The five days I spent at Hawkwood were inspiring, nourishing and productive – both in terms of what I am working on and in broadening my scope.
As a storyteller I normally work alone and intended to use this time to look at how and if myths can speak to us in this time of profound change and disruption. I knew I was taking a very first step on a long journey and decided to let the stunning landscape and natural world around Hawkwood guide what I looked into. This is not something I have done before and not a way of working that I would normally have time to do.
I read widely around Norse and Irish mythology, walked for hours in the woods and filled a notebook with plans and ideas. For all of this I am grateful to Hawkwood for the gift of time and space in a beautiful and nurturing environment.
I am also grateful that Hawkwood provided the opportunity to meet up with other artists also on residencies at the same time. This was an unexpected and fruitful bonus, with three writers, two artists and a musician. We shared a table at mealtimes and, as well as relishing the fabulous food, we talked about all manner of things and I found these interactions really stimulating. It led me to listen to new podcasts, research performers and writers I knew little about and generally widen my field of vision. On the last night we had an informal ‘show and tell’ and it was great to see/hear what everyone else was working on.
Since the residency I have been thinking about new directions in which to take my storytelling. I will follow up the work on myth although this may not be in the immediate future. What I have done is decide to do more collaborative work and, with a local artist, I will be running a drawing and storytelling workshop for adults this month. I have also been given a commission to imagine and create a story from the Ice Age to accompany a museum exhibition next Spring.
What Hawkwood gave me was unstructured time out with no other demands on my time and that was immensely valuable on many different levels. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity.
Full credit to Fiona Eadie, with thanks to the DCMS & Arts Council England for their funding.