Inspired by the poetics of a letter featured in The Guardian, graphic designer Helen Barlow Scott has curated this digital exhibition of handwritten letters from mothers to their children during lockdown in Leeds.
During the creative and cathartic process of writing the letters, Helen and other mothers were able to process their thoughts, fears and hopes, for themselves and their children. Mothers started reaching out to others, making positive connections, and meanings, that created a network of support and creativity. By writing to their future children, their focus turned to a new life to come, and it inspired hope for the future. Documenting and capturing special little moments put the situation into perspective, and shifted those mundane moments into extraordinary ones. The letters enabled mothers to see they were not alone in their journeys and emotions, but were in it together.
This exhibition proudly documents those mother’s journeys with their children so far and captures a moment in time, that is personal. If we could say anything about the project as a whole, it would be that through the easy days and the tough days, our children are a powerful reminder of resilience.
Women Friendly Leeds recognises that women often carry the majority of the responsibility of childcare and other caring roles. During this pandemic it can present further challenges as they try to work from home, whilst helping their children to thrive in their school work, development and emotions. They are often selflessly juggling tasks to keep a safe, fulfilling and connected environment for others in a very stressful time. This can evoke feelings of guilt and isolation, leading to a breakdown in mental wellbeing.
This project highlights the experiences of these women with their children at this time, the highs and the lows. It’s wonderful to see how the cathartic process of writing to their future children helped to manage their emotions, connections and meanings, and documents a personal moment in time for their children to reflect upon in the future, that’s more than just a newspaper clipping.
Reaching out to parents and carers to get involved
1. Handwrite a letter to a loved one, for them to read in the future, about what life has been like in lockdown and during this pandemic.
2. Take a photo of your letter (in square format) and email it to [email protected] or message via Facebook www.facebook.com/HelenOneLine
Alternatively post your letter to Helen BarlowScott, Aire Place Studios, 143 Kirkstall Road, Leeds LS3 1JL and Helen will photograph it for you.
The letters will be published as part of an ongoing Instagram exhibition. The exhibition is about making positive connections. By writing a for child to read in the future, the focus turns to the new, helping us process the now and inspiring hope.
There is no maximum or minimum word count. You can submit anonymously but don’t let that stop you from liking, sharing and commenting on others. There is no set tone. Just be yourself. Some are funny, some are sad, some give insight into mental health and wellbeing, many are empowering.