Here's something a bit different to help create a sense of community in those dark autumn/winter/early spring days.
Imagine your neighbourhood’s ordinary windows transformed into something you’ve never seen before, a magical mystery tour where your streets become an outdoor gallery. Take a wander amongst these displays, see your community in a new light as all generations come together in a fun, creative way. It also raises funds for a local cause.
In 2015, Lucy Reeves Khan created an initiative called Window Wanderland out of her own experience. “I was stuck in the home for many years because of chronic pain. While doing short therapeutic walks around the block, in the winter darkness to hide my disability, I noticed that if the curtains were open in neighbours houses, I didn’t feel the pain so much. For years I assumed I was just a nosy parker, but I realised that the light and openness made me happier.”
Lucy, a set designer, imagined the streets being alive with people looking at different displays, snapshots of life like a cat asleep on a sofa, a TV playing a favourite film, disco lights or even live music. The seed was sown for Window Wanderland, so she created one in Bristol when people were getting stir crazy from the Winter, waiting for the Spring to come. The event was such an amazing success she saw that: it lifted other people’s spirits too, it strengthened her belief in the power of people, of play, and that everyone has at least one creative bone in their body even if they can’t see it.
Whatever one's circumstances, they can join in this event by either coming out of their home on the night or making a display in their own home. It is accessible to everyone, easy to take part in and a unique way to get to know your neighbours.
“It gets hundreds of people out and about and appreciating that previously rather faceless and anonymous houses in their community are actually lived in by fun, creative people with something to say. Suddenly they are more than just houses.” Bristol resident.
Other areas wanted to put this on and so Lucy created a toolkit for organisers to use.
This is not an event that needs to be ‘created for you‘, it’s for your community to make from the ground up, the community is the show. It’s an opportunity for the community to ‘wander‘: go down roads ones never been down, alleyways one didn’t know existed, feel proud of where you live. You can say anything you want, make something out of anything you want and the best bit is, you don’t have to buy anything. Those who feel isolated in their communities can participate, so that everyone can join in the fun.
Here is a short video:
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Geoff Knott, 28/03/2017