I recently received an email from Jo Dyer, Artistic Director for Animate Arts Company. Jo writes:
“I run a participatory arts company called Animate Arts Company. As a group of professional artists, performers and makers, who work all over Kent, and have a joint vision to place creativity in the heart of local communities. We’ve been running for over 11 years now, and have produced and delivered a wide range of projects on a variety of scales. If you fancy having a look at some of our work, we have a growing portfolio on our website www.animatecommunityarts.com.
However, I wanted to share with you specifically a recent commission which was funded by The Happy Museum and The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury. Responding to the history of the building (Dr. Beaney funded the building to be built in Victorian times and started his medical career as an apprentice in an apothecary), we created a life-size apothecary entirely out of paper and card. It was sited within The Beaney and invited museum visitors to engage with the installation, and meet the resident Chemists. Every visitor was prescribed a cultural treatment – a medicine designed to make you feel happy. Treatments connected the ‘patients’ to collections and artworks, and sample the building differently in and around The Beaney, with a view that the treatment would stimulate well-being. We worked alot around the New Economics Foundation paper on ‘5 ways to well-being’ developing this work.
Here you can see a short film about the Apothecary, to give you a better sense of the experience.
I wanted to introduce myself and our company to you, as we are starting to develop and consider ideas for other museums, and also for the First World War centenary. If you feel that our work may be of any interest to you, or may be able to link to your programming, I would be delighted to meet up and chat further. It would also be good to hear more about your work.
The Paper Apothecary project has actually been nominated for an award by The Collections Trust, shortlisted under ‘Best Participatory Practice Award’. We wish Animate Arts and The Beaney the best of luck at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 2nd July.
If this has inspired you to include a creative response to your FWW commemorations, then get in touch with Jo and the team at, firstname.lastname@example.org.