The stories

Artists and volunteers spent time with isolated and physically frail older Londoners in hospital wards, in sheltered housing units, care homes and with people living home alone. Poets, weavers, film-makers, dancers and musicians built relationships through a process of ‘deep hanging out’: listening, gossiping, reflecting, making. The elders shared their life stories and experiences. The team collected hundreds of story fragments, photographs, sound clips. Many new artifacts were created in this process - poems, woven objects, carvings and drawings.

Little Boxes was designed to create a bridge between isolated and physically frail older people and young people who have profound and multiple disabilities. The programme enables young people with very different ways of experiencing the world to gain a multi-sensory understanding of the life stories of some of the eldest in their communities.

The Consultation

Artists and volunteers took some of the stories from the older people to share with a group of young people who have profound and complex disabilities. Together they experimented with multi-sensory ways of telling the stories. A new vocabulary of working started to emerge.

Creating the Little Boxes

It would have been necessary to create hundreds of boxes to house all of the material gathered from participating elders, so volunteers and facilitators started a process of sifting and collating material, drawing out recurring themes and motifis that could inform the final box design. Finally, working with a designer and maker the material was sorted and selected into two essential themes: ‘Love in London’ and ‘Arrivals and Departures.’ To read about the design ideas for the boxes: click here.



Little Boxes was made possible by collaborative working between Entelechy and Museum of London teams, Lewisham Hospital’s Arts Committee and multi-disciplinary health teams from Beech Ward, students and teaching staff from Greenvale School, Lewisham Adult Social Care Re-ablement Teams and residents and staff from Manley Court Nursing Home.

Further links about the creative process:
Artist Shane Waltener, Designer Allison Walker, Entelechy Director’s Blog. View the Project Evaluation document.