Postcards from the Universe Next Door

On this page, you’ll find a selection of the creative ideas which were developed over a weekend residential in Ennerdale in August 2019, where we made “a temporary artistic community, exploring creative ways of being with each other in fellowship, in harmony, in nature.”

Keith Fitton’s creative response to the weekend…


Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre (post code CA23 3AX) lies in the heart of the Ennerdale Valley, a remote landscape being managed back to wilderness:



Within this timeless landscape, The Universe Next Door was a public weekend residential to create a temporary artistic community, and explore creative ways of being with each other in fellowship, in harmony, in nature.

Over the weekend, we made art together – including singing, song writing and composition responding to the natural environment. The project is a way of imagining a more harmonious and sustainable future - a culturally democratic artistic antidote to more commercial forms of mass entertainment, and a means of building and strengthening communities.


Exploring themes of freedom, hope and social justice, there will be music and singing, as well as willow sculpture and other forms of creative expression that you bring with you or wish to explore! Bring your ideas, voice, instruments if you have them, and whatever tools you choose to assist your creative expression…

By “artists,” we mean people of all ages and levels of technical accomplishment (from amateur to professional practitioners) who make and partake of art( s) of all kinds, with the primary intent of making positive differences in people’s lives.
— (Elliott, Silverman & Bowman 2016)

The residential was facilitated by an ensemble of socially engaged musicians including a cappella quartet Mouthful (Bex Mather, Dave Camlin, Katherine Zeserson & Sharon Durant), Dirk Proost (oboeist and improviser) and Sarah Verhulst (Early Years specialist) from Antwerp, NE percussionist Brendan Murphy, and Cumbrian willow artist Phil Bradley.

In / Out

As well as collaborating with each other’s creativity, Dirk will lead us through his innovative In / Out process as a way of collaborating with prison communities around the world, inviting groups of inmates to share a creative fragment (audio snippet, lyric, song) as a stimulus for our own creative ideas. Groups of us will develop these ideas, and record the resulting pieces to be returned back to inmates in a gesture of creative collaboration.

Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre