Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Arts & Disability Ireland 'Connect-Mentoring'

Sometimes life manages to join (all) the dots...
Póilin Puppet reading the Arts & Disability Ireland Connect  letter
Póilin reading the Arts and Disability Ireland
Connect letter

After a tough year of decline in health, and fighting the HSE (our national health service) to gain adequate support to be able to remain living at home, a very welcome large green envelope landed on my hall floor about a month ago. 
It was a letter from Arts & Disability Ireland with the amazing news that I was granted a Mentoring Bursary through the "Connect" scheme, to work with Dr. Emma Fisher, artistic director and puppeteer at 'Beyond the Bark'. Emma just completed her PhD in Puppetry and Disability.

I met Emma two years ago, when I was invited to give a talk at the first ever 'Broken Puppet Symposium on Puppetry, Disability and Health' organised by Emma. This event brought me into a whole 'new' astonishing world. A world I was part of but didn't know... Since this first encounter I have been invited to give talks in the UK, Cork, also via Skype in Brazil and Chile.  This mentoring opportunity is a beautiful continuation of the journey my puppets have brought me on... while hardly leaving my home.

While still in hospital in February, Emma and myself started thinking about the possibility to apply for this mentoring opportunity. Emma read the guidelines as at the time I was so unwell that I was unable to think straight. But the seed was planted.
Over the following 6 weeks or so, I carefully minded this precious seed. It grew. Writing the application, literally a few minutes at the time, helped me to 'find my brain' again. And to focus on something good, rather than the huge challenged my body bestowed on me.
Sending off the application was a triumph. I was grateful for having found that spark again. The spark in my creative brain. To having looked carefully at the application and to truly look my current state of health into the eyes. To find a way forward in my creative life. 
It ignited a spark of life, within my not so lively life...
To actually be awarded the bursary was/is a huge icing on the cake.
Thank you all at Arts & Disability Ireland for awarding me this great honour to explore what I can do with the puppets I have created over the years, but for which I have lost the ability to perform their stories.

We started the mentoring process last week with a Skype session. Tomorrow Emma will be in my house/studio. We are breaking down the meeting in very short sessions. The main objectives are to help me write a play or script for a film to tell the stories of my puppets/me. Also to explore alternative puppetry (from my usual puppets) for example shadow puppetry. For now I won't yet share the details of the themes which are emerging, but in a nutshell they will be about life with chronic illness/disability.

What is exciting for me is that a lot of my past creative work (some from before illness, which struck me 21 years ago)  my writing, my love of books, scribbles from years past, the need of solitude and meditation, a story I have 2/3 written, short videos I made of the puppets, notes I have gathered, the more recent challenges and 'rising from the ashes', all seems to be part of this new adventure. Life manages to 'join the dots'. 
During the past 2 weeks I started to compile scribbles and glue in images in a dedicated scrapbook. My 'storyboard'. 

Chuffed to have this opportunity to explore how I can bring my story out there through this exciting medium.

Stay tuned!

Further reading
There are many puppet related blog post on this Blog, including talks from Brazil and Chile,  and on my website

See Support video for application to introduce my puppets


Annie P said...

You continue to be an inspiration in all the ways you fight through the problems of deteriorating health to regain your creative life. I hope those dispiriting doctors at the hospital are aware of your progress and are suitably ashamed seeing your incredible determination since you escaped from their clutches. This latest news is joyful indeed and will result in more joy for all of us who share in your victory. You have achieved so much since those recent dark days. You turned all the negativity into everything positive - re-organising your home and garden; new paths cleared for thinking and imagining. Like my copper owl, you are ready for take-off and I am so looking forward to watching you fly...

Unknown said...

Wow Corina I am absolutely delighted for you!!!! Fantastic.
Kind regards,

Corina Duyn said...

Thank you both!
So sorry for incredibly slow reply. I simply didnt see the comments. (oops)