Cards of Connection by Joe Gilmour-Rees

Heart

Cards of Connection

A close up photo of a white man with short, light brown hair combed backward. He has a broad smile which animates his eyes and face. He is wearing a peach coloured t-shirt and appears to be leaning backward against a corrugated iron wall. The photo sits inside a free-flowing shape with round edges. Small black lines border on 2 edges to give the shape a sense of movement. This photo sits on warm a pale blue backdrop.

Earlier in the summer, Rachel asked me to be part of Art with Heart’s Dial project. Over five weeks I would ring five older participants from Greater Manchester. The idea was to create connections during this difficult and challenging time.

When I learnt I had to create something in response to the conversations, my brain started whirring. It’s not often I’m given such an open page to create anything I want. Having made notes and drawings from the conversations, I started to look through what the conversations had been about. The theme of change had come up quite a lot – change throughout people’s lives, but also changes that we’ve all been through over the last six months.

My brain started thinking of a story that could encapsulate these ideas of change as well as weave in references to all the different topics of conversation we had had. But as I talked to one participant, it struck me that the important thing was not to create a new adventure, but create a record of the conversations and connections I had made with each of my five phone buddies. Then came the idea of a custom deck of cards – each card is inspired by a particular moment of connection from the phone calls. So there are Air fix plane models, canoes, the Royal Opera, drawings of Leeds city centre and photos of Warrington amongst the cards.

A deck of these custom-made cards will be sent to each of my participants on the dial project. We’ve also created a digital version of these cards accessible below. If you click the refresh button, a new card will be drawn from the pack.

The cards are designed not only as a physical legacy of the project but also as a source of creativity in themselves. Use them in whatever you want. It’s actually quite addictive just to refresh the page and see what image comes up! But you can also use it do one of the three activities below:

The cards are designed not only as a physical legacy of the project but also as a source of creativity in themselves. Use them in whatever you want. It’s actually quite addictive just to refresh the page and see what image comes up! But you can also use it do one of the three activities below:

BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END

1)      Using the current card, begin a story inspired by this image, starting with the sentence “Once upon a time…”

2)      Then click the refresh button to draw a second card, and continue to the middle of your story, using this second card as inspiration.

3)      Finally, click the refresh button to draw a third card, which you will use as a way to bring your story to an end.

You can do this on your own, writing  your story down, or take turns playing with a friend.

UMMM GAME

1)      Click the refresh button for a new card. You are now an expert on whatever is on that card. You talk for 1 minute on the topic without pausing or using filler words like “ummm” and “like”.

2)      If you do pause or use a filler word, your turn passes to the next player, who refreshes the page for a new card.

WHO TOOK THIS PHOTO?

1)      Refresh the page for a new card. Look carefully at the image and think about who could have taken this photo (or created this drawing) and what was happening to the character at the time. Feel free to let your imagination run wild – there are no wrong answers!

2)      Write something based on this character – it could be a diary entry from the character, or the start of a story, or a newspaper article!

In creating a story, you will be connecting the cards in new ways. It’s nice to think these nuggets of conversation from the Dial project will live on as inspiration in future stories.