One of my favourite organisations to work with is CoLab Exeter, a multi-agency wellbeing hub that enables people and organisations to work together, to create the conditions for people to lead their best lives, and do their best work. CoLab Exeter house and connect a number of third-sector organisations that support individuals facing a wide range of difficulties. Below are four projects I delivered for CoLab Exeter.
The Talking Deck
Working with CoLab Exeter, service users, and University of Exeter researchers to produce a resource for third sector and statutory services to stimulate conversations with service users. In response to this brief, I produced a deck of cards depicting symbols, locations in Exeter, and words. These cards were inspired by tarot reading, and give service users the option to find their own meanings and patterns in the cards. These cards have been distributed to, used, and reprinted for a wide range of third-sector organisations in Exeter.
The Talking Deck was introduced to partners working on a European Union funded project called Healthy Ageing through Innovation in Rural Europe (HAIRE) in Belgium, see the project’s blog site here:https://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/haire/. Specifically, Welzijnszorg Kempen, an organisation that provides support to local authorities in delivering social care, used the Talking Deck as an example of how arts-based resources can be used by volunteers and social care practitioners to inspire person-centred conversations with older adults. The main aim here was to stimulate the creation of creative resources and ways of understanding wellbeing-related issues that older adults face in their day-to-day lives.
How Are You?
During the covid lockdown of Summer 2020, CoLab Exeter commissioned me to produce a qualitative survey of how Exeter's street sleeping and vulnerably housed population were experiencing lockdown and Covid-19.
I spent 6 mornings over six weeks in a gazebo in different places in Exeter where this community traditionally gathered to socialise and access services. This gazebo had refreshments and four small wooden postboxes marked with different themes. Interviewees were invited to engage in informal interviewees with myself and other CoLab staff, and then write or dictate messages to be written on postcards and posted into the postboxes.
These postcards were then scanned and arranged into a booklet for CoLab staff to use better understand the complex responses to covid and lockdown from this community.
The Meeting House
Working with CoLab Exeter staff and service users to co-write a brief for a local creative to redesign the central meeting space of the building, then supporting them to select the successful applicant and project managing the redesign.
Listening To The City
Designing and running a 6 session course in which a range of CoLab Exeter's service users learned the skills to produce their own short audio-guided tours of locations in Exeter that had personal significance to them.