The Arts End of Somewhere is an arts collective based in Dumfries. Over the last 2 years, they have worked together to create inclusive theatre performances and learn how to produce and perform multi-sensory stories. Seven members of the group; Courtney Scriven, Faye Cattanach, India O’Mara, Katie Wright, Sarah Law, Skye Hughes and Zoe Charlesworth came together in April 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, after being given the opportunity to publish one of their stories by Curly Tale Books.
Meeting regularly via Zoom, the group decided that they wanted to create a picture book for their multi-sensory adapted story The Kippford Mermaid, a tale based on the local folk tale The Mermaid of Barnhourie written in local Author Alan Temperley’s book ‘Tales of Galloway’. The group were drawn to this story because it was about romance and rescue. They also felt that a book about a mermaid would be something their readers would enjoy.
Once they had decided which story they would publish, the group set about deciding how best to bring the story to life using interactive multi-sensory props and how to include this in the book in a way that was accessible and affordable to all. With the support of the publisher these activities are now incorporated in the book. Resources can also be found on the Author’s webpage at https://pamis.org.uk/creative-arts/the-arts-end-of-somewhere.
As part of the process, the group enjoyed working with Shalla Gray during illustration workshops where they learnt a variety of watercolour and collage techniques. They then took great pride in creating 2 pages each that are featured in the book. Author and Illustrator India O’Mara commented ‘I loved it’ when asked about her experience designing the illustration process.
Once their designs were completed, their original illustrations were collected by Heather Molloy (Programme Lead, PAMIS) and taken to Shalla who worked on putting them together with the text to make this very special book. The group were thrilled to receive the proof copy of the book and were delighted to see how it had come together.
One of the members of the group, Skye Hughes says ‘I’m so proud of this and it is amazing that people will read our story and parents can share it with their kids’. The group are hoping that the production of this book will support those with profound learning and multiple disabilities (PMLD) and their families to explore a local folk tale in a way that has never been possible before.
They hope that people enjoy their book and taking part in the different activities. To share photographs or pictures, readers can visit the group’s Facebook page @ArtsEndOfSomewhere
Blog kindly written by Heather Molloy.
Image taken by Kim Ayres.