Elements Festival at Dove Cottage 15

[Press Release] Cumbria’s Literary Greats Inspire New Writing by Older People

Press Release

For immediate release                                     13 October, 2016

 

Cumbria’s Literary Greats Inspire New Writing by Older People

Elements festival welcomes the public to hear readings and to meet experts on the Wordsworths and Norman Nicholson

A series of special events is taking place across Cumbria where audiences can hear new writing inspired by the county’s remarkable literary heritage.

Two will include talks by special guests who are experts on the Wordsworths and the poems of Norman Nicholson and a third will include a special movie screening.

The events are part of the new Elements festival, which takes place all this month and is a celebration of age and diversity.

The writers are older people from the Copeland area who have been taking part in the West Lakes Writers’ Residency led by renowned poet Pascale Petit – who will also be reading her own new work at the events.

They have worked in collaboration with a number of organisations including the Wordsworth Trust at Grasmere.

Pascale said: “This has been a tremendous project and has helped people discover abilities as writers that many never knew they had.

“The county, its countryside and people have inspired many different forms of writing – including poetry, novels, children’s stories and also the glorious descriptive guidebooks of Alfred Wainwright.

“It has been wonderful to learn more about the enormous literary heritage of Cumbria and we are really looking forward to sharing the new writing we have created with the public – and to introduce them to some of the special guests who are coming along.”

The West Lakes Writers Residency included six workshops at the Florence Arts Centre, Egremont.

There were also study trips to locations relevant to poet Norman Nicholson, to the archive of painter and prolific letter writer Percy Kelly, and to the north Lakes where Sir Hugh Walpole set his celebrated Herries Chronicles. The group also saw some of the stunning locations illustrated in Alfred Wainwright’s guidebooks.

The visit to Dove Cottage involved a session in the Jerwood Centre with Curator Jeff Cowton who talked about the lives and times of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. He revealed how much some of the poems were a combined effort and went through many drafts before finally being published.

Susan Allen, Community Outreach Officer for the Wordsworth Trust said: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Pascale and members of the West Lakes Writers Workshop to Grasmere.

“Spending time with the group in Dove Cottage, where William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived during the poet’s most creative years and where his sister wrote her remarkable Journals, was inspirational.

“We were also able to explore the garden they created together and look out on the views which formed the backdrop to their everyday lives and writing in the early 1800s.

“Looking at manuscripts in the reading room with Jeff we all had the opportunity to see how Wordsworth approached his writing and the conversations prompted by this were fascinating.

“We are really looking forward to hearing some of the writing which Pascale and members of the group have produced over these past weeks and hope that as many people as possible will be able to join us on the evening of 20 October.”

The West Lakes Writers Residency was set up for over 60s in Copeland and is supported by Arts Council England and Copeland Community Fund. Other partners include Age UK West Cumbria, the Beacon Museum and the Cumbria library service.

A publication will also be launched towards the end of the festival.

Tonia Lu, Elements festival producer, added: “Elements is all about celebrating older people and giving everyone the chance to enjoy and be involved in high-quality arts, whether it’s literature, film or photography and the residency has certainly achieved that.

“It’s fantastic to be able to bring together a group of older people to create new work and then share this with the public, along with fresh work by a poet of the stature of Pascale.

“Cumbria, and Copeland in particular, have a rapidly growing older population and face growing demands for health and social care. These are some of the least well catered for groups in our community and the residency has been a way to enhance lives with creative and enjoyable activities.”

Readings

Pascale Petit and participants present their new writing at a series of events, some with special guests and screenings:

  • With Neil Curry, poet and editor of Norman Nicholson’s Collected Poems. The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven. Wednesday 19 Oct, 7pm.
  • Joined by Jeff Cowton, Curator of The Wordsworth Trust. Jerwood Centre, Dove Cottage, Grasmere. Thursday 20 Oct, 7pm.
  • Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, Sunday 23 Oct, 2pm.
  • The Bradbury Centre, St George’s Road, Millom. Monday, 24 October, 7pm.
  • Followed by screening of
Salma – documentary about
an extraordinary woman who becomes an activist, politician and poet. Florence Arts Centre, Egremont. Tuesday, 25 October, 6pm.

