Session 4 – 12th June

Looking at the past, gives us an opportunity to celebrate achievements and unsung heroes. We can also observe what was not so successful and change it into something better.

It was when I visited The Glasgow School of Art in May 2018 that I chatted to an American couple, who were also looking into their Scottish heritage. They gave me the info about the Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh that abandoned their strict disciplinarian approach in 1916 and replaced it with “Culture Therapy”. They also helped me see the vast amount of mental health discrimination, even with our war heroes suffering from PTSD.

My father didn’t ever mention his mental health issues during WW2 because he thought that was the best way of dealing with it. However the effect of it filtered down the generations and affected every member of my family detrimentally. I was the “black sheep” because I thought it best to talk about the underlying issues that resulted in our ultra-dysfunctional family. However the icy silence combined with the resulting atmosphere of hate, created far more issues for all of us.


Photo by Amanda Clair

On the 16th June 2018 The Glasgow School of Art was destroyed by fire. I took some photos of their visual arts exhibition. I was struck by the content. It had moved on from Tracy Emins art work and I found it even more disturbing It portrayed a man jumping off a building. At the UEA there is also a sculpture of a man, looking as though he is about to jump off a building. However when I did Art Therapy in 1989-1991 I found I could access difficult suppressed trauma, paint it in my pictures and then leave that trauma on the paper. I would always then paint a more positive picture to replace it and focus on a more positive outcome I stayed at a B&B next to the Rene Macintosh building…a beautiful feat of architecture. though it needed a lift for my heavy luggage!!!! It was a great privilege, especially now it has been destroyed. Good memories for me and good outcomes.


Photo by Amanda Clair

The Burgh Castle Almanac project is proving far more beneficial to me than I ever imagined. On the 12th June I produced my first oil pastel drawing for many years. Some tourists jokingly offered me a million pounds for it. If only!!! The Mindfulness walking took me to the present moment so I could take in the beauty of the area. I could hear the birds, the rustling reeds, The colours seemed brighter and I could smell the fresh air. I demonstrated Alternate Nostril Breathing which, for me is an easy way to relax and focus on mindfulness breathing. When I first started practising this in 1993 I couldn’t breathe through my nose because of the congestion. However as time went on it improved considerably and now my breathing is even except when I am stressed and overwhelmed with too many challenges. I find a drop of Tea Tree essential oil on my pillow at night will help prevent a cold developing It is said Tea Tree has antibiotic properties.

The steep climb up to Burgh Castle on arrival would have been totally impossible for me a few years ago, before I started mindfulness, yoga and then other alternative methods. My ketogenic diet has also helped improve my health. Instead of getting my energy from sugar and carbohydrates, the keto diet derives energy from good fats and nutrients from vegetables etc.

In such a peaceful environment with people I resonate with I find it easier to process past trapped trauma and release it from my body. Thank you to everyone for your acceptance and support. Thank you to all those for teaching me how to use my new camera, that was a Christmas present. The blue sari, blowing in the wind represented to me the letting go of the past, in a very positive way.

Text and artwork by Jeanette Beynon

Burgh Castle in 19th Century Art

Some examples of Burgh Castle Fort in art from the 19th century, from our creative facilitator Ian Brownlie.


Henry Stannard (1870-1951)

John Crome (1794-1842)


John Arnesby Brown (1866-1955)


James Stark (1794-1859)

Creative responses to BCA so far…

Once a month during Burgh Castle Almanac participants meet at Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth to develop creative work reflecting on their experiences at Burgh Castle. During the first month of BCA we have already seen some brilliant work from participants produced during sessions with creative facilitator Ian Brownlie and at home between sessions, here is a selection.

See more in Artwork.

by Sue Tyler

by Sue Tyler

Session 3 – 29 May 2018 – Two blog posts from our latest trip to Burgh Castle Fort

I’ve been asked to write a piece for the Restoration Trust about the time I have spent at Burgh Castle recently.

I was approached a couple of months ago to be a part of this group. I’d never done anything like this before so I was intrigued by it all. I attended the first session and just kept to myself and took in all the information that was shared with us. I was unable to make the second session so on my 3rd session I took my tablet along to try to get some videos and pictures as I would of felt uncomfortable using the cameras that where provided. So we started our walk around the site and I could see how much growth has happened so quickly with new plants popping up, the smell of the different plants and all the different bugs. It amazed me how it’s changed so little over time. I sat down after taking some photos to have my lunch and it was so nice hearing the birds, running water, everyone just chatting and other members of the public enjoying their day out too. Ian then got out – (that I can only explain as something looking like tin foil) – when the wind got blowing it looked liked water and the sound coming from it was amazing. I took a video of this and made it in slow motion. It was so therapeutic for me. We then took a walk by the river and it was so nice hearing the water and just chatting to different people. I’m going to finish here as if it the post is well received I may write more.

