Following the latest Government guidance, Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery is temporarily closed to help protect visitors, staff and the wider community. If you have booked a ticket for a future date we will be in touch as soon as the situation is clear.
House, galleries, café and shop:
+44 (0)1223 748 100
In March 2020 empathy artist and Open House artist in residence, Enni-Kukka Tuomala, launched the Campaign for Empathy for North Cambridge – the world’s first community-centred campaign to promote empathy as a way to foster a sense of community and connection in a time of physical distancing and social isolation.
In response to a call-out from Tuomala, Kettle’s Yard’s team of Artist Facilitators devised a series of projects and activities to enable the Campaign for Empathy and its ethos to reach as many people in North Cambridge as possible. We are delighted to share some of the diverse activities and inspiring work produced since summer 2020 in collaboration with our community partners.
Artist Josh Bilton invites you to make time for a moment of self-empathy, responding to Enni-Kukka Tuomala’s Campaign for Empathy.
Through his own art practice, Bilton has been exploring how birds have symbolised a moment between beginnings and endings, across cultures and histories. Inspired by this Bilton has created this meditative experience for you with original compositions by Gregor Riddell.
Birdsong Lament, a self-empathy experience, has been shared with key workers, volunteers and charities who have supported our local community throughout 2020-21. Having given so much of themselves to support others, this is an invitation to reconnect, reflect and empathise with themselves.
Find a quiet, calm time and space that suits you, and follow this two-part experience. The first part is a meditative sound piece which lasts 8 minutes 40 seconds. The second part invites you to make your own ‘bird’.
Artist and musician Ian Brownlie was inspired by Tuomala’s reflection that: “Empathy requires an exchange, a level playing field”. Working with children from the Akeman Street Art Club with the City Council ChYpPs team and families from the Red Hen Project, a number of playful activities have been shared which foster collective making and connection whilst being physically distanced.
Make your own Comet Ball
Make your own Love Light Window
Make your own Shadow Puppet
Make your own Flag for Empathy
Working with members of our community who are more isolated at this time, artist Kaitlin Ferguson has been leading a series of online workshops exploring creativity and empathy by using all of our senses.
Each session invites all participants to share, chat and reflect whilst creating together-apart. The sensory elements provoke memories, thoughts and laughs and help keep us all connected.
We will be sharing a gallery of our final creations, so be sure to check back to see how we get on!
Connecting with others through the art of letter-writing was absolutely core to Jim Ede, founder of Kettle’s Yard. Students at Chesterton Community College have been working with artist Jo Miller and building connections with older people in their local community by writing letters.
Like many of us, Jo Miller was sorting through long-forgotten items in her home and came across a box of old letters in her attic. “Going through this old
box of letters was magical! It evoked so many memories of times long ago and of friends I have not seen for a long time. And there were some precious letters from my grandmother who has long since died which brought a tear to my eye. Opening the envelopes and sliding out the carefully folded letters containing handwritten thoughts and events long gone, or words of affection and love, evoked so much of the writers personality which came flooding back to me.”
Students were introduced to Kettle’s Yard vast archive of letters from the inspirational people Ede was in touch with. The students were particularly inspired by letters from mariner and artist Alfred Wallis, who began painting to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation when he became a widower. They particularly enjoyed how Wallis included personal thoughts, memories and even included sketches. The young people wanted to be useful during the pandemic and felt that writing letters and connecting with older people would be something they could all do.
Working with Arbury Community Centre and North Cambridge Community Partnership letter exchanges have been developed between the students and members of older people’s social groups, who are unable to meet at this time.
Recording through animation, oral history, drawing and collage each participant will make a record of where and how dance is expressed in their lives. These will be exchanged and each generation will experience the others important moments by tracing their own footprints.
Cambridge African Network invited Kettle’s Yard to support a virtual programme of activities for Black History Month 2020. Members of Cambridge African Network collaborated with artist Hilary Cox Condron to share memories, objects, stories and even recipes which respond to the idea of ‘Sharing Together’.
Through social media groups, correspondence and a newly created activity booklet, Cambridge African network have shared a wealth of material and creativity which will be shared through an online archive , Capturing Cambridge Black Heritage, and a set of co-created greetings cards, enabling members of the network to stay connected with friends and family.
“For many people feelings and emotions can be tricky to articulate. This project proposes an approach that gives people an opportunity to recognise, share and respond to feelings they may not yet have a name for, through non verbal language and materials.”
The pupils have created an animation which explores how they are each feeling about their own experiences of ‘lockdown learning’ and have found ways to express their feelings without words.
After capturing images through homemade filters, prints of the students photographs are being exchanged with their classmates. Each student will explore their new image, physically manipulate it, take it on a new journey and explore a fresh perspective on their classmates viewpoint.
The resulting artwork will be shared through an online gallery so please check back to see how the student progress.
During October half-term artist Jacquie Campbell joined Holiday Lunch families at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Arbury, leading creative empathy activities about urban animals.
Families chose to find out about spiders, foxes or pigeons and explored their gardens and neighbourhood through the animal’s eyes. Children drew animal marks on pebbles which were left outside the church or took them to their favourite spot. On your walks around Arbury you might discover other people’s pebbles and maybe some real animal tracks.