 

Meet the writers

Meet Pascale and some of the participants and hear about their experiences at the following drop-in sessions.

  • Whitehaven Library, 2-4pm, Wednesday 19 Oct.
  • Millom Library, 2-4pm, Monday 24 Oct.
  • Egremont Libray, 2-4pm, Tuesday 25 Oct.

 

– Ends –

About the writing programme

 

About Pascale Petit

  • Pascale Petit is of French, Welsh and Pakistani heritage. She has published six previous collections, four of which have been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
  • Her seventh poetry collection Mama Amazonica will be published in September 2017.
  • Pascale is the recipient of a 2015 Cholmondeley Award and was the chair of the judges for the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize.
  • She was Poetry Editor of Poetry London from 1989 to 2005 and is a co-founding tutor of The Poetry School. She taught popular poetry courses at Tate Modern for nine years.

 

About Elements

  • Elements is a legacy of CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria project.
  • Elements is organised by OutREACH Cumbria, with partners across Cumbria.
  • The festival is funded by Arts Council England, Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria. Community Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • It involves a variety of partners such as Age UK West Cumbria, Florence Arts Centre and the Wordsworth Trust.

 

About CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria

  • CELEBRATE is the first project to explore and uncover the living history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community in Cumbria.
  • CELEBRATE is a partnership project between OutREACH Cumbria and Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • You can contact Tonia on 07956 336872 or by emailing tonial@outreachcumbria.co.uk
  • The website is at www.celebratecumbria.co.uk.

 

About the Wordsworth Trust, Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere

  • If any community groups would like to visit Dove Cottage or to know more about the Trust’s outreach programme (including talks about the Wordsworths, pop-up poetry sessions and What are Words Worth shared reading groups for people living with dementia, their friends and families) contact Susan at the Wordsworth Trust on 015394 35544 or by emailing s.allen@wordsworth.org.uk
  • The website is at www.wordsworth.org.uk

 

[Press Coverage] Festival celebrating diversity to bring cultural highlights to Cumbria

North West Evening Mail

4 October 2016 1:45PM

A FESTIVAL celebrating age and diversity has been launched, with activities and events planned over the course of October.

Elements got under way at the weekend and promises to bring exciting culture to venues across the county.

 

The month-long festival focuses on the achievements, joys, needs and interests of mature people from minority backgrounds.

It will feature film, photography, history and literature, with movies and documentaries that often don’t make it to cinemas to be shown at various locations.

Tonia Lu, festival producer, said the idea behind the event was to bring communities together.

She said: “There is a really inspiring choice of films, many of them rarely seen outside big city arthouse cinemas, including some truly life-affirming tales about remarkable people from all around the world.

“One of the big attractions of the film programme is that some of the screenings include the chance to hear from the panelists who chose them – all remarkable women in their own rights.”

 At the launch of Elements - (L-R) Pascale Petit and Adele Patrick.

At the launch of Elements – (L-R) Pascale Petit and Adele Patrick.

Adele Patrick, co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library, was among three panelists invited to select the festival movies.

She said: “It’s great that Cumbria is having a festival like this – something that highlights and celebrates the unseen stories and the lives of older people from many backgrounds.”

Film/theatre list

Films to be shown locally over the next two weeks include Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, which tells the story of a lesbian couple who finally get married after 42 years, and The Last Farewell, a portrait of an author’s sorrow over the death of his late husband.

