Project Description

Only a few months ago life was very different, unable to leave the house for more than two hours a day, social distancing became the norm and we were no longer able to visit or even hug our friends and family. Guernsey was in lockdown.

During this time our team at Health Connections, because of a brainwave of Herm School teacher Mary Carey lunched the Islands Lockdown project-The Invisible Occupation. The project aimed to record and document people’s experiences and to capture the thoughts and feelings of the community during the very surreal time when the Bailiwick and the wider world was in the grasps of a pandemic.

Islanders were asked to create a lockdown journal using any medium of their choice: words; pictures; photos; collages; cuttings from newspapers or magazines. The journals can include just about anything people can think of to describe the emotions they experienced during lockdown and how they felt about social distancing. The project, supported by Guernsey Arts Commission, the Guernsey Literary Festival, Guernsey Museums and the Guille Alles Library, wanted to find a way to encapsulate the historical and social importance of what the community went through.

Health Connections also wanted to highlight feelings of loneliness that may often be felt by members of the community in their every day lives and better understand the challenges that come with isolation. Bella Farrell, CEO of Health Connections said “We are hoping this collection will serve as an important reminder of the need for compassionate communities which support people who ordinarily live in isolation due to long term chronic illness, disability or frailty.“

As part of the project an exhibition will be held, called the Invisible Occupation, in the Health Connections PRELOVED shop in Smith Street (formerly the old Guernsey Press shop) from the 5th – 12th September. The exhibition will be open to the public in our CONNECT community space during shop opening times 9am – 5.30pm. To give people an opportunity to connect and meet some of the contributors to the exhibition, the shop will stay open from 5.30pm on the 5th September where there will be live poetry, music, drinks and nibbles. Health Connections have already had some inspiring and thought provoking submissions including a life portrait of a frontline healthcare worker, a detailed daily journal, interviews and a montage of artwork created by Arts For Impact.

The submissions also shine a light on the many positives that came out of lockdown, such as spending more time with your immediate family, building stronger connections and having more time to be creative as well as highlighting what is really important in our everyday lives. With decorative stone arrangements taking to the shorelines and hedge veg and other stalls popping up everywhere, a great array of creativity and community support was displayed. One of those stalls, Les Frenes Bakery, will be at the open day with their delicious cakes and sausage rolls for sale. Les Frenes bakery was established during lockdown by a family with three young children and a passion for baking.

Health Connections would very much like the wider community to contribute to the exhibition as well. There is still time to get involved as submissions will be accepted until the 31st August 2020 and can be dropped off at the Health Connections Smith Street PRELOVED shop. Original copies can be hand delivered in an envelope marked Invisible Occupation Project. Please also state your name, age, email address and number so the work can be returned to you afterwards. If you would like to submit online or have any further questions regarding the project please email invisibleoccupation@gmail.com