‏Create Connect Make

Create Connect Make

Create, Connect, Make

‏Create Connect Make is a year-long creative action research project with Jean McEwan, arts organisation The Leap  and Keighley Library to develop and test new creative ideas and activities with communities in Keighley.

The project began in Autumn 2021 and through collaboration between Library staff and volunteers with local people and artists, aims to strengthen and showcase partnerships, and empower local people to lead on cultural events and activities.

To Wander is to Adventure

To Wander is to Adventure

To wander is to adventure

“When we see things like shadows, colour, leaves. We listen to things, really simple things; water, birds, waterfalls. We notice more things.”

To Wander is To Adventure is an ongoing collaboration between Purple Patch Arts and artists Jean McEwan and Chemaine Cooke from Wur Bradford grassroots arts project working with adults with learning disabilities to explore creative and mindful ways to walk.

For 18 months, To Wander is to Adventure took place in Oastler Market, Bradford, exploring its spaces and making connections with its communities.

In 2020, the project was adapted to continue over Zoom, where a new group of participants were introduced to mindfulness, mindful walking techniques and creative practices.

In early 2021, the group were supported to co-create digital mindfulness resources to share their experiences and learning with others, as well as building their skills in creating and leading their own creative mindful activities.

In 2022, the group met online and in person for seasonal walks in nature together to further develop their skills and experience.

Putting Ourselves in The Picture

Putting Ourselves in The Picture

Create, Connect, Make

Jean has been working with Impressions Gallery on Fast Forward: Women in Photography a photography mentoring programme designed to develop the skills and confidence of eight women from refugee backgrounds, empowering them to use photography to tell stories about their own lives.

Jean supported the women to make zines, playfully collaging their family photographs with text. Each created a colourful zine with a personal story that connected the past to their present lives.

The women went on to develop their photography skills with support and mentoring from acclaimed photographers Carolyn Mendelsohn, Arpita Shah, Maryam Wahid, and Anne McNeill and Jane Hiley from Impressions.

The photographs the women made and images from their zines feature in Putting Ourselves in the Picture a new hardback publication with creative writing produced by the group, alongside work created by fourteen other women working with project partners across the UK.

The original zines are being exhibited at the Fast Forward: Women in Photography exhibition ‘Headstrong: Women and Empowerment’  at the Centre for British Photography in London from 26.01.2023 to 30.04.2023.

Zine (detail) by Manar
Zine detail by Manar

Growing Cultures

Growing Cultures​

Growing Cultures

Jean worked with Kirklees Council via their Temporary Contemporary initiative in an ongoing public creative consultation project, ‘Growing Cultures’, engaging with people in Queensgate Market in Huddersfield to explore and test ideas for culture in the district. The project, designed and carried out by Jean, based in Huddersfield’s Kirkgate Market, invited people to imagine, dream and talk about what tomorrow’s culture in Kirklees could be and look like, via a wide range of creative activities, from seed planting to zine making, mapping, and conversations. Jean began a new phase of the project in May 2020.

Jean previously worked with Kirklees Council Creative Economy team in 2016 on the ‘Postcards From the Future’ project.



Circle of Friends go Walking

Circle of Friends Go Walking

Circle of Friends Go Walking was a collaboration between Jean McEwan and Blackburn Circle of Friends group, commissioned by arts programme Super Slow Way as one of their first community residencies. Together Jean and the group explored playful, creative ways of walking, wandering and wondering, in Blackburn and beyond.

During the walks with Jean, the group had conversations, recorded sounds, took photographs and collected found objects as a means of collecting and curating emotions, memories and to develop a sense of place. The group created zines (DIY magazines) as a way of recording its explorations.

The group had been running for 18 years, with many of the current members having attended for years, some since the beginning. Jean said: “We spent a session with the group making personal maps of walks significant to them personally, and now we are in the process of going on these walks together, with each person leading on their own walk.

Kavita lead the first walk, to Corporation Park, where she has happy memories of walking in the summer with her boyfriend. People took photos, recorded sounds, took notes, followed paths and told local history and personal stories. Afterwards, some of the group collected research and did some writing about the experience. We decided that it would be interesting to make a ‘zine (a handmade magazine) containing everyone’s experiences and reflections of the walk – as a kind of alternative guide.“

Watch a video about the project here

Find out more about the project on the Super Slow Way website

Read more about Jean’s approach to the working with the group here

Circle of Friends Go Walking Zine