A few years ago, I worked with a group of ladies who had taken part in a programme of workshops which developed their understanding of politics and generally boosted their self confidence and independence. The women who took part in the course were diverse - in age, cultural background and education - and amazing to work with! After they finished the course they decided they wanted to continue to explore women's issues and continue their journey which is the point at which I met them.
With my amazing artist friend, Sue Challis, we delivered a series of creative workshops and residencies - including taking the ladies to London to visit Tate Modern and other cultural institutions. The whole programme was an amazing experience - for them, and for me too. Back then I was just finding my participatory arts feet!
3 years later - they decided to have a reunion weekend where they revisited art making and learned some new skills and techniques. I was glad to be invited back to deliver some workshops with them, and loved how eager and attentive they were to the instructions!
It's an exciting time, but also an unsettled time for the group now. Everyone has moved on a lot in their lives - some of them are now mothers and some are grandmothers. Some ladies want to continue the group but they're not sure in what form. Some feel they don't have the time to commit. I'm curious as to whether they'll continue being creative - they have their own sketchbooks to take away from this and fill and it's up to them to make that choice to continue.