Catching Lives is working on a two year collaborative arts project, bringing together partners from across Europe, to jointly develop and inspire methods for inspiring writing, literature and improving literacy skills.
Working with different learner groups, spanning all abilities, covering all interests and cultures, partners from Spain, Italy, France and the UK, we will learn from each other about how to create inclusive, cohesive and cultural communities.
Our different approaches to teaching and using literacy and literature, will provide inspiration and renewed interest. Empowerment, cultural awareness and community participation will result and will benefit all of our clients as well as the community in which they live.
We are developing creative opportunities at the Open Centre, to encourage clients to work alongside visual, verbal and performance artists in practical workshops, inspiring individual and group work that will enable clients to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions through art work, photography, animation, film, poetry, drama and short story writing.
We host a three day event at the Homeless Day Centre in October when our partners will visit us from Spain , Italy and France. Please watch this space to learn more about the project and see the work that is being produced by our clients…….”painting is poetry and poetry is painting that speaks…..”
Please see below for the wonderful books that clients at our daycentre have created. They are the accumulation of two years of hard work and creativity, so please take a moment to view them.
The first, titled ‘A walk In Our Shoes’ details a route around our beautiful city, covering many historical locations and sights of interest. It is packed full of pictures and factual information, all researched and written by our clients, on each point of interest, so whether you are new to Canterbury, have been a resident for years or just fancy a visit, please take the time to have a look and I am sure it will inspire you to visit, or revisit, some of these fantastic locations.
The second, titled ‘Voices From The Pavement’ is an anthology collecting an amazing array of poetry, prose, photography and inspiring pieces of art work.
A walk In Our Shoes can be viewed Here
Voices From The Pavement can be viewed here
The last few months have been incredible for Catching Lives. Inspiring thoughts, stories, memories , reflective, emotive poetry and an eclectic mix of beautiful pieces of art are now being collated to form an Anthology
“Voices from the Pavement” and “A Walk in Our Shoes”, have been produced within the EU Literature for Life Project and both are being presented in June at the final festival in St Clementin in France, www.stclementinlitfest.com, along with our partners in Spain and Italy.
The mobility funding from the project is allowing us to take seven of our clients, volunteers and staff to celebrate this final event. The highlight of the occasion will be the presentation from our clients who are presenting the writing of their new book “Harbledown Hope”.
A short introduction of this is found below, so please read (and also tap into Andrew Buller’s website to read all the amazing work that is being done).
We hope to secure further funding to take this book forward and produce more in the series. Meanwhile, when you have a spare minute, pop into the day centre and see and talk to our clients about each of these books and their fantastic achievement !
I cowered; the drift of leaves my disguise, my refuge, my escape from the madness.
Blood ran from my open wounds, mingling with the autumn colours.
I hadn’t seen the tangled wire web and its rusted thorns as I scrambled for cover.
My torn body shuddered. The pain was unbearable.
Blood-curdling barks, the piercing horn, echoed through the early morning mist. I was terrified, my heart pounding.
From my hiding place at the edge of the wood, I looked across the meadow to see my parents pressed to the soaking grass, nowhere to go.
They exchanged fear-filled, knowing glances. Thundering hooves were getting closer.
The ground rumbled menacingly. The roar of the hunt was deafening.
Through my tears I saw two flashes of fiery red leap up, straight towards the onrushing hunt.
Don’t leave me!”
Their terrified eyes turned to meet mine, but for just one last time, as the hounds’ teeth closed in.
Mum and Dad were gone.
My eyes filled and closed. They didn’t want to see anymore.
The homeless experiences that inspired our Harbledown story
At Catching Lives we have written a story based on the experiences of the homeless through the eyes of animals.
The choice of an urban fox called Harbledown for the main character has been central to this. Right from the beginning this was a character that many can relate to and enables them to bring in their own experiences , the ups and downs of homeless life and the emotions endured by our community.
All of the settings chosen for our story are ones we can relate to and are featured within ‘The Walk In Our Shoes’ monograph. Urban foxes often wander their own lonely road, being maligned and misunderstood.
Harbledown is one of us.
Comments for the artwork
We deliberately chose to write an illustrated children’s book as it enabled as many people as possible to be involved with the story.
Artwork to include in anthology…
Picture of Harbledown wall
Sam’s fox and badger, fox poking tongue out
Catching Lives map and original fox print that inspired story
Photos from Pilgrims Way and other parts of Canterbury
Fox on graffiti wall
‘Reflections of Writing with Catching Lives’- by Andrew Buller
“For the past eighteen months I have been volunteering at Catching Lives in Canterbury and have been heavily involved in a EU-funded literacy project with our homeless community. This written work is developing into our own illustrated children’s book series, with the first book ‘Harbledown Hope’ due to be completed by the end of this year. Within this post I want to take the opportunity to pause and reflect on this work so far, to celebrate the talents of our community and to highlight what an amazing privilege volunteering here has been”- Andrew Buller.
the full article can be found here
highlights from Litfest, October 2015