Writing, Applied Theatre and
Reminiscence Art for Wellbeing
The Tapestry Project SG
The Tapestry Project is a voluntary ground-up initiative, not-for-profit online publication run by persons-in-recovery who share a passion for mental health awareness, education and empowerment. Founded in 2014, The Tapestry Project champions mental health recovery through the power of first-person stories and aims to inspire hope and challenge mindsets associated with mental health, illness, and recovery today.
McGowan combines her knowledge and training in applied theatre (Drama in the Community and Drama education) and counselling to work with young people. She has designed and conducted arts-based, experiential workshops in schools with teachers and students, to promote understanding of mental health and self-care; self-harm and suicide prevention; spotting and managing harmful behaviours; self-esteem. She has worked with organisations including the Community Rehabilitation Centre; Singapore's only female halfway house, The Turning Point; The Esplanade (Singapore); and Outside Edge Theatre Company (London). Other applied theatre work includes drama workshops with people in recovery; working with transgender youth exploring science and gender, and mentoring a project about the stigma behind mental illness.
Established in 2017, Reminisce Connect is an initiative spearheaded by couple Patricia and Arthur, to foster meaningful engagement and bonding amongst elderlies, their caregivers and care professionals. It currently offers two flagship programmes namely: Take off Your Cap! and Tell me Your Story Pa and Me!. Guided by the Curated Archives of Person’s belongings (CAP), the former is a 12-week group reminiscence programme uses role-play and artefacts such as photographs, oral history interviews, audio visual materials, music and art to trigger the elderly senses, stimulate memories of the past and encourage the elderly to tell their stories, voice their opinions and share their feelings. The latter is a customised reminiscence program for caregivers, volunteers and professionals to develop interviewing skills to enable them to better connect, communicate and document their life story. Reminisce Connect also worked closely with the Alzheimer’s Disease Association Singapore to develop the Journey with Arts and Dementia (JADe), a reminiscence and art engagement programme for their day care centre clients under the Family of Wisdom programme. Reminisce Connect also collaborated with learning institutions such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic, School of the Arts (SOTA) to promote awareness and appreciation of reminiscence work.
Erudite Stories promotes the art of storytelling, spreading stories that educate and make us wiser. The stories evoke feelings, memories or images in our minds. The stories excite our curiosity about our surroundings and people. Erudite Stories has worked with ages from 3 to 93 because stories appeal to young and old. Erudite Stories and has, with the support of National Arts Council, developed successful online and face-to-face programmes for older people such as ‘Treasures of The Heart’, ‘Stories and Rhymes of My Youth’, ‘Grandpa and Grandma Tell You A Story’. The most recent Silver Arts project ‘Telling Your Stories, Sharing Your Memories’ is one where the participants went through a process of reminiscence using exhibits from Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre’s SINGAPO⼈ exhibition as well as folktales . The videos of the above-mentioned projects are shared to the public on youtube.
Currently, the director of Erudite Stories, a full-time storyteller since 2005, Ms Wong Swee Yean, runs a monthly programme in collaboration with the National Library Board called StoryingSeniors. In 2021 and 2022, Swee Yean conducted a series of workshops at the library called "My Wealth of Stories" where older adults were guided through a process of reminiscence to recall memories and share them as an audio recording. They learnt the basics of how to craft and present a personal story with confidence. Some of the graduates of the workshop continue to meet monthly to craft stories and present them. The participants have commented that the process not only stimulates the mind, helps to improve memory but also connected them socially. Theatre games are played in each session to build confidence amongst the seniors. The continuous action of storying by seniors is therefore the name of the group. The participants do plan to showcase their stories to a public audience once or twice a year.