Walking and words with East Kent Mencap

Margate Bookie extends its reach year round. Long time collaborators Thread and Word have been working with East Kent Mencap to create a series of ‘walking cards’. These are now available to preview as a small installation in the windows at Gold Project Space, 215 Northdown Rd Margate. The window installation is part of the national celebration of Learning Disability Week. For many people with a learning disability and their families creativity has been a way of staying connected and positive through the past year. 

The online exhibition has been supported by many local artists and a wider network of artists who make work connected to environmental and social sustainability. These include artworks by LIz Elton, Melody Bottle , Eleanor Rose Parris ,  Francesca Busca, Karen Eslea and Sharon Cavalier, alongside poetry by Jonathan Skinner, Jessica Taggart Rose and Owen Lowery. 

The set of 32 cards include both visuals and walking prompts connected to places EKM members have walked to in Thanet and visited during lockdown. The prompts are being written by the members who are adults with learning difficulties, and the writing has been conducted through workshops led by Amy Johnson with support from Sonia Overall and Elspeth Penfold. 

The cards connect to photographs taken by James Frost of the areas walked by the EKM members. The EKM members have chosen the photographs out of a wide selection offered by James which they see as a good fit to their walking prompts. They are also choosing cut out shapes so that as you walk with the cards you can choose a different or refracted view of your surroundings.  

Because sustainability is key to the project, the cards will be printed using riso (soya based ink ) and recycled paper by Park Press in Margate. The aim is to offer the cards as a limited edition print run of 40 for sale, as art works, to raise funds for the EKM Scrapstore. The cards should be printed by the end of August.  

It’s all part of Thread and Word. As Elspeth says “Our project A Refracted View presents different perspectives, new ways of looking at things. Our ambition is to disrupt socially constructed ideas of normality , excellence and productivity, through a focus on sustainability, environmental and social practice. We will enact creativities that move accessibility beyond how people navigate space, recognising that universal access gives us a vital aesthetic that enriches all of our lives. By bringing together local artists and the members of the EKM Scrapstore in Ramsgate to co-create experiences that engage with our immediate surroundings we trigger ideas through walking and thinking through craft.” 

Elspeth and EKM will be taking  the cards for a walk and discussing how they were made at a Long Table event at the next Margate Bookie festival. Keep your eyes peeled! 

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