Heads and Tales
A storytelling project with the Ways of Seeing Group
Heads and Tales Project
The Ways of Seeing Group
Benefits to Participants
The Heads and Tales storytelling project with the Ways of Seeing Group was delivered by The Fruitmarket Gallery and The City of Edinburgh Council, Children and Families, Community Learning and Development Department. The project was delivered from April – September 2005, with an exhibition of work shown at North Edinburgh Arts Centre in September 2006. The project was funded by The City of Edinburgh Council, Arts Learning Unit, North Edinburgh Social Inclusion Partnership, The City of Edinburgh Council, Community Education Department and The Fruitmarket Gallery.
The Ways of Seeing Group is a group of mature adult learners (aged 60+) from the Pilton and Granton areas of Edinburgh. The group meets fortnightly at The Prentice Centre in Granton, and is supported by community education tutor Mary Keegan who organises regular group visits to Edinburgh galleries and museums.
During the Heads and Tales Project, the Ways of Seeing Group worked with a professional storyteller Millie Gray and a freelance educator Mary Keegan, to research and develop a series of short stories related to themes presented in Life Beneath the Shadow, an exhibition by international artist Cai Guo-Qiang, exhibited at The Fruitmarket Gallery and artworks in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2005.
||The exhibition Life Beneath the Shadow offered a unique opportunity for the group to research the history of ghosts, theories about the afterlife and Scotland’s criminal past. Group sessions involved visits to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Granton Store, the National Museum of Scotland, Surgeons Hall and Greyfriars Kirk through which the group explored the aural tradition of storytelling.|
The Heads and Tales Project focused on a number of art works chosen from the Life Beneath the Shadow exhibition and artworks in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Museum of Scotland. The groups research included six historical portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, Cai Guo-Qiang’s gunpowder drawings and a collection of phrenological heads. The participants researched, discussed and provided verbal responses to these works, presenting 10 new short stories on an interactive DVD.
Each story is a sensitive and moving reading, which responds to, and illuminates the individual works of art. The project clearly demonstrates the power of storytelling, as a learning tool. Storytelling encourages people to explore their unique expressiveness and heightens an individual’s ability to communicate thoughts and feelings in an articulate and lucid manner.
Members of the Ways of Seeing Group recognise the importance of meeting on a regular basis, enabling them to maintain physical and mental activities. The meetings offer fun, lively discussions and the opportunity to exchange ideas on history, painting, photography and contemporary art. This project enabled the participants to visit Edinburgh’s Galleries and Museums. It challenged the group to learn new skills such as storytelling and record their stories in a professional recording studio. Most importantly it enabled the participants to interact with the cultural life of the City of Edinburgh and to contribute their own life experiences to that culture.
|The project enabled the participants to record their stories and develop an interactive DVD, which includes:
• descriptions of the project
• an audio sound track of the 10 stories
• images of the works which inspired the stories
• a series of documentation photographs
'Being part of The Ways of Seeing group and this project has meant that I have been to places I would not have been to on my own ' - Jean Henderson, participant.
'This has been important to me, it has kept me going and given me an interest; I take in a lot and look more closely at things around me.' - Marion Reid, participant.
|The interactive DVD is available on request from The Fruitmarket Gallery, Education Manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org|