Our Covid Journal project WHISPER TO ME ALONE has been up and running a few weeks now. It’s a project that is growing quietly, as people gather ideas for their diaries of words and pictures. Below is the first of the artworks, from Jasmine. A haunting little pencil sketch, it’s an archway that seems to invite us to step in and yet at the same time is a barrier, a secret place.
This project of telephone calls and “one-to-one workshops” is full of fascinating conversations, of insights, openess, and the occasional blind alley. During the calls, I have got a notebook to hand and when it seems important, I scribe down what people say and then read the notes back to them. It’s a way we’ve worked for years, catching words from the air before they disappear. Here, discussing the effects of lockdown, is Anastasia:
“We’ve lost so many lives to Covid. It is a catastrophe. But it has also led us to compassion, gratefulness and more humanity. The appreciation of little things that we can’t have right now. Things like hugs. We are missing contact with other people and finding new ways to connect. With each other and with nature. I’ve been looking at flowers, watching the birds.
“We’ve actually got time during the lockdown. We have been given time to stop and stare. There are less cars on the road, less pollution. You can see the stars.“
WHISPER TO ME ALONE gathers experiences of people who have experienced homelessness — and the experiences of other vulnerable people — in Manchester during lockdown, using journals of writing, art and song lyrics and phone conversations.
This project is supported by Arts Council England. Partners include The Booth Centre, Back on Track, Bury Art Museum and With One Voice arts and homeless sector global network.