“A Real Lifeline”: The Doorstep Project and connecting in isolation

The Horniman Museum and Gardens has been working with Redstart Arts – a local group of talented artists with learning disabilities – on a lockdown project.

The ‘Doorstep Project’ saw local artist and founder of Redstart Arts, Cash Aspeek, deliver art packs to each participant and chat to them at a safe distance on the doorstep. The artists were known as ‘redstarts’.

The art pack was put together with the Horniman, and contained images from the collection, as well as exciting art materials to experiment with.

2020 taught us all about the importance of PPE – from taking our masks when we went to the shop, to donating what protective wear we could to local hospitals. But did you know lots of animals have their own methods of protecting themselves?

This was the focus of the project, with participants learning how to camouflage themselves like an animals, and about the different ways animals protect themselves.

Creating the art proved therapeutic for many of the families, in the stress of lockdown.

“We usually work on a Sunday, sitting next to each other at the dining room table. I find that these times are therapeutic for both of us in that we are both calm, peaceful and focussed.”
Sharon, a parent

Not only did the project create a focused, artistic atmosphere, it provided some much needed socially distanced socialising too.

“It’s been a real life line… we all look forward to the art pack arriving each week and enjoy chatting with Cash on the doorstep.”
Maxine, a parent

The finished artworks were then embroidered onto circular material, before being used to create the final piece – Net Curtain.

The project proves that even when we can’t be physically be together, there are still ways to connect. From doorstep chats to collaborative art works, with projects like this, no one is ever really alone.

The Doorstep Project is supported through funding from Arts Council England.

The final art work will be displayed at the Horniman as well as in the window of London Road Sainsbury’s.

Supported by