This week at Eachstep Blackley dementia support group, I was working with song writer Matt Hill. Our theme was Bonfire Night. Participants remembered building wooden structures on the croft, stockpiling rockets in biscuit tins, poking the bonfire to release floating embers and rotting your teeth with toffee apples and treacle. Matt compiled their memories into a two verse poem.

We then used pastels, dripping paint (blown with straws) and coloured sand (to add texture) to make fantastic firework pictures. Another fun-filled day!



The project that I manage – Coming in From the Cold (supporting BAME communities to record and archive their histories) – has been nominated for an award in the ‘Inspiring Innovation’ category. Winners announced on 9th November.

93369.13 Culture Award Finalist - GIF

I think I enjoy doing my four-year-old’s homework, much more than she does!


  Inspired by the banners

So was my daughter, Alice!

The British Textile Biennial is awesome. Please visit if you can.So far I’ve made it to Brierfield Mill (near Nelson) to see the vast display of banners (of all shapes, sizes, causes and eras) and Townley Hall to see an exhibition of cross stitch (old and new, painstaking and subversive). Both utterly fantastic and completely inspiring. Must see more before it’s too late…



I was delighted to receive my complimentary copy of ‘Participatory Archives’ in the post this morning. It features an article I co-authored with Hannah Niblett, on our experiences of working together in a community archives setting. Hannah left the AIU Race Relations Resource Centre earlier this year and I really miss her.


Inspired by conversations about the allotment, Lucy Pekr and I designed this week’s session at Eachstep Blackley around food, glorious food. In the morning we wrote a song about our favourite treats, as well as discussing memorable dishes, mealtimes and food related songs. We also did movement (inspired by participants’ love of dance) on the theme of ‘beans’ and ‘bananas’, before doing some sensory investigations into raw peas (delicious eaten straight from the pod) and dark chocolate.

After lunch we used real produce to produce a miniature ‘garden of delights’ before dismantling it to make prints from raw vegetables. At the end of a really fun and creative day I was delighted to hear one participant comment that ‘I’m 84 and I’ve never done anything like that before. It was really fun! I don’t know how you think of these things.’


This week at Eachstep Blackley, we took an imagined trip to the English coast. On the journey by coach we discussed associated sights (the Tower, the sea, the prom, the fair), sounds (a Wurlitzer organ, crashing waves, seagull cries), smells (salt water, vinegar, fish and chips), and songs (We’re Off in a Motor Car, Summer Holiday, You Are My Sunshine). We also discussed objects in a reminiscence box loaned from Gallery Oldham, including a kiss-me-quick hat, bucket and spade, pier show programme and illumination postcards. In the afternoon, participants made paper windmills; cutting, folding and pinning squares which they displayed in decorated tin cans. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…

windmills (1)