In line with her practice/research on the MA Illustration Authorial Practice, Ellie created and initaited a project which she felt would build on the values of the Sensory Trust, encouraging the group to engage with their surroundings in different ways, using all of their senses and to document their experiences.
Ellie passed around a disposable camera and asked the group to take photographs of their walks, with a particular theme or constraint in mind. The themes provide a focus, another form of cognitive stimulation and a shared topic of conversation: the group become the illustrators of their own narrative. They span a variety of ideas, such as senses, personal experiences and times of year. There are 17 books so far, and their titles include: Texture at Treverbyn, Sound at Gossmoor and Green at Luxylyan. Some have little books inside of them, which expand further on the theme: for example, in Shadows at Wheal Martyn the movement of the sun is captured and in The First Signs of Spring at Lostwithiel a collection of drawings are presented.
This project is a fantastic example of mind and landscape coming together: it is a psycho-geographical project which allows the people to document their experiences in the landscape, whilst nurturing and sharing their inner landscapes. It also creates visual prompts which can allow them to revisit their shared memories, and is extremely important in providing the people with self-evidence that living with dementia can still mean that they can form new connections, both with people and landscape.
In March 2018 Ellie will be starting a new project titled Observations in Nature with Sensory Trust. Funded by the Arts Council, the project will take the same framework as Observations by the Happy Wanderers and invite the other four nature-based activity groups in Cornwall (set up by the Sensory Trust as part of their Creative Spaces in the Community project) to take part. It will also invite the Happy Wanderers to share the workings of their project with the other groups, providing a space for people living with dementia to nurture and share old and new skills. This will result in each group creating a colleciton of artist books and an exhibiton at Potager Garden in Falmouth in Spring 2019.
Keep up to date with this project here and by following #observationsinnature @EllieGraceRC @SensoryTrust
In September 2015 Ellie launched Penryn Memory Cafe, for those living with dementia in the local community. The group meet twice a month and share in an afternoon of refreshments, activities and songs.
Ellie has explored how different objects in the space play a role in enhancing the experiences for the attendees: from the raffle prizes, to the tablecloths, the objects create familiarity and enable them to stay grounded in the environment. This resulted in a publication - memory cafe - which encapsulates Ellie's research, accompanied with images taken by photographer Hannah Wright.
Following Ellie's recent collaboration with Sally Crabtree - award-winning poet based in Mousehole, Cornwall - after being selected and funded by FEAST, the pair will be embarking on a groundbreaking, inter-generational project between Penryn Memory Cafe and Penryn College, titled Passing the Parcel. This project has been funded by Awards for All, the Big Lottery, and will provide the two groups with a space to get to know one another through letter-writing, creative literacy and song writing.
To keep up to date with this project please follow #passingtheparcel @EllieGraceRC @sallycrabtree_poetrypostie
in collaboration with Violeta Noy
Ellie and Violeta understand making memories as a personal, organic process and, as such, a fallible one. They deal with those glitches in the system, the things that are not quite, not quite right. We all fabricate memory, fill in gaps, even if we are unaware we are doing it.
I am a socially engaged creative practioner, with an interest in language, books and people. My practice is based on the individual and how they experience the world around them: I have a particular interest in dementia and how illustration can be used to enhance the lives of people who experience it, as well as engaging these indiviudals in projects that encourage independence, provide empowerment and nurture wellbeing.