The Forum in Duke Street, Barrow, will broadcast both films on Friday October 14 from 7pm, plus a talk from Lindsay River, LGBT adviser for Age UK and former director of the Polari organisation for older LGBT people.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal will also play an offbeat love story called Love, Lies and Taxidermythis Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then 1972: The Future of Sex on Wednesday October 12, with tickets available for all sessions.

All films will be shown with subtitles and sign language assistance will be available at talks and discussions.

About the concept

This year is the pilot year of Elements and the project is being delivered and managed by a small production team with support from OutREACH Cumbria – the most established LGBT charity in the county.

Elements has been funded by Arts Council England, Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria. Community Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund.

It involves a variety of partners such as Age UK West Cumbria, Florence Arts Centre and the Wordsworth Trust.

Other highlights of the festival include readings of writings by a group of Copeland residents all over the age of 60 and Pascale Petit, a renowned poet.

This free event will take place at The Bradbury Centre in St George’s Road, Millom, on Monday October 24 from 7pm, and at Dove Cottage in Grasmere on Thursday October 20 at 7pm.

For more details of the programme and events outside south Cumbria, click here.

[Press Release] Movies to Enjoy as Elements Festival Launches in Cumbria

For immediate release                                  3 October, 2016

 

Movies to Enjoy as Elements Festival Launches in Cumbria

The UK’s first month-long celebration of diversity and old age

Elements, the UK’s first high-quality arts festival celebrating age and diversity, is underway following the weekend’s launch event in Penrith.

The month-long festival emphasises on the achievements, joys, needs and interests of mature people from minority backgrounds.

Saturday’s launch at The Old Fire Station, Penrith, included conversation and poetry with writer in residence Pascale Petit and Adele Patrick, co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library, who is among three panelists invited to select the festival movies.

This was followed by a screening of one of her choices, Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement.

Adele said: “It’s great that Cumbria is having a festival like this – something that highlights and celebrates the unseen stories and the lives of older people from many backgrounds.”

The Elements core programme features film, photography, history and literature and the festival also embraces a host of associated events all across the county. The films are an opportunity to see superb work that often doesn’t make it to cinemas in rural areas like Cumbria and to hear some fascinating speakers (see below).

Tonia Lu, Festival Producer, said: “There is a really inspiring choice of films, many of them rarely seen outside big city art house cinemas, including some truly life affirming tales about remarkable people from all around the world.

“The audience for the first showing of Edie and Thea was just so enthusiastic and really appreciated the chance to hear our guest speakers and chat to them afterwards.

“One of the big attractions of the film programme is that some of the screenings include the chance to hear from the panelists who chose them – all remarkable women in their own rights.”

The panelists are:

  • Ruth Gould, Director of DaDaFest, one of the most cutting edge disability arts organisations in the UK.
  • Adele Patrick, Co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library, a creative space and information and support hub for women of all backgrounds.
  • Lindsay River, LGBT advisor for Age UK and former Director of the Polari organisation for older LGBT people.

Films and venues over the next two weeks include:

Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement. After 42 years, feisty and delightful lesbian couple Edie and Thea finally get married. From the early 60s onwards, the tireless community activists persevere through many battles, both personal and political.

  • Tullie House, Carlisle, 7 Oct, 7pm – plus talk with Adele Patrick
  • The Forum, Barrow-in-Furness, 14 Oct, 7pm

Love is Strange: After Ben and George get married, George is fired from his teaching post, forcing them to stay with friends separately while they sell their place and look for cheaper housing — a situation 
that weighs heavily on all involved.

  • Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, 9 Oct, 3pm

Margarita with a Straw: A rebellious young woman with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to
study in New York. She unexpectedly falls in love, and embarks on an exhilarating journey of self- discovery.

  • Penrith Old Fire Station 7 Oct, 7.30pm

 

The Tribe: A deaf mute boy joins a boarding school for similar children. Confronted by the violent and criminal antics of some of the other boys and girls, he struggles to conform and join the ‘tribe’.

  • Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, 16 Oct, 3pm (double bill with Annie Dearest) – plus talk with Ruth Gould

Blueprint for Change: Young DaDa worked with a group of young disabled and deaf people who made a short film about the barriers they face in attending youth projects. The film was devised, filmed, edited and narrated by the young people themselves.

  • Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, 16 Oct, 3pm

Annie Dearest: The Real Miracle Worker: A video parody of the classic film
The Miracle Worker, which stared Patty Duke as deaf/blind Helen Keller and Anne Bancroft as Anne Sullivan, Helen’s mentor and tormentor.

  • Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, 9 & 16 Oct, 3pm

A Last Farewell: An unsettling portrait of an aging author’s sorrow over the death of his long-term partner. Haunted by visions of his late husband, and in conflict with his daughter, he must tackle the task of moving on.

  • The Forum, Barrow-in-Furness, 14 Oct, 7pm – plus talk with Lindsay River
  • Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, 9 & 16 Oct, 3pm

Throughout the festival there is also the chance to see the CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria exhibition at Tullie House, Carlisle. It is the culmination of a two-year Heritage Lottery funded project by OutREACH Cumbria, with support from Tullie House, that explores the living history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people in the county.

Accessibility is an important aspect of Elements – all films will be shown with subtitles and BSL language assistance will be available at talks and discussions.

 

– Ends –

About Elements

  • Elements is a legacy of CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria project.
  • Elements is organised by OutREACH Cumbria, with partners across Cumbria.
  • The festival is funded by Arts Council England, Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria. Community Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • It involves a variety of partners such as Age UK West Cumbria, Florence Arts Centre and the Wordsworth Trust, and is supported by Arts Council England and Copeland Community Fund.

 

The movies

The movie selection has been put together by:

  • Ruth Gould, director of DaDaFest, which celebrates disability culture
  • Adele Patrick, co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library
  • Lindsay River, former director of Polari and LGBT advisor for Age UK

We work with venues that are accessible for most wheelchair users, all of our films are screened with close captions. British Sign Language interpreters will also be at our core events.

The selection of films:

  • Freaks (1932) Todd Browning
  • Women Like Us (1990) Suzanne Neild & Rosalind Pearson
  • If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) Jane Anderson, Martha Coolidge
  • Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009) Susan Muska, Gréta Olafsdóttir
  • Salma (2013) Kim Longinotto
  • Margarita with a Straw (2014) Shonali Bose & Nilesh Maniyar
  • Annie Dearest (2009) The Miracle Worker
  • Blueprints for Change (2011) by DaDaFest
  • A Last Farewell (2013) Casper Andreas

 

About CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria

  • CELEBRATE is the first project to explore and uncover the living history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community in Cumbria.
  • CELEBRATE is a partnership project between OutREACH Cumbria and Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • You can contact Tonia on 07956 336872 or by emailing tonial@outreachcumbria.co.uk
  • The website is at celebratecumbria.co.uk.

 

 

Florence Mine Arts Centre 05

[Press Release] Elements Launch will be a UK Festival First for Cumbria

For immediate release                                  27 September, 2016

 

Elements Launch will be a UK Festival First for Cumbria

A month-long celebration of diversity and Age

The launch takes place this weekend of a bright new month-long Cumbria-wide high quality arts festival celebrating age and diversity.

Elements, which is the only event of its kind in the UK, puts the emphasis firmly on the achievements, joys, needs and interests of mature people in one of England’s most rural regions.

Tonia Lu, Festival Producer, said: “Older people are often overlooked in today’s society – especially those from minority groups – and it’s time that changed. Elements, which is the first festival of its kind in the UK, is one way to help make that happen.

“It brings together high-quality cultural events aimed at everyone over 50, with a special emphasis on those from the LGBT community, people from ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

“The idea is to celebrate their joys and achievements while recognising the challenges in their lives – and it’s also about providing an inclusive environment for them to enjoy a programme of great events.”

