Deep and digital: creative collaborations online

Luci map for MSNW
When we went into lockdown it was immediately apparent that many people were struggling with multiple uncertainties. I felt that the most useful thing I could do was to offer ‘creative containers’ that could hold people’s images and ideas and help them maintain their sense of self and community, and I used a number of different means to do this. These adaptions proved useful and effective, and the three examples below are Making Rainbows with families from Speedwell Children’s Centre; My Strange New World, with friends and family; and staff and students from Maynooth University in Ireland.
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Working with people

I love the way that participatory art can bring people together, and in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, (1972) Paulo Freire writes, ‘The naming of the world, which is an act of creation and re-creation, is not possible if it is not infused with love. Love is at the same time the foundation of dialogue and dialogue itself.’ I have chosen two projects Breaking Bread and The Welcome Banner. These were both done with families from Branching Out, which was a weekly open access group for parents that I facilitated at Speedwell Children’s Centre in East Bristol for over 10 years. I found parent and toddler groups pretty excruciating when my children were young, and I wanted this to be a group where women would be made welcome and feel able to be themselves, rather than just being identified via their role as mothers.
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From then til now: a speeded-up life story

I grew up in the East Kent countryside  – number four out of six sisters. Our house was on a lane that petered out into a bumpy track and farmland. We cooked stinging nettle soup over smoky fires, broke bones doing bare backed riding stunts, and learnt to drive in an old blue Skoda round the fields.
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Published work

DRY Front cover
I write fiction and non fiction, and draw illustrations. My work is published in books, journals and on websites in the form of academic writing, creative writing, illustrations, infographics and poems.
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Touring theatre shows

Luci Gorell Barnes Bookshed
I really enjoy finding intimate and unorthodox ways of showing work, and have often collaborated with performers to welcome and involve audiences in unexpected ways. The two examples shown here, The tragic and disturbing tale of Little Lupin and Bookshed both blurred the boundaries between visual art and theatre, as well as between performer and audience.
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