Arts Derbyshire

Arts & Health

Necklace Of Stars

A Necklace of Stars was set up pre-Covid-19 to tackle isolation and loneliness in housebound older adults in Derbyshire. The original plan had been for individuals to receive one-to-one sessions in their own home with either artist Lois Blackburn or poet Philip Davenport.

Covid-19 happened and our approach had to change – A Necklace of Stars quickly became a remote embroidery and creative writing project where participants received weekly one to one phone calls from the artists, emails where required and parcels of all the materials they needed for the project sent through the post. Artist Lois Blackburn, poet Philip Davenport and songwriter Matt Hill worked with nearly 100 participants, talking for months over the phone.

“Art isn’t usually considered to be an emergency service, but during the lockdowns this was a lifeline to isolated people. Out of something terrible we managed to conjure some little glimmers of hope.” (Phil Davenport, project poet)

A Necklace of Stars celebrates childhood and the night sky in words, song and stitches. The project is a testimony to the power of human connection and creativity in the face of lockdowns and isolation. All of the embroidered stars have now been brought together to create a beautiful quilt which is being exhibited around Derbyshire’s cultural venues, alongside a catalogue of poems and a lullaby soundtrack.

Exhibition dates and venues:

  • Dronfield Hall Barn: 26th June – 4th September 2023 (not open to the public on Saturdays)
  • Melbourne Creative Gallery : 5th – 25th September 2023
    • This exhibition will also be a part of the Melbourne Festival, taking place on the 16th and 17th of September.
  • Level Centre: end of September (date tbc) – 5th January 2024

Listen to the lullabies:

Download the digital catalogue here:

Lois Blackburn, artist: ​​
Matt Hill, songwriter:
Poet Phil Davenport’s reflections on the project:

Musician Matt Hill and Philip Davenport reflect on the process of creating the lullabies here:

Images and writing from the project:

A Necklace of Stars is an Arts Council England supported collaboration between Arts Derbyshire, DCC Public Health, Derbyshire Library Services and artists Lois Blackburn, Philip Davenport and Matt Hill.

Fellow Necklace Of Stars member, Phil Davenport, wrote of his experience working on the project in the article Necklace Of Stars: On a day of sorrow – Making poems by phone during the pandemic‘. Click the link to read more about Phil’s poetry work via phone.


For more information, please get in touch:

Contact: Nicky Bellenger – Project Coordinator
Tel: 07395 904386

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