The core programme features film, photography, history and literature and the festival also embraces a host of associated events all across the county.

The launch, which is at 7pm on Saturday, 1 October, at Penrith Old Fire Station, will include a chance to hear new poetry from Elements’ West Lakes Writer in Residence Pascale Petit.

Pascale will also be in conversation with Adele Patrick, co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library, who was among the three panelists invited to select the festival movies. This will be followed by a screening of one of her choices Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement.

Adele said: “I was delighted to be asked to select some of the movies for a festival that is so unique and ambitious in its aim of celebrating diversity.

“Like all moviegoers I want to see things that engage, entertain and surprise, so I hope this selection will do just that, while illuminating some of the issues the festival is trying to address. The films I chose are ones that have touched me, moved me and changed my perspective – so I hope other people will enjoy them just as much.”

Pascale is leading a writers’ group, made up of older people from minority groups in the Copeland area. Readings of their work, and hers, will take place at a series of venues throughout October.

Pascale said: “This is a really exciting moment for me and for the writers’ group. Cumbria has always been a wonderful and inspiration place for writers and I am very much looking forward to going to venues around the county and presenting some of the new work that we have created during the residency.”

Elements has grown out of CELEBRATE, the region’s Heritage Lottery funded LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) history project. It brings together partners, including Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, where the CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria exhibition is being held.

Eden Arts, which runs Penrith Old Fire Station, is not only hosting the launch but is also one of the main film venues.

Heather Walker, Head of Projects, Eden Arts, said: “Eden Arts are extremely pleased to host both the launch and some of the festival’s excellent film nights. The festival is exploring important themes that need to be highlighted and celebrated.”

Films will be shown in small venues throughout Cumbria including the Florence Arts Centre in Egremont.

Jenni Payne, Exhibitions Organiser at Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, said: “We’re very pleased to be part of the Elements festival and look forward to welcoming audiences for a selection of excellent movies of the sort you rarely get to see at mainstream cinemas. We are also very pleased to host the West Lakes Writers’ Group.

“It’s great for a rural county like Cumbria to have a festival that puts the emphasis on older people and on groups who are often isolated and overlooked.”

Accessibility is an important aspect of Elements – all films will be shown with subtitles and BSL language assistance will be available at talks and discussions.

For the full programme see www.elementsfest.com – you can also download it to your own computer.

 

– Ends –

About Elements

  • Elements is a legacy of CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria project.
  • Elements is organised by OutREACH Cumbria, with partners across Cumbria.
  • The festival is funded by Arts Council England, Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria. Community Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • It involves a variety of partners such as Age UK West Cumbria, Florence Arts Centre and the Wordsworth Trust, and is supported by Arts Council England and Copeland Community Fund.

 

The movies

The movie selection has been put together by:

  • Ruth Gould, director of DaDaFest, which celebrates disability culture
  • Adele Patrick, co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library
  • Lindsay River, former director of Polari and LGBT advisor for Age UK

We work with venues that are accessible for most wheelchair users, all of our films are screened with close captions. British Sign Language interpreters will also be at our core events.

The selection of films:

  • Freaks (1932) Dir. Todd Browning
  • Women Like Us (1990) Dir. Suzanne Neild & Rosalind Pearson
  • If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) Dir. Jane Anderson, Martha Coolidge
  • Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009) Dir. Susan Muska, Gréta Olafsdóttir
  • Salma (2013) Dir. Kim Longinotto
  • Margarita with a Straw (2014) Dir. Shonali Bose & Nilesh Maniyar
  • Annie Dearest (2009) Dir. The Miracle Worker
  • Blueprints for Change (2011) by DaDaFest
  • A Last Farewell (2013) Dir. Casper Andreas

About CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria

  • CELEBRATE is the first project to explore and uncover the living history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community in Cumbria.
  • CELEBRATE is a partnership project between OutREACH Cumbria and Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • You can contact Tonia on 07956 336872 or by emailing tonial@outreachcumbria.co.uk
  • The website is at www.celebratecumbria.co.uk.

