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Outside Voices

Who is the outdoors for? And how comfortable do people feel there?

Through honest interviews, graphic interpretation, heartfelt poetry and music, the Outside Voices project explores personal relationships with green and blue space.

The project, part funded by the National Lottery Emerging Futures Fund, delves into the impact of the pandemic on attitudes and access. It asks what barriers exist and why exclusion persists and provides a creative outlet for voices so often unheard.

The Outside Voices e-book is an anthology of human stories, with contributions from a diverse range of communities – download your copy (PDF, 3.3MB).

Contributions come from YHA users and members, from our community consultants’ networks, and through connections made as the project developed.

Our priority was to ensure contributors share their stories in ways that were authentic and honest to them. And we accepted all interpretations of ‘outdoors’ so as not to impose our own views.

We are so grateful to all who took part and honoured that Dr Pen Mendonça brought her graphic cartoon facilitation expertise to the project.

Download the e-book (PDF, 3.3MB)

Outside Voices report cover

The work of Dr Pen Mendonça

Dr Pen Mendonça has been an independent graphic facilitator and cartoonist within the UK public and voluntary sectors for 20 years. Prior to this she worked in social care and advocacy. She is known for her work highlighting inequalities, community strengths and voices.

Pen practices and writes about values-based cartooning, a method for engagement, coproduction, and visual/textual representation. She draws on her mixed heritage, mental health, and sense of humour in order to depict the extraordinary courage, creativity and colour within our rich and diverse world.

For Outside Voices, Pen graphically facilitated a number of interviews online, producing visuals in real time, then brought key themes together for the project book cover image. Where participants wanted to remain anonymous, she developed fictional characters in order to bring their ideas to life.

Select the illustrations to enlarge and explore them.

Outside Voices summary illustration
Sherri Spelic's illustrated story
The Outside Project illustration
Illustration of Richard Bell's story
Joe Murphy's illustrated story
Robert Sidlow's illustrated story
Debbie North's illustrated story
Austin and Harrison's illustrated story
Pat and Ash's illustrated story
Illustration of Peter Kemp's story
Tanya and George's illustrated story

Sights and sounds of the outdoors

These videos accompany the accounts given in the anthology.

Dear Native Regions

Singers from the Fellowship of Hill and Wind and Sunshine project join with the Wild Chorus to perform Dave Camlin’s arrangement of William Wordsworth’s poem.

What makes you smile?

Made with Music perform an original song written with LS29 Special Needs Support Group and recorded during the relaxation of restrictions prior to lockdown two.

Untitled (You are the sea)

An audio recording of the poem read by the poet, Iesha Small, set to visuals of seascapes and sounds of the sea.

Outside Voices