Grimsby Creates Development Fund recipient Ellie Collins took so time out to write a few words about her experience:

The Grimsby Creates Development fund gave me the chance to propose a bespoke scheme of research focused on sensory storytelling.  I’ve always enjoyed writing and rhyme. Everyday things inspire me and I often daydream. I‘m playful with words and sounds.

Short courses gave me a task-centred focus on particular skills and an extended period working with a picture book mentor helps me adapt methodology, story structure and language for a targeted readership.  I’ve always believed neurodiverse audiences should have better access to art and literature. Though I’ve necessarily broadened my immediate attention to encompass the fundamental principles of picture books more generally, I use my own specialism to generate engaging new sensory stories and rhymes.

Working with a mentor has been an enriching, sometimes challenging experience. Setting goals, getting frank feedback, experimenting and questioning through discussion is an excellent way to learn, probe and grow a practice.  Collaboration with people specialising in other media such as holistic music and performance means we can sound out and contextualise ideas, increasing accessibility for everyone.

Art is essentially about asking questions. This funded activity exists alongside an established fine art practice where writing is ever-present and this project addresses possibilities for divergent strands of my work and its audiences to co-habit or combine.  In spring 2023 I’ll be publishing Deep in the Heap, a new rhyming picture book about the magic of compost, illustrated by Marc Renshaw and available from Amazon in e-book and paperback format.   I’m continuing my fine art practice, throwing words back and forth, showing and making things whenever collaborations arise.

Ellie Collins discussing developing a picture book through the Grimsby Development Fund for diverse audiences.