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A line of whelk shells leading across a pebble beach.

Message from Our Founder- September

A message from our founder:
To feel a sense of belonging to a community is a human need which is very important to us all at the best of times; at times like these when there are restrictions on our social engagement it is doubly important. Having a sense of community evokes, at it’s best, the feeling of being connected, known and valued, of being part of a system of reciprocal support and caring. This is something that has been largely lost from our neighbourhoods, though it seemed to surface briefly again in the early days of the pandemic and lockdown. At Inside Out we believe strongly in the creative community and want everyone who is connected to the organisation to feel that sense of belonging, mutual support and caring. At the moment the only way we can do that is through communication at a distance. So please be in touch if you are not already by: posting on facebook, zooming with us, emailing us, or even writing to us snail mail. You will always receive a reply.
When I worked in psychiatric hospitals many moons ago there was a visionary social movement to create therapeutic communities within the institutional hospital setting; in some places whole hospitals became social therapy communities. The emphasis was on the dynamics of relationships & interactions between everyone in the community; those there as residents and those working there, were all part of the community, equal in their humanness and having a shared responsibility for the recovery process of others. This healing and recovery took place through what we experience and learnt about ourselves through full participation in the community. It was really about discovering how to be ourselves in the world in less emotionally burdened, dysfunctional ways; how to be ourselves in more fulfilling, happier ways.
Our creative community at Inside Out I believe in many ways replicates the therapeutic community. Not only is there a continuing matrix of relationships and communication, concerned with each other’s well- being, but there is, I would suggest, a more profound level of communication through our art. Art images, creative writing, songs, the images we create through dance, all speak of our sense or ourselves in the world. At some level we see ourselves reflected back in what we create and in the responses of others to our work. In this way – sometimes not deliberately or consciously, we learn about ourselves and our lives and reappraise; discover, if you like, our ‘true colours’ shining through.
This is why I feel so passionate about Inside Out and value arts for health. It is why over the years I have given so much of my energy to Inside Out and received so much more back in return. It is why, dear member of our community, I hope you too feel something similar.
All good wishes
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The shell line is a piece of land art created a few years ago by a couple of friends – a ceramicist and a letter carver – who were both recovering from breast cancer at Shingle Street. It’s formed from whelk shells. It symbolises their healing process.   .

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