Anne Basting is the founder of TimeSlips. That’s an improvised creative storytelling method used with seniors. She set up this innovative practice in 1998. TimeSlips opens storytelling to everyone by replacing the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine.
Using images as prompts, a trained TimeSlips practitioner co-creates a story with a group of seniors. They create a safe environment to share ideas and by using open questions. The story is then shared with the wider community, in all kinds of amazing ways. From plays and puppet shows, to poetry slams and exhibitions.
I met with Anne, and asked some questions about the process. I’m focusing my research on writer development, but Anne made some interesting points that allowed me to rethink a little.
I said, What are the best ways to support writers before, during and after working with seniors. Where can they find support? It can be a tough environment to enter…
Anne replied that if the writer or artist is feeling a little isolated or sad or disorientated after leaving a care facility, the older person is probably feeling the same. A lot of the time, actually.
Nothing is ever done alone, artists are part of a ‘community of practice’. Everyone involved in a TimeSlips project is in it together.
The aim for any great project is for everyone leave feeling better. And for them to carry that feeling with them afterwards. Everything should be part of the same system, part of the same a community.
That’s a really helpful viewpoint. Instead of thinking of the artist as a lonely figure wandering through a care home, perhaps it’s better to consider how each person is an island but that a creative project might offer a way to connect everyone.