Necklace of stars social isolation project exhibition

Necklace of stars social isolation project exhibition

A Necklace of Stars was set up pre-Covid-19 to tackle isolation and loneliness in housebound older adults in Derbyshire. The original plan had been for individuals to receive one-to-one sessions in their own home with either artist Lois Blackburn or poet Philip Davenport.

Covid-19 happened and our approach had to change – A Necklace of Stars quickly became a remote embroidery and creative writing project where participants received weekly one to one phone calls from the artists, emails where required and parcels of all the materials they needed for the project sent through the post. Artist Lois Blackburn, poet Philip Davenport and songwriter Matt Hill worked with nearly 100 participants, talking for months over the phone.

“Art isn’t usually considered to be an emergency service, but during the lockdowns this was a lifeline to isolated people. Out of something terrible we managed to conjure some little glimmers of hope.” (Phil Davenport, project poet)

A Necklace of Stars celebrates childhood and the night sky in words, song and stitches. The project is a testimony to the power of human connection and creativity in the face of lockdowns and isolation. All of the embroidered stars have now been brought together to create a beautiful quilt
which is being exhibited around Derbyshire’s cultural venues, alongside a catalogue of poems and a lullaby soundtrack.

Exhibition dates and venues:

  • Ashbourne Library: 27th April – 31st May 2022
  • Derby Museum of Making: 6th June - 31st August 2022
  • Erewash Museum, Ilkeston: 3rd September - 28th September 2022
  • Buxton Museum & Art Gallery: 28th September - 6th December 2022
  • Chesterfield Library: 8th December 2022 - 31st January 2023
  • Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock: From February 2023 (final date still tbc)

Listen to the lullabies:
Download the digital catalogue (or add it to this page if possible):

Lois Blackburn, artist: ​​
Matt Hill, songwriter:
Poet Phil Davenport’s reflections on the project:

Images and writing from the project:

A Necklace of Stars is an Arts Council England supported collaboration between Arts
Derbyshire, DCC Public Health, Derbyshire Library Services and artists Lois Blackburn,
Philip Davenport and Matt Hill.

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