We spent a rainy day in Wallington, the National Trust property in Northumberland today and I started thinking about storytelling in this area. A quick search of recent blogs threw up a really interesting piece by doctor Keith Armstrong called Strong words from the streets, on the Newcastle writer Jack Common who I now know specialised in the poetry of community. Keith then includes some very interesting quotes from Jack and his inspiration behind the ‘Strong Words’ project:
A commitment to the virtues of the common man
this belief in the importance of strengthening cultural traditions within the working class
the project attempted to express working class people’s living experience in the North East of England through the words of the people themselves; their own stories told in prose, in verse, in conversation. Working people were given the opportunity to publish and communicate their own feelings and ideas
Strong Words was based upon the belief that it is important to retain and strengthen cultural heritage in a way that allows working people to benefit from each other’s experiences.
At this point I can’t help recalling the aspirations we had when we began the ‘Children of the World’ project using Sensemaker in which Dave Snowden always envisaged the possibility that children in very different religious, social and cultural situations would benefit from each other’s experiences by the sharing of personal anecdotes, self signified at source.
Keith then continues in some depth to reveal great examples of the personal anecdotes collected by this great project.
Without a sense of such heritage, a grasp of the light and shade which reveals the truth, our cities would be breathing corpses.
Terrific stuff and something I will definitely be looking into further. A selection of articles by Jack Common can be found here.