If I could go back to every project I’ve worked on, I would have insisted on some element of legacy to allow the participants to continue their conversations. I would have kept in touch with every single contact in my phone.
But the sad truth is it’s simply not possible. They move on, you move on. Your next SE-PS funding allocation arrives and you embark on a new project. And I know, considering I have often worked with an older demographic, that some of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of talking to have died.
I take comfort in knowing that for a few short hours, I listened to their stories, and somehow, in whatever small manner, celebrated their lives and validated their experiences. That’s all we can do in the world of co-production and participatory engagement. We’re not trying to change the world, we’re simply trying to listen a little harder to voices that may never have been heard. More painful still for me, is the memory of working with people with dementia, some of whom are still alive but none of whom would remember me now.
All I can offer is the hope that your project will look to find some means of creating a legacy.
For Inch, we intended the website to have a blog option, for the community themselves to add additional words and images. Whether that has been successful, only time will tell.
I’m writing this on April the 23rd, and it being William Shakespeare’s birthday, I thought I might a quote which seems to suit the humour of this page.
Prospero’s words from the Tempest.
You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismay’d: be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
We are all such stuff as dreams are made on. Every individual has a unique and extraordinary story to tell.
We do our best work by celebrating every single one of them.