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Livewell Southend

Contemporary Elders programme at Focal Point Gallery


Focal Point Gallery's Contemporary Elders programme will take place on the penultimate weekend of each month and we are welcome to new participants.

In response to our current exhibition, 'Othered in the Region that is historically Othered' by Elsa James, we will be looking at our own, personal stories. We all have stories to tell and many of us enjoy telling them to family and friends. But fewer of us attempt to put those stories to paper or share them with a wider audience.


In this workshop - “Writing Talk” - poet Justin Coe will perform some of his own comic verse, source some lively group poetry from our conversations and show how we can all turn a tale from our lives into a narrative poem that can be performed out loud and/or preserved for future generations to enjoy.


Justin Coe is a writer and performance poet specialising in books for young people (“The Dictionary of Dads”, ”The Magic of Mums”), national tours of spoken word theatre shows (most recently “The House That Jackson Built” and “The Gift of the Gadget”) and community writing projects for adults and children. His recent intergenerational pen-pal poetry projects have helped connect young and old through a shared love of creative writing.



Whether you are new to contemporary art or a regular gallery attendee, you are welcome. You can attend on your own, with a partner or with friends. All workshops will be focused on the social side, with no prior art experience or understanding needed. Just a willingness to get involved! This group is for anyone aged over 60.

Please book your ticket in advance to guarantee your space.

Please check back regularly for updates on future events!

Focal Point Gallery is wheelchair accessible and there are additional materials available to enhance your visit, e.g. large print information sheets, family activity sheets and dedicated quiet times. The team will be happy to support your needs and more information can be found on our website at or phone us on 01702 534108 or email us at

Contemporary Elders was set up pre-covid to challenge and liberate the term ‘elder’ from the stigma of ‘elderly’ and encourages us to embrace wisdom as a path to growing whole, not old.

The Contemporary Elders programme is low cost and consists of workshops, guided tours, walks and social meetups to join like-minded elders together to break down barriers, encourage life-long learning and enjoyment of the arts in all its forms.

"I have learnt new things and gained completely new perspectives and I go home with new ideas and thoughts i.e. I ‘ve been woken up out of my static state, and I like it." - A quote from a Contemporary Elder's participant.



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 Last updated: 22 Aug 2022

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