This Autumn, Fun Palaces have reimagined their seventh annual community-led weekend of action to encourage extra small, hyper-local events in person and online during these challenging times. Eden Court’s Fun Palace Ambassador Alis Balance tells us more...
Fun Palaces are very much like Ceilidh Houses. They’re about sharing a blether and some skills, the way we used to do – folk getting together and making our own entertainment. Sharing stories, one neighbour might be weaving or sewing or knitting or baking a cake and sharing how to do that, these days the younger ones might be showing the older generation how to play a game on the Xbox!
It’s about creating our own entertainment and our own culture. This has been all the more important during the Covid pandemic when art galleries, theatres and cinemas have been closed to us. It’s because of this that we will continue to encourage the making of Fun Palaces this October, despite the restrictions of the current situation. While there have been some big Fun Palaces and events in previous years, this year we have a vision of a thousand Tiny Fun Palaces around the country! We’ve created guides on how to do this safely during COVID, be it socially-distanced, outdoors in a garden or park, or digitally, maybe by Zoom.
Highland-based textile artist Sue Fraser (pictured above) has been commissioned to produce an artwork which connects the neighbours on her street in Inverness. This all began at the very onset of lockdown when Sue started a Whatsapp group to keep everyone on her street in touch. This made Sue realise that many of the neighbours did not really communicate with each other, and she wanted to change this. Sue began to look at creative ways to bring about change and bring the neighbours on her street together.
From chatting to me about Tiny Fun Palaces happening locally and all around the country, Sue and her neighbours have been planning a socially distanced street ‘Fun Palace’- like a ceilidh-house, with neighbours coming together, sharing skills and exchanging news and stories, with gazebos in gardens.
For 12 years I worked with the NHS in Mental Health Occupational Therapy and it was while I was working at New Craigs Psychiatric Hospital in Inverness that I fell in love with felting. I decided to combine this skill with my love of art and succeeded in producing paintings made of merino wool and silk in bold Scottish colours with fine detail and texture. I’m looking forward to sharing my skills at our street Fun Palace and to meeting some of my neighbours for the very first time and learning skills from them too
As a brilliant artist, Sue has been commissioned by Fun Palaces to create an artwork inspired by her neighbourhood. Sue and her neighbours collaborated to come up with a design for an artwork which would represent them, their street and their Fun Palace. Sue is creating a felted wallhanging depicting views which she and her neighbours can see from their street. As an inspired finishing touch, each neighbour on the Whatsapp Group has sent her a photo of their favourite flower or plant for Sue to incorporate into the wallhanging.
Once completed the community wallhanging will be exhibited at Eden Court. It will also have pride of place at Sue’s Street Fun Palace at Swanston Avenue, Inverness, the weekend of 3rd/4th October, as part of Fun Palaces Weekend, a weekend of national action for community culture and creativity.
Why not sign up your street to be part of this? If you would like to make a Fun Palace on your street or in your community, you can join in by visiting our website www.funpalaces.co.uk or calling Alis, your local Fun Palaces Ambassador, on 07813 796525.
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