Common Threads: A brief history


Common Threads 2009 - 2010

The first Common Threads project and showcase exhibition was devised, curated and delivered by Jane Hardstaff through her role as Community Learning Officer Derby Museum, funded through Renaissance East Midlands.  The project brought together historical textiles from the museum’s collections with contemporary arts, crafts and poetry created through a programme of collaborative community engagement. The project had around 100 participants, thousands of visitors and was used a model of best practice by Renaissance East Midlands.


Feedback from visitors:-

 Beautifully presented. The exhibition breathes life into the museum. Truly delightful!

Beautiful displays, informative captions. Overall, very interesting. The best two hours I’ve spent in a long time.

Very creative, a lovely experience throughout. My children and myself enjoyed our visit.


Common Threads 2013

Through a NIACE Community Learning grant in 2013, Common Threads became a project supporting learning and wellbeing, with a focus on new communities and adults with mental health problems. It took inspiration from the collections at Derby Museums and the history we all share. In a partnership with Derby Museums and Derbyshire Mind, project leaders were Jane Hardstaff and Caron Kirkham, textile workshops were conceived and led by Philippa Larkam, qualified adult tutor and textiles expert. The project included a programme of learning opportunities, creative workshops and a small showcase of the work produced. The positive response from participants to the textile element of the project and its potential to improve wellbeing inspired group leaders to source funding to continue the project.


Common Threads 2013-15

Philippa has continued to lead workshops in both residential mental health care settings and at Derby Museum, enabling Common Threads to develop into a project supporting wellbeing through creativity, funded by Derbyshire Mind, the NHS Mental Health Trust and supported by Derby Museums.  Focussing on textile crafts, learning and sharing textile skills and techniques, it took inspiration from historical collections and facilitated visits to museums and galleries. It’s benefits to wellbeing were clearly observed by participants and staff and supported by an independent project review carried out through Derby College.


Common Threads 2015 and beyond

In March 2015, Common Threads became an independent constituted community organisation, which aims to develop, manage and facilitate creative projects and support well-being.

 Our well-being workshops, Common Threads: Make & Mend currently deliver regular craft workshops at Derby Museum and residential mental health care settings in Derby. Make & Mend provides supportive, creative environments, funded by the NHS Mental Health Trust and supported by Derby Museums. Philippa continues to lead workshops and sessions are voluntarily supported by Sandra Austin.