Welcome to our newsletter
We have a masterclass coming up – if you are interested in taking part, please drop us an email at email@example.com.
This is an art-making session with Dr Catherine Lamont Robinson. She is an honorary lecturer in Social and Community Medicine, and the curator and co-designer of the Bristol Catch Your Breath sessions. This online masterclass will take place on 7th April at 2pm.
Brainwaves in Donegal and Derry
By Sarah Murphy, Artistic Director, Wall2Wall Music
We shared stories over zoom and in person, we laughed and we cried together, we created new songs, dances, poems and art together, and eventually we wanted to share with others – so we created a show “Chasing The Light” and performed together.
What a Journey it was! It was emotional and memorable for everyone in the room and the performers were delighted by the audience showing appreciation with a standing ovation.
Jessica Peoples from Zona Dance, and myself had the great privilege of facilitating participants from the Different Strokes for Different Folks group through this process between November 2021 and March 2022.
Our show “Chasing The Light” used the seasons as a metaphor for the stroke recovery journey. We started in November with its spectacular Autumn colours and eased our way into stories and images which translated into poems and lyrics
Autumn explored decay/ loss and transformation with lyrics emerging full of colour:
“ Right arm, so black so weak doesn’t do what I want, Left arm is red – does everything I tell it too…Yes!
Dance moves reflected where Stroke loss first emerged in the body:
“We are gold, Yellow, Orange, red. Together we reflect, and shine brighter and brighter”
Dance also helped people find connections with each other through contact improvisation
Winter explored the hard work, the repetitive, unseen work of recovery, finding new pathways and increasing brain plasticity.
Lyrics emerged: “Brainwaves, renewing, re-wiring, reconnecting” , which were reflected in both repetitive machine and improvised linking dance moves.
Spring explored the green shoots of recovery, renewal and hope.
More lyrics emerged: “Chasing the shadow – through dappled light”, which were reflected in the dance moves.
Our show ended with a poem written collectively called the Tree of Hope
We were lucky that this project was linked with three Stroke Ambassadors, Max, Jennifer and Haide, all stroke survivors who had taken part in previous projects and training with Rosetta Life. In the first three weeks over zoom they helped to model activities, answer questions and reassure the local stroke survivors at the start of their process. To reflect that we decided to start our show with a setting to music of
Hope after Stroke; a poem Max had written in November coming out of one of our sessions. In addition everyone was delighted that Stroke Ambassador Jennifer, was able to travel with Lucinda from Rosetta Life, watch our show and meet and chat with the performers at the Playhouse in Derry on 10th March
What I love about this creative arts practice connected to health and wellbeing is that it gives a voice to those whose voice has been taken away through their illness. It enables people to be witnessed, to feel heard,and builds confidence.
In singing their ideas and words as lyrics of a new song and seeing movements they created choreographed into a dance participants expressed great emotion
“No-one else has listened to me like this” ; “I feel heard” ; “I feel seen”
In sharing their experiences, in laughing and crying together, in creating something new out of their shared experience, these participants can begin to process their emotions, explore their new reality, find some acceptance and build some confidence.
Additionally in overcoming fears and having the courage to perform “Chasing The Light”, performing as their true selves, rather than hiding away, the performers revealed an insight into their world. This process can lead to increased understanding, empathy and new perspectives for both audience and performer alike and that shared experience can be transformational.
As the performers say at the end of “Chasing The Light” – “I welcome the new me”
Online Movement Sessions
We are starting a block of new online movement sessions. These sessions will be shorter than usual, at 45 minutes long, and will feature gentle movement exercises led by artists. There will be six weekly sessions, which began on Tuesday 19th April with Louise Klarnett.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join!
Your space to share art work and poetry.
Send your work to Jennie for the next newsletter at email@example.com
Under the sand
Under this barren vista
There once lived a mister
A civilised man with dreams
A cultured man with plans
And desires and laughter and tears
With friends and with family
A fully formed human
Who you may have liked
and craved their company.
