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Moving Together, our latest creative project, explores loneliness and belonging. This is a research project with anthropologist Dr. Bronwyn Tarr. Some of you will feel the issue is more relevant than ever. So many of us feel a sense of isolation because of the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
We talked with members of the Archway Foundation (a charity supporting those who suffer loneliness). Their words were very emotional and striking, inspiring drawings, movement sequences and sounds.
 
Out of these seeds of inspiration have come evocative dance pieces. Captured on film, the original participants now have ‘video gifts’ of their words. See the gallery below to watch the ‘gifts’ for yourself.
 
They also played a part in a bigger experiment during the IF Oxford Festival of Science and Ideas. This involved an epic virtual flashmob. People could learn the moves of the ‘gifts’ in a series of dance workshops at the festival, and then take part in the mass dance event. You can see the tutorials by clicking on the button below. 
IF Oxford also hosted the premiere of the Moving Together short film, followed by a panel discussion with members of the team behind it, researchers and participants. Click on the link below to watch.

We are now making a second edition of the project at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire. Using the same methodology, we have talked with staff, officers, family members and reservists from a wide range of ages and ranks at the base. Their experiences of loneliness and belonging are very different and have inspired new ‘video gifts’ for those taking part. These will be shared here and on our social channels in May 2021.

Dancers & Dance Makers
Gemma Peramiquel
Miles Kearley
Anja Meinhardt
Junior Cunningham
Krystal Campbell
Daniel Seven

Artistic Director & Dramaturg
Anja Meinhardt

Research Director
Dr. Bronwyn Tarr

Composer & Sound Designer
Quentin Lachapele

Film Maker
Michael Lynch

Choreographer
Gemma Peramiquel

Graphic Designer
Brace Design

“What about me?”

You’re expected to be a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a support worker but sometimes you kind of lose yourself. And you kind of think “what about me?

Jo, participant

“I don’t belong to anyone”

I don’t belong to anyone. […] I think what’s really important in life, more important than anything, even love, is to be needed by somebody.

Roseanne, participant

“It’s a feeling of being cut off”

With people or on my own, it’s a feeling of being cut off and isolated whatever is around me, it doesn’t necessarily make a difference…

Mary, participant

“I’m traveling further into that crack”

[Loneliness] feels like I’m entering a crack in the wall that only I can fit in and as the loneliness deepens I feel like I’m traveling further into that crack…

Chris, participant

Dates

Moving Together was part of the IF Oxford Festival of Science and Ideas throughout October 2020. A series of dance workshops taught the moves from ‘video gifts’ to create an online flashmob. Anyone could take part in the fun, uplifting shared experience.

A short film about the project premiered at IF Oxford on 29th October followed by a Q&A with the team.
 
Online dance workshops 5-10 October in 2020
 
Virtual Flashmob 24 October 2020
 
Moving Together Film plus Q&A 29 October 2020

If you are struggling with loneliness and social isolation, or know someone who might be, reach out to others and seek help. You are not alone.

**UK-based helplines if you need a listening ear**
Samaritans (available: 24 hours Daily), call: 116 123
The Silver Line (available: 24 hours Daily), call: 0800 470 8090
Shout (available 24 hours Daily), Text SHOUT to 85258
Age UK (available: 8am–7pm Daily), call: 0800 6781602
Age Scotland (available: 9am-5pm Mon- Fri), call: 0800 12 44 222
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (available: 9.30am-4pm Mon-Fri), call: 0808 801 0899
Alone Ireland (available: 8am–8pm Daily), call: 0818 222 024
Breathing Space (available: 6pm–2am Mon-Thurs & 6pm Fri–6am Mon), call: 0800 83 85 87

**Ask for support through a befriending network near you**
Befriending Network (UK)

**Join the Archway foundation**
The Archway Foundation (UK)

**Join a Connection Coalition Facebook group**
To discuss ideas, inspirations and challenges around connection at this time: https://www.facebook.com/groups/connectioncoalition

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