Updated: Sep 16, 2018
All my working life I have had to get major grants from trusts or public
bodies to achieve the goals I have set out on. As a result I have had
to report back on the Outcomes, the Social Return on Investment, the
Key Performance Indicators and all that Jazz.
The joy of The Way Through Project has been following my nose with
the guidance and support of wonderful and knowledgeable friends.
The generous individual donors to this project have set no conditions
that I report back.
But old habits die hard…
With the freedom that this project has had from bureaucracy it is
possible for much to be achieved without being noticed – measured –
so here I wanted to capture some of the details in one place so that
they can all be celebrated.
The aim of the Project can be summed up as “to wring as much good
as possible” from my experiences of 2016-2018 – not to do one time-
limited thing, raise money and pay it into a charity bank account. So
it is the spread and range of achievement that we take pride in.
We raised money to pay for all the things achieved so far and that
money – and donated materials - is now spent. Volunteers need to
get on with their own lives. I am on my personal and artistic “Way
Forward”. But the Project will go on to wider horizons. Some
announced here. Some to come.
- Alison chandler (nee Gauldie)
180+ paintings of which 80 framed. 50% of framed pictures sold by end May.
Interactive installation created.
8 venues over 5 months – 6 at social enterprises – 3 Local Authority areas.
2 openings with film, 1 with poetry, 1 with choir.
Video presentation created with music inspired by pictures.
Creative Writing workshop with pictures as prompts.
Website with links and further reading.
Short Film by award-winning director.
Community radio “Conversation with …” programme format created.
Mainstream press and TV coverage.
Alphabet prints created.
120 page Way Through photographic book with poetry and writing claimed by 37+ health/wellbeing sites from Ellon to Leeds. 50 available.
Social media campaign 2000+ people reached.
Transition Arts project for 15-18 year olds developed and announced.
£340 raised in catalogue sales for Kids Kicking Cancer
Alison Chandler and Louise Baxter walk on the Camino de Santiago de
Nov 2015 - October 2016
Alison writes, as yet unpublished, “Walking Backwards (Up an
Apostle’s Nose)” memoire and anthology.
Alison has emergency surgery for bowel cancer and burst appendix resulting
in an ileostomy. Her first thoughts are “I am glad I walked the Camino”. It is anticipated that
further surgery would be needed but she must first have chemo for which she is not strong
November 2016 - July 2018
180+ artworks created. The work is fuelled by the donations of
art materials in vast quantities by generous friends.
Alison begins painting apples when her mother writes that she believes Alison will survive because she has a strong core. Alison begins developing her own iconography.
A golden road represents Camino.
February – October 2017 - 16 fortnightly inpatient cycles of intravenous chemotherapy.
Painting continues on ward 114 of ARI and at home at the rate of a picture every 1-3 days.
Pictures begin to be shared with friends to communicate health and wellbeing progress.
Alison paints pictures entitled Day 1 – 17 on the first days of chemo.
Keiron Westguard composes and gifts music inspired by pictures.
Chris Hegharty of Random Ninja Productions photographs pictures.
August 2017 – 8 months persuasion by friends in the arts and wellbeing professions
persuade Alison to allow exhibition. “Dream Committee” formed. First exhibition booked in.
ACVO invite Alison to present work to business Affiliates event. Alan
Parker produces video presentation.
Crowd-funding campaign with Go Fund Me launched.
Stephanie Vandem provides curation for exhibition.
Rosies Social Enterprises and Castlegate Frames commissioned to frame pictures.
Further exhibition dates and venues agreed.
STV feature Alison painting at home.
Alison finishes chemotherapy and travels to South Africa where she
encounters Kids Kicking Cancer. She visits District 6 Museum and sees a Name Cloth with
embroidered signatures and the newly opened Museum of Contemporary African Art.
Cover Crew Ltd, Fotheringham Property Development Ltd and Scotmid contribute to funding
Alison returns to work part-time as Funding & Sustainability Lead at ACVO.
Alison travels to the world specialists in peritoneal malignancy in Basingstoke and is told that
“maybe we got it all” ie there is a good chance that the cancer has gone.
Alison celebrates 60th birthday and begins creation of a Name Cloth and The Suitcase.
More photography by Random Ninja Productions.
December 2017 Evening Express feature article.
Crowdfunding campaign raises 50% of the £8000 target for framing, printing, venue, website,
transport, insurance costs.
Alison stops taking blood-thinning injections daily.
Phil Thompson of Gra-design produces Way Through catalogues and picture labels.
Jimmy Milne of The Balmoral Group provides £3500 to complete funding for the project.
Random Ninja Productions commissioned to create website www.waythroughart.com
Social media campaign on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter begins.
July 2018 Alison spends 4 days a week on Project events, administration,
development and promotion.
February 2018 Award-winning film-makers Tim Langford (Director) and David Liddell
(camera) spend weekend in Johnshaven creating “Painting Myself Brave”
Website is launched with links to multiple organisations and with further reading on the
poetry and mythology which inspired Alison.
A “Conversation with ..” programme is created by Alan Parker and broadcast by SHMU FM.
Alison leads a creative writing workshop using Way Through images as prompts for the
Mearns Writing Group in Stonehaven.
An army of volunteers comes together.
