Introducing the Distant Voices core group
Over the past year in Distant Voices, we’ve brought together a diverse group of people to explore coming home (or making a home) after imprisonment or a community sentence. This ‘core group’ includes people who have served sentences, social workers, people with experience of the imprisonment of a family member, prison personnel, third-sector workers, musicians, artists, and academics from different disciplines. Although members of the group often cross paths in other personal and professional capacities, we meet quarterly for dedicated research time. Together we think through what we’re learning from making and sharing songs in diverse ways, with lots of different people and in many different settings.
So far we have had two research retreats or workshops, which we’ve spent getting to know each other, establishing common ground, and trying to find ways into our topic. In response to our first meeting in September, our research associate Phil Thomas wrote the first chapter of a science fiction novel, using the events and experiences of that meeting as inspiration. Her chapter reflects on the difficulty of establishing a community, on finding a common language, and on the meaning of home. Responding to the theme of homecoming, she has designed the story to be printed out and folded into the shape of an origami house. You can download and read the chapter and Phil’s explanation of the work HERE. If you want to make the origami yourself it works best when printed onto size A3 paper. There is a good video tutorial HERE.
At our second research retreat we read out the story together and then made (or tried to make!) a little village of paper houses. Excitingly, one of our group has agreed to try and write chapter two, so watch this space for the continued story!