Now what you see is this war-torn body
Battles lost and defeated
Subdued, much retreated
Licking their wounds
Sorting out the debris
Wanting to rise once again
Knowing that past glories may never return
But a new sort of life,
A hope at the dawn
That a new man may rise
Though we’re building on sand
Reach out lend a hand
Please, help me stand
Though we’re building on sand
This month, we will be featuring one of our new ambassadors – Norma, from London
Aphasia was a new word to me until the spring of 2021. By the summer aphasia and I were checking out each other. I was doing the checking out.
I had a stroke in February 2021. Before that I was an independent person. Afterwards I felt extremely lonely and struggled to understand what happened to me. My Speech Therapist had suggested I connect with the online Aphasia group. I was introduced to people who had the same diagnosis as myself and I started to understand how it affected individuals in different ways.
Soon after joining this group I was offered an opportunity to join Stroke Odyssey. I was told it was going to be an experience in art, dance and music. It brought me together with others who had suffered a stroke . It offered me support and friendship and the opportunity to take part in a weekly activity leading to a performance. The supportive environment allowed us to take part in activities some of us may have not thought possible. We learnt how to support each other as we memorised words and movements. The whole experience was wonderful.
I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity to take part. As a consequence I have become an ambassador for the group and hope through the group to be able to help others as they navigate this difficult diagnosis. Stroke Odyssey gives opportunities to individuals with aphasia to explore the the world of art in a supportive social environment and hopefully help those who have suffered a stroke.
We are delighted to announce that we will start our next performance programme on 5th May. This programme is funded by the arts in health research impact grant led by King’s College London.
We are really pleased that Eunice and Sean will be ambassadors for this programme. Sadly, Remmy is unable to support this live programme as she has moved out of London, and so there is a space for a London ambassador to support this new performance programme.
The programme is facilitated by Lucinda Jarrett and Melanie Pappenheim. The composer is Orlando Gough. Please let us know if you are interested in taking on a role to help this programme by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Ambassadors Sharing Ideas Event
We are holding a day for ambassadors working with stroke and brain injury to share their ideas with ambassadors for Dance for Parkinson’s Disease. This event will take place on 11th May at English National Ballet Studios in East London. Please email email@example.com if you are interested in finding out more.
Spirals – Walk the spiral! 17th May
Save the date – 17th May, join us in London to walk the spiral, more details to follow.
On 17th May we invite you to join us in London at the Roundhouse
The group have been working working with RU Drama exploring Healing Landscapes and has come up with the idea of the river being a healing backdrop and each stroke recovery being a journey along the lines of a pilgrimage – as they used to do from St Anne’s Well in Caversham to Reading Abbey. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are their rough template.
Our upcoming dates for the Healing Landscapes sessions (taking place 11-1.30 at the University of Reading) are:
Thursday 21 April
Friday 22 April
Monday 25 April
Wednesday 27 April
Friday 28 April
The Bristol ambassadors group are working with a producer in Bristol to raise funds to create a new dance performance.
North Bristol NHS Trust is opening two new neuro rehabilitation units and have asked for Odysseys ambassadors to support dance and music performance workshops in both hospitals. This is really exciting news and a tribute to the way the success of the programme has spread through Bristol! Watch this space!
Weekly Movement Sessions (Online)
Beginning 31st March, 2pm for six weeks
Art-making masterclass with Dr Catherine Lamont Robinson (Online)
7th April, 2pm
A chance to share the work of the ambassadors
(watch this space for more info!)
Films from the Rosetta Life archive
Every month we will share a film. You can visit the essential viewing section of the Rosetta Life website www.rosettalife.org for further viewing. We always enjoy hearing your feedback.
This month we share Healing the Brain – Stroke & Creativity.
What is neuro-plasticity? Four consultant neurologists, Rosetta Life artists, and Stroke Odysseys participants explore neuro-plasticity and the potential for creativity to heal the stroke damaged brain. People in recovery from stroke point the way.