   

Photos and text by John Durrant

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The first thing I noticed at Burgh Castle was the vast growth in the vegetation since my last visit on 25th April.
The meadow of wild flowers we walked through to the castle was like a visualisation I used to do.
Visualising my own meadow back in the 1990’s ,with all the beautifully coloured plants and flowers with birds singing and the gentle breeze swishing and swirling through the vegetation, took me away from my challenging life, to a place of peace and beauty and safety.
Instead of the castle and Broads in the distance I visualised a gurgling stream.
I would sit beside it and I would be lulled into a feeling of being totally at one with myself and this idyllic place I’d found within my mind.
It was great that Sam showed us what to look out for when identifying flowers and plants. This hands-on learning is so valuable and inspiring. I actually did my first drawing since I created an animation of a story I had written in 2014. My Black Cat. I wasn’t even stressed about the phone call telling me about my H&S inspection tomorrow. It was helpful when I got home that I needed to find various things for our next session because that encouraged me to tidy up while getting them out. Instead of my usual panic attack my H&S check went extremely well in my new home.
Many thanks to all of you.

Drawing and text by Jeannette Beynon

Session 2 – 15 May 2018

Culture therapy at Burgh Castle and Time and Tide Museum

by Jeannette Beynon

I came across Culture Therapy when doing an online Genealogy course which helped me look into more of my family history My father went into hospital during WW2 while in the RAF after having a tooth out and experiencing neuralgia. While investigating this I found out about another hospital in Edinburgh, the Craiglockhart Hospital in WW1 for traumatised military personnel. Their treatment was changed from very strict discipline that disregarded any sort of illness in 1916 because it just didn’t help the  traumatised men. A more therapeutic approach encouraged the men to get back into everyday life, and they were supported into a type of work experience, helping out on farms and even in schools. Coincidentally this was called Culture Therapy in 1916.

Our Burgh Castle Almanac project is helping us to visit places of historical interest and to look into the history of our area. The project includes us using art forms to record our experiences and perceptions when we go to Burgh Castle Roman Fort. This session we were at Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth, with artist Ian Brownlie.

Manipulating our photographs with the gimp2 software is both challenging for me (being older and not brought up with technology) and exciting. A few years ago I made an animation of one of my own short stories about my cat in a media class, and today will help me return to doing more photography and art, which I’ve enjoyed since school.

Looking round Time & Tide Museum today was brilliant. Museums are so much more hands-on and interesting now than I remember them being back in the 1950s. It was fascinating to hear Malcolm’s experiences of working on the herring boats and his travels all over the world back in the 1960s and 70s. He knew exactly what the fishing relics were at the museum and had even owned some of them himself. Others in the group have so much knowledge of the area too and they gave personal social accounts of the history of Great Yarmouth. Adrian talked about developing his interest in archaeology when young and finding artefacts which he didn’t realise then could have been quite valuable. Other members spoke of their expertise in photography and different art forms and their different ideas and personal stories of the
area.

The best part for me of the Time and Tide Museum was going down the reconstructed lane of 1900 in Great Yarmouth. The tiny houses with all the different occupants, the chemist shop, the sail maker, the more affluent home, the child’s room with the mother and child in it; so many different types of houses, so closely packed together. It gave me a glimpse into their world in the 1900’s and the close sense of community there must have been.

My added interest included taking along today my father’s photos of his “house parties” in Great Yarmouth in 1927, when he and “the gang” from London went on holiday there.

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My own first holiday photos were of Great Yarmouth in June 1947 when I was a baby. I’m playing on the beach with my 2 older siblings and we are wearing out our poor parents with our excitement of being at the seaside, as children do.

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I look forward to getting back into my art and photography and creating my own record of this area which will include the history right up to the present day. Many thanks for including me on this really interesting project.

 

Orientation and Session 1

Our new project Burgh Castle Almanac began on 24th April with an Orientation session for participants, staff, support workers and volunteers at Burgh Castle Roman Fort.

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Medieval Church at Burgh Castle  by Jeannette Beynon

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The horses going up to Burgh Castle  by Jeannette Beynon

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Part of the Castle wall  by Jeannette Beynon

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by Jeannette Beynon

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The view from the Castle to the River Waveney  by Jeannette Beynon

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The first session took place on 1st May at Burgh Castle Fort. Participants worked with creative facilitator Ian Brownlie and learnt about the photographic survey technique which will be used to monitor a leaning section of the wall.

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Participants also took their first set of fixed point photos in various locations around the site. This will be repeated monthly during the project.

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Fixed point 1: View of entrance into the Fort site

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Fixed point 2: View of Fort in the distance

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Fixed point 3: View of left-hand (south) section of Fort east wall

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Fixed point 4: View of tumbled wall at south end

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Fixed point 5: View looking back to Fort from river

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Fixed point 6: View of river from north end of boardwalk

Our next session takes place at Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth on 15th May.