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THE GATHERING - immersing ourselves in all things Plymouth Sound

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

September to December 2022

So if you don't know already ...the Gathering is a project that will help us create a large-scale community festival that celebrates the sea, an event that honours the working class heritage of The Sound, its lost traditions. The aim is to help Plymothians develop a deeper love for the ocean and encourage us to take better care of this incredible space.

However, before we get to that moment ..we have a whole load of work to do.

It's always the way with new community projects that it goes kind of bonkers in the first few months and The Gathering is no exception, much happens to secure and set up groups, venues and workshop ideas for the whole project life span.

Our project roughly divides into clan groups, pop-ups and master classes. These activities are our holy trinity of engagement. Running in tandem is our oral history archive, gathering stories of those who worked on/in and around The Sound which in turn feeds stories and ideas into the engagement work.

Generally we POP-UP at other people's events bringing along free workshops and exciting project information. This provides an excellent opportunity to harvest ideas at the same time. So far we have visited all three of our targeted communities. Starting in September with the UNION STREET PARTY where the good people of Stonehouse's ideas for an event decorated Sylvia the Sardine (our 5ft long fish) and ran a free cyanotype fish print workshop. We took along Katy Cawkwell to ALWAYS APPLES in October who entertained with a story about both the sea and apples, Sylvia the sardine popped up too. Sardines featured heavily at WHITLEIGH LANTERN PARADE where our young people took a shoal of solar powered sardine lanterns. NUDGE CHRISTMAS FAYRE followed in December and new emerging artists Dezeta Fantie and Kenya Buchanan both studying Fine Art Art University Plymouth ran their first workshop under the watchful eyes of Vanessa Crosse our new director, making star-fish Xmas decorations and filling our crab-pot with ideas.

If you have an event and you want to invite us...get in touch.

Wild thyme on the Hoe - you would be amazed at the variety of plants and herbs dotted about.

Our first clan group was in Whitleigh at the BROOK GREEN CENTRE FOR LEARNING. Working with a group of ten children in year 9 from the neurodiverse community to the theme "The Sardines that saved Plymouth”. This clan focused on the story of the civil war and the Seige of Plymouth when the city was saved from starvation by a timely shoal of sardines. They learnt about sustainability and fishing, which fish you should eat and which avoid. Creative activities included producing solar-powered sardine lanterns and aquariums with Art and Energy. Plus coastal foraging with Tess Wilmot and Fisher's Footsteps took them on a seafront history walk at Devil's Point. Gin Farrow Jones ran our improv ritual session by the sea where everyone re-enacted the story of the sardines replete with huers, sardines and fishers.

FIRST STONEHOUSE CUBS AND SCOUTS have been busy working to the theme “ "between the tides…life on the coast". This large group consists of seventeen children and eight scout leaders. We kicked off with a film explaining the tides with Brian Cox. Then to the Hoe where Richard Fisher regaled the group with stories of lighthouses, smuggler's caves, ship wrecks and volcanos. A coastal forage followed with finds including samphire, wild thyme, figs, alexanders plus much more. Another outing took them rock pooling with The Rock Pool project where they found a shanny fish, edible crabs, five bearded rocklings and strawberry anomies. Inspired they then designed sea-themed silk paintings featuring rock pool life and the tides. Next the scouts were visited by Lizzie from Seawyld who facilitated rock pool themed poetry. For the ritual we aim to meet at Stonehouse Lawn Tennis Club to make sea inspired mobiles.

Coming up

Master classes are a brilliant way to engage with individuals in a short timeframe and get lost in a subject. Look out for a free crab-pot making course in April up close and personal and a writing course online, creating folkloric content.

Further clan experiences will happen at The Towers in Devonport, Mount Wise Primary and St Peter's Primary. We also take embroidery online with Sirens of the Sound and much more.

Finally - a massive thank you to our funders, all our lovely people on crowdfunder we were truly touched by your support. Also the great and good including Arts Council England, National Marine Park Plymouth, The Box, Nudge Community Builders, Citybus, Plymouth Community Homes, BA Better World Funding, Local Emergencies Trust and Sovereign Housing Trust.

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