the world that Birmingham was the place to be, but in a very short time I have gone from pride to fear. I fear that cuts to this library will signal the beginning of the end for this wonderful place.” For more information about the campaign visit https://birminghamlibrariescampaigns.wordpress.com/
I am lines
on a sepia page
dots on eyes
tear me out
and shed my tears
leave my print
where ink has worn
© Heather Wastie
So much of our cultural and artistic life has suffered from severe cuts over the past few years. Now the Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove (so much more than just a theatre) has been asked to prove its worth before the council agrees to fund it. A Facebook page has been set up to gather information and garner support. To find out more, show support and add your voice see https://www.facebook.com/pages/What-Does-the-Artrix-Bromsgrove-Mean-to-Its-Community/1626825630872017?fref=ts My comments are already up there.
For an indication of how much has already been lost in the arts take a look at http://www.lost-arts.org/. If you believe, like I do, in the importance of investment in culture and the arts, please consider this when deciding who to vote for in the election.