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  • Michelle

Myth making in the time of coronavirus

Big news! I’m excited to share that I’ve been selected to create a new piece of work as part of GMCA’s first round of COVID-19 Creative Commissions. As well as providing much-needed opportunities for Greater Manchester artists right now, the Creative Commissions programme will also create a unique archive, documenting responses to the pandemic through stories and art. There are 60 of us in the first round of awards, a mix of writers, visual artists, musicians, games makers, all sorts! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

So what will I be creating?

As human beings we have a tendency to spin yarns from our experiences. To cast heroes and villains, plot dramatic journeys, moments of change and catharsis. From everyday conversations to ancient myths, stories help us make sense of the world out there and our place within it. So, as part of my response I’d like to explore the role of storytelling during times of conflict and crisis, and to experiment with the stories we’re currently telling ourselves to create a short prose piece and accompanying linoleum print to illustrate the story.

But rather than tell my own story, I’d like to create something that approaches a more collective narrative in the way that oral storytelling traditions used to – where myths and folklore were woven together from shared customs, beliefs and experiences. My intention is to create something that captures elements of our shared experience right now, from the mundane to the unexpected, and recast them in a mythical, folkloric mode.

So! I need your help… I want to hear from you. How you’re feeling. What you’re thinking. All the ways your life has changed. What you’re afraid of. What you’re looking forward to. How you’re coping...

If you’re happy to share your thoughts with me, you’ll find a few questions on the link below. Be honest – it’s all anonymous! Once I have a few responses, I’m then hoping to weave together universal threads and to use these as a jumping off point to create a new, fictional work.

This is quite a different process to how I usually create new work, but this feels like such a strange time and the cultural shift so huge and so visible… it’s a unique opportunity to create a collective narrative. As I haven’t worked in this way before, the result might be more ‘exquisite corpse’ than modern myth, but I think it could be an interesting approach… up for it?

Deadline: Fri 24 April*

Thank you so much, love and solidarity to you all x

*I’ve set a deadline for responses to give me time to write a tale and create a lino print in time for the commission deadline.

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