[Press Release] Cumbria’s Rich Literary Heritage Inspires Over 60s Writing Project

 Press Release

For immediate release                                          8 July, 2016

 

Cumbria’s Rich Literary Heritage Inspires Over 60s Writing Project

Elements festival invites older members of Copeland’s minority community to join poet in creating new publication

A creative writing project with lively trips and workshops, inspired by Cumbria’s rich literary traditions, is being launched for over 60s from minority groups in Copeland.

West Lakes Writers’ Residency is part of the region’s new Elements festival, which celebrates age and diversity. It involves a variety of partners such as Age UK West Cumbria, Florence Arts Centre and the Wordsworth Trust, and is supported by Arts Council England and Copeland Community Fund.

Renowned poet Pascale Petit will lead the seven-week programme, which is designed to nurture participants’ writing skills. The writing created in the process will be featured in reading events during and festivals and also included in a final publication which will launch at the end of the festival.

Pascale, who recently returned from a research trip to the Amazon, said: “I’ll help people develop their writing – poetry and short stories – and think they will surprise themselves.

“We’ll bring in ideas from other cultures, especially those that are more open to nature. The people of the Amazon learn from the trees, plants and animals all around them.

“Closer to home, the tradition of Wordsworth and the Romantic poets began with him rowing the lakes and walking the hills and listened to the way the waters and landscape were speaking to him.

“By this stage in life people have experienced a great deal, so I want them to delve into their own lives and write about the things of deep importance to them.”

The day trips will include a visit to Dove Cottage and places that inspired William and Dorothy Wordsworth, as well as many other authors who are connected to the Cumbria and its landscape – such as Norman Nicholson and Sir Hugh Walpole. The aim is for Pascale, who is 62, to be an “enabler” for people with disabilities or from minority ethnic, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) backgrounds.

Cumbria, and Copeland in particular, have a rapidly growing older population and face growing demands for health and social care. The West Lakes Writers’ Residency project is a positive way to enhance the lives of some of the groups who are least well provided for with creative and enjoyable activities.

The wider Elements festival, which will include a photography project Here, Today and a films programme, celebrates diversity and the creativity of older people.

Peta Leigh, Health and Wellbeing Manager, Age UK West Cumbria, said: “We absolutely agree that there is a need for more events and activities to brighten up older people’s days in this part of the world. We’ve been trying to be as inclusive as possible in our work, and festivals like this would contribute greatly to raise the awareness of diversity in the older population.”

Tonia Lu, Elements festival producer, added: “Although our projects engage and celebrate older people and their creativity, the festival hopes to benefit the communities in Cumbria as a whole by giving people the opportunities to communicate and understand each other. For young people, they may find amazing role models like Pascale through our events, and for many others, hopefully they will see how open and accepting Cumbria can be.”

– Ends –

About the writing programme

  • The opportunity is specifically designed for over-60s. Places are limited, those from minority backgrounds – (black and minority ethnic, LGBT and/or Disabled) will be given priority. Participants need to sign up by 4pm on the 8th of August.
  • The workshops and trips will take place between 24th August and 4th of October.
  • Find out more from http://www.elementsfest.com/call-for-participants/
  • Contact Tonia Lu, Producer, hello@elementsfest.com / +44 7956 336872

Activities will include

  • Six writing workshops taking place in Florence Arts Centre
  • Norman Nicholson & Percy Kelly: A trip around West Cumbria and areas that inspired the poet and artist.
  • Wordsworth: A visit to some of the landscapes that inspired both William and Dorothy Wordsworth.
  • Sir Hugh Walpole: Visit to areas in north lakes where the author’s prolific Herries Chronicles sit in.
  • Alfred Wainwright: A trip to some of the locations illustrated in his guidebooks.

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