We are all about connection through creativity. We run arts and writing programmes that bring people together in meaningful ways. Being creative is good for us, supports us to connect as equals and helps us express ourselves in ways that benefit us and nourish others.
Visit our 3am Project Online Gallery and journey into a world of creativity
inspired by dream states and witching hour wonder.
In May 2021, we launched a brief seeking works around the theme of 3am, inspired by a letter from Surrey History Centre's archives from Frank Baker to his love Isabel. We invited words and artworks inspired by this middle of the night moment and were overwhelmed by the response receiving over 500 entries from around the UK and around the world!
Our online exhibition shares a curated collection of some of the finest,
including the winners of our Open Call competition,
Bambang Trisunu (TTNP_), Martin Huxter, Faith Falayi & Jiatong Liu.
The 3am Project was developed as part of Lost Letters, our Heritage Lottery funded, arts & heritage project in partnership with Surrey History Centre.
To all those who shared work as part of the open call, we’d like to thank you for sharing your creativity with us, we were inspired and moved by such a vast array of nocturnal offerings. Thanks also to our judges Sarah Bennett (Lead Artist), Stephen Boyce (Heritage Fund), Nadine Fletcher (Artist), Gemma Seltzer (Writer) and Lauren Stevens (Surrey History Centre).
At It’s Not Your Birthday But… we’re all about the power of connecting with others through letters, words and visual arts.
We work in a range of community settings from care homes to schools, hospitals to hospices, prisons to wellbeing groups. We place artists in each setting to inspire others to share what’s important or helpful to them through creativity. Most of our work is with young people and young adults aged 14-21 who are in custody or not in mainstream education.
We aim to ensure everyone we work with is given a platform to be well and truly heard in the wider community. We join up different parts of a community who would not otherwise meet. We hope this leads to greater understanding, empathy and continued engagement between people or groups who may otherwise walk past each other on the street or assume they have nothing in common. We challenge the labels society puts on us as mass groups (the vulnerable, the elderly, NEETs, the hard-to-reach, young offenders, the terminally ill to name a few) to share individual stories of the humans who have these labels and accompanying narratives put upon them.
Our programme comes in three forms:
- artist-led: one of our team shares a skill or technique that others are invited to try
- creative wellbeing: we provide a safe and supportive space for creative expression, reflection and exploration
- co-creation; we work together to create an artwork through a collaborative process
We give people space and support to engage with their own creativity, imaginations and words and share the results with others. Words and images that enable them to share what’s important or helpful to them, connect with others, build imaginary worlds and explore new pathways. We have a focus on using creativity to support those who come after us in any given environment, whether that is through improving a space with art or changing the culture to benefit the community in any given setting.
We run stand-alone workshops as well as programmes of work in single or linked settings. It's important for our work that it is artist-led, as we believe that arts and creativity can be a liberating and enriching experience for everyone. We work with writers, poets, visual artists, designers and theatre practitioners who share, not just their work, but aspects of themselves and their lives to inspire others to do the same. We draw out what we have in common and highlight human connections and shared values.
We're based in Hinchley Wood and most of our work takes places in our local area across North Surrey and the London Boroughs of Kingston-upon-Thames, Richmond and Hounslow. We're focused on building sustainable local partnerships that enable us to help our community develop its creativity and come together.
At a time when human beings are tweeting, refreshing, scrolling, uploading and searching for connection and engagement through digital devices more than ever before, we celebrate the power of handwritten words, arts and crafts to truly connect people in meaningful and positive ways.
Whatever we’re searching for on our devices (connection, acceptance, attention?) we don’t always find it. Some words, a letter, an artwork or a small act of kindness can sometimes be a much better way to understand others and connect with them.
Why are we called It's Not Your Birthday But...? Why wait for birthdays to communicate by post and let people know what they mean to you? An unexpected letter, card or painting sent on a normal day can mean so much more.
Drawings by Erika Flowers
Sign up to our mailing list to keep in touch with what we’re up to here and ways to get involved.
As we’re all about letters, the best way to get our attention is to jot us a line and pop it in a postbox to
It's Not Your Birthday But...
The Old Bank House
26 Station Approach
Surrey KT10 0SR
It’s Not Your Birthday But… do not share your details with any organisation. We take your privacy seriously and are aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
If you no longer wish to receive email updates from It’s Not Your Birthday But… please let us know by emailing email@example.com.