70 pictures are hung chronologically with professional help from Kelly Cairns
Way Through Exhibition launches at Aberdeen Arts Centre with 70+ attendees – the largest
of any exhibition opening. Catalogues sold in aid of Kids Kicking Cancer.
The event is covered by Press and Journal, Evening Express and STV.
2800 people are reached by the Facebook promotion.
The Suitcase Installation is included. Visitors write and attach luggage labels to Suitcase.
The exhibition is covered by the University of Aberdeen Students magazine.
The exhibition is open until 31 st March. Approximately 50 people visit. Alison gives the team developing the new Anchor Oncology Unit a private tour.
Members of an international 1 Step Away Group begin following using the iconography of the Way Project to see each other through post traumatic stress.
Exhibition opens at Johnshaven Heritage Hub with approximately 50 attendees.
The Bass Rock Gallery Dunbar was the third of the venues for the Way
Through touring exhibition https://www.bassrockgallery.com/
The film “Painting Myself Brave” film is premiered. Visitors include local GP practice.
The exhibition is manned for 2 weeks 7 days a week by an army of volunteers.
Approximately 100 people visit. The film is reshown at least twice a day each day.
Alison is present for all but 4 days and has multiple conversations with cancer survivors and bereaved carers.
Catalogues are sold for Kids Kicking Cancer.
Young adults with disabilities from Network Enterprise South Aberdeenshire come on outing.
Exhibition travels to The Bass Rock Gallery, Dunbar, East Lothian. Opening attended by 25
Alison gives talk on paintings connection to Camino de Santiago de Compostela,
sharing parts of “Walking Backwards”.
Significant new footfall reported by gallery.
Basingstoke specialists advise that the latest CT scan shows “No sign of
peritoneal malignancy”. CT scans to continue.
Random Ninja Productions creates prints of the unexhibited “Way Through Alphabet.
Random Ninja Productions creates The Way Through Book including 100+ pictures and
excerpts from “Walking Backwards”, other prose and poetry by Alison and previously
unpublished contributions from the Mearns writing group and others.
Exhibition opens at The Phoenix Center, Camphill Newton Dee community in Aberdeen.
Opening includes poetry from Gerard Rochford, Angela Joss, Hilary Stobbs and Alison.
Approximately 25 people attend during period. Catering is ordered from The Breadmaker.
Alison travels to and in Spain solo for the first time in 40 years revisiting scenes from
“Walking Backwards” and taking inspiration at the museum of Montserrat monastery.
Viewers of “Painting Myself Brave” provide testimonials for entry into international awards.
Way Through Project begins development of a collaboration with Transition Extreme around
the use of The Suitcase in developing resilience of disadvantaged young people through art.
Planning begins for the development of the final major exhibition in the Way Through Tour to be opened by Cllr Marie Boulton, Cultural Lead for Aberdeen City Council at Transition
Extreme in July to last until end August.
The opening event to include the Way video presentation, the “Painting Myself Brave” film, the singing by “Voices without Borders” choir of the So Hamm mantra, the distribution of The Way Through Book and Way Through Alphabet and new and unexhibited paintings. Catering by CFINE and Transition Extreme.
Of 75 pictures framed by end May, 34 have sold. Many have been bought by people directly
affected by cancer. Their sales enable Alison to pursue the project. They enable her to plan
return to Camino by end of 2018.
Exhibition is split between Glencraft Showroom, NHS Health Village and
At NHS Health Village the exhibition inaugurates a new exhibition
37 Health/wellbeing organisations claim their copy of the Way Through Book of which 50
copies are funded for donation across Scotland.
The book is for use with patients, carers, students, health and wellbeing professionals so as to inspire creativity, support discussion and act as a resource for contemplation.
The organisations include speech therapists and NHS waiting rooms, dementia projects and student support services, children’s art therapy projects and palliative care units.
Alison is approached by a 3rd year film student to be the protagonist of a new project.
Random Ninja Productions have been able to purchase equipment to produce one off prints
on demand. Way Through has been able to provide references for Random Ninja
Productions as this young entrepreneur begins his photographic business.
A number of other achievements have come out of the project including connections
between business, health/wellbeing, arts, social enterprise and community activists which at
this stage are confidential. Many lasting friendships have been made between volunteers.
The Way Through Exhibition planning page has 120 followers.
The Way Through Pictures page has 145 followers and reaches 2000. The Twitter feed is being shared by several organisations with followers of over 10k.
Alison has further CT scan and awaits results in July.
Thanks are due to very very many too many people to mention but the volunteers of The Dream Committee, Hanging Team and Johnshaven Exhibition manning team are or have been: Paula Gibson, Louise Baxter, Angela Joss, Holly Chandler, Gerard Rochford, Alan Parker, Irene Dillon, Jakki Shylan, Caroline Traa, Linda McIntosh, Clare Trembleau, Patsy Telford, Anne-Maja Rist, Lizzie Howarth, Louise Farmer, Chris Beaton, Hilary Firth, Linni McBay, Karen Kennedy, Debbie Clark, Wanda Paluch, Ritva Coleridge, Don and
Joyce Marr, Angie Dunsire; Karelia Wright; Lindsey Wardle, Brian Shanks, Emma Myatt