A new Community Engagement Programme was launched at the Charterhouse in summer 2019, as part of our Beautification and Refreshment of the Great Chamber, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The aim was to reach diverse young audiences (18-30s) and older people in the local area, who were not previously aware of the Charterhouse.
The Charterhouse is full of stories and we used the beautifully restored Great Chamber and its portraits to tell these stories. We engaged with our Communities, including the new Charterhouse Young Community – in a programme of creative workshops. Here’s a link to a blog post by and about the Young Community: Meet our Charterhouse Young Community team – The Charterhouse
These communities then told us their stories and together we created a Soundscape featuring voices and music from the past and present – capturing our living history. We adapted our plans in response to Covid-19 and created a new online Community Engagement programme.
Latest update & What’s Next?
Our main focus now for 2022 is to further develop our relationships with local communities and organisations whose members are local older people, including groups that might find heritage sites and stories harder to access.
The Soundscape (see below) has been a great tool for creative engagement across our communities, including Open House London in September 2021 which was lots of fun. If you haven’t already had a chance to listen to our Community Engagement Soundscape the link is below. Enjoy! We are also planning an exciting outdoor Exhibition in Charterhouse Square Spring-Summer 2022 and the Soundscape will be an integral part of this…watch this space!
- Charterhouse Lives
A monthly Zoom event which was set up in lockdown and continues to be popular! It’s an informal way of bringing our communities together with a behind the scenes peek at life behind the walls at The Charterhouse.
- Monthly BlindAid Creative Writing Workshops (Blind & visually impaired adults)
BlindAid is one of our Community Partners and we are delighted to have been working with them since the beginning of the programme in 2019, when they visited The Charterhouse for a tactile tour of the Chapel, talks by staff & Brothers and coffee afternoons. We moved online in lockdown and have had a busy, sociable & creative time. We are planning more workshops with BlindAid next year!
- Creative Writing Masterclasses with Claremont Project (older people, mainly Islington based)
Following the successful Zoom Art Workshops with the Claremont Project, we facilitated a series of Creative Writing Masterclasses with a smaller group of older people, where we were able to dig deeper into our Charterhouse Great Chamber portraits and take creative inspiration from them. We are talking to the Claremont Project about new themes and ventures for next year, including our Charterhouse Tapestries, which are now restored and hanging in their own room – looking splendid!
- Charterhouse, Claremont & Co Connecting Communities Coffee Club
A chance to bring together those who are most isolated across our communities. We co-host fortnightly Zoom Coffee Clubs with the Claremont Project’s Clinical Services Manager. We have also invited our friends at BlindAid to join us and there is always a Charterhouse Brother or two to help welcome everybody. This is a small & sociable wellbeing meetup, where we share a virtual cuppa and get to know each other better though discussion and icebreaker games. Coffee Clubs will continue next year.
- Community Engagement Forum Meetings
Our Charterhouse Community Engagement partners are an essential part of the Programme and the Forum was formed in 2019. We are still going strong with regular online meetings. There was a real need for local support and there’s no shortage of ideas flying around during our meetings! We will be further developing links with Islington Alzheimer’s Society, Arts in Care Homes (NAPA), Flourishing Lives, St Luke’s Community Centre Barbican, Culture Mile & Museum of London who all focus on older people, including those living with dementia.
- Charterhouse Online Socials
Nothing stops us celebrating our communities and we have continued to have fun during lockdowns and bring everyone together, including our Festive Meetups. More to come next year!
Introducing our Great Chamber Soundscape – an aural journey around a room, its history and its relevance today
Our Soundscape takes you on a journey through the Great Chamber at the Charterhouse, using our 3D tour as a framework. It is not meant to be a replica of the original 3D tour but rather an immersive, candlelight experience. You can click on 16 different Points of Interest as you travel through time and listen to the voices of our ancient Governors, and individuals from local communities who have attended our recent workshops and events. (Best experienced with headphones!)
Huge thanks for your involvement in this Soundscape:
Caleb Parkin – Freelancer for Poetry Society – Bristol City Poet
Thanks also to Charterhouse Brothers Rakesh & Brian for taking part in these workshops and telling the group about daily life & rituals at the Charterhouse.
Charterhouse Community Engagement Volunteers:
Mat Dobson & team – BYO
Kevin Carter – CHD Works
Charterhouse Young Community:
Guildhall School of Music and Drama – String Trio:
Violin: Gwyneth Nelmes
Viola: Isobel Doncaster
Cello: Jonah Spindel
Harp and Composition: Rebecca Morée Galian
Cello: Rebecca Burden
Flute: Maisie Whiteman
Guitar: Luke Tyrrell
Voice: Polly Green
Mandora: Chris Hirst