Conversations with Aldershot 2020 –

With a National Lottery project grant from Arts Council England this arts project aims to collect storeis and experiences of lockdowns from across the town, whilst also sharing with the local community how art can be a powerful way to share experiences.

Working with: Artists Katherine Smith, Jill Kennedy McNeill, Annis Joslin, Amanda Holiday and Louise Jordan, community facilitator/collaborator Candice Camacho, and community organisations Safer Hampshire, West End Centre Aldershot, Rushmoor Voluntary Services and Chapel Arts Studios.


To develop communication strategies for sharing lesser heard stories, especially those of women, during lockdown. Working with a small group of women to creatively share some of these stories publicly. All of this work will become part of the wider archive of lockdown being collected by the local area.

To focus on exploring more mutually beneficially collaboration with communities and ideas of authorship, alongside considering how to work meaningfully with social engagement during a period of social distancing and isolation.

September 2021 Report: The group of women and artists involved in the project have formed a collaboration, the ‘CWA Collaboration group’. One of the aims of this project has been to explore authorship within socially engaged work and by forming a collaboration we have a group in which we can discuss the direction of the project and who/how to engage locally in an effective and locally relevant way. We have a mixture of artists and non artists in the group, I have taken the lead with the support of Candice Camacho, and with other artists involved when creating work, Annis Joslin, Amanda Holiday and Lousie Jordan, I was able to maintain a high level of artistic quality throughout, whilst also ensuring true collaboration with the participants. The non artist individuals involved have been and will be key to the direction of the engagement and they have been paid for their time. 

Alongside this work we have been promoting the project and sharing some photography and text work in the town with the support of Rushmoor Council and the West End Centre. We have had so much interest in the project that we decided to call out for more stories and experiences from people in the town. We have had a great response to this and have collected over 100 thoughts/experiences so far. Our aim was not to collect thousands of stories, but to have a qualitative archive of the town’s experiences of this pandemic. We eventually want to create a publication to record all of this, but first we want to ensure we have collected stories from across the town in an inclusive way which we aim to do in phase two funding permitting. This public engagement and response has allowed us to see how much more of the community would like to engage with art and can see it as a useful tool for sharing experiences and for community participation.

The group’s been brilliant; it’s good to see diversity and, most importantly, hear the voices of women, something which isn’t always done. I found myself looking forward to meeting with you all each week because it felt comforting to share our common expereinces and share in your thoughts about lockdown and the future’.

Sameea Jonnud, Collaboration Gorup

I didn;t know what I would be able to add to the group, but actually I’ve really enjoyed it and felt able to contribute and be heard. I thought everyone would be different to me, but we have loads of shared experiences through lockdown. Being disabled, having the remote sessions also made it easier for me to be involved

Melanie Chiwera, Collaboration Gorup

Follow the project via instagram at @conversations_with_aldershot or Facebook at @conversationswithaldershot