2018 has been an amazing year for RAW (watch the short video above).
It's the year we really reignited the flame of Real Arts Workshops, which began life as a university art project in 1996 and then went on hold for the best part of 20 years.
We've forged new relationships with 13 organisations, delivered (over) 75 separate workshop sessions and designed at least 15 brand new and unique projects - all with the same goal: to break down barriers, improve confidence and encourage self expression.
In a climate of austerity never has there been such a need for the restorative powers of art, music and craft. People of all ages get affected by issues of mental health and our projects are designed to be accessible by all, regardless of perceived barriers.
We've enjoyed delivering the HeadStart Wolverhampton art club on Friday evenings at Low Hill Hub. The video above gives a nice snapshot of the work we've done.
The programme runs until Friday 14th December 2018 - so there is still time for young people (10-16) to come along for free, 4-6pm.
We've done so much great work: Cardboard Wolves in Wolves, Poppy crafting for Remembrance, Halloween crafts, Wild Animal art, 5 Ways to Well-being posters, song-writing, Pop Up Art Gallery, British Sign Language and so much more.
Thanks to HeadStart for supporting, we hope we can work together again in 2019
Doors 4 Thought at St Martin's C of E
For a week, beginning on Monday 1st October 2018 we worked with all the pupils at St Martin’s C of E School in Tipton to create large scale artwork with a difference.
The aim of the ‘Doors For Thought’ project was to decorate 17 of the classroom doors with the key values of the school.
Each year group had 2 doors to decorate, one for their own classroom and one for another internal door in the school. Each door has it’s own ‘theme’ based on 17 of the school values or ‘character strengths’ such as ‘respect’; ‘humility’ and ‘creativity’.
We have been delighted that the children were so enthusiastic about this project. It is a unique way to represent the values of St Martin’s and engage learners with art activity.” Alex Vann, Founder of RAW
British Sign Language (BSL) was also integrated into the art sessions which were held in the main hall of the school. A member of RAW, Gary O’Dowd, is profoundly Deaf and uses BSL to communicate. BSL translations of the theme words are printed onto the doors both as signs and as fingerspelt words.
We were delighted to be asked to deliver the art sessions for HeadStart Wolverhampton Summer Activities in Low Hill + The Scotlands areas.
RAW is all about ‘Giving People a Creative Voice’. That is achieved through providing a platform for people to use the Arts to express themselves; break down barriers; build confidence; encourage team work; have fun; try something new and learn new skills.
We are aware of the work HeadStart does in supporting the mental wellbeing of young people and wanted our activities to reflect that.
We designed a varied programme which included –
- inspired by a series of postcards created by a teenager dealing with her own mental health issues. Young people were encouraged to draw and paint what makes them happy / unhappy and use innovative ways of expressing that, including collage and use of text / vocabulary. They designed masks on paper first and then painted on plain masks mounted onto canvas. These were then photographed and made into postcards. Here are a few examples of their work:
This was the messiest art work we’ve done! (Cofi)
I felt happy (Nicole)
The Tree Of Hope
- decorated with print outs of artwork they’d created previously, ‘wish tags’ - written tags about a general wish they have for the world and drawings and statements about their hopes and aspirations for the future.
British Sign Language and Deaf Awareness
- led by RAW team member Gary, who is profoundly Deaf. This included the 'Numberplate Game' to test the young people had learnt fingerspelling and numbers in BSL.
I found it really interesting – learning sign language and about blind and deaf people. It was good creating the images for the posters. (Emma)
It’s really good and I enjoyed learning sign language (Brinley)
Performing the HeadStart song in Sign Language
The young put their newly found sign language skills to good use and produced a video of them signing along to the HeadStart song which was written by young people in association with Rock School Music. The song is all about the worries some young people feel when they leave primary education and start 'big school'.
I enjoyed all of it. I was kind of nervous seeing myself on the video (doing sign language to the HeadStart song) but my confidence is growing. (Keira)
Portrait drawing in proportion
Alex demonstrated a quick way to divide a 'headspace' to get the features in the right positions.
'The 5 Ways To Wellbeing': pledges and poster designs
We used the NHS '5 ways to wellbeing' as a starting point for young people to think how they could 1. Connect; 2. Give; 3. Keep Learning; 4. Take Notice and 5. Keep Active.
We have been very pleased with the work created and hope that the young people have something they will feel proud of and remember for years to come.
Alex Vann and Gary O’Dowd.
Feedback from the young people who took part
"I like doing art because I don’t get to do painting at home" (Corey)
"I found it really fun because I can finally have a chance to paint to my full potential" (Theo)
"I really enjoyed the art session" (Isabelle)
"It’s really good and I enjoyed learning sign language" (Brinley)
"It’s really fun to try new things and make friends, and understand what art is all about" (Nnedimma)
"I found it really interesting – learning sign language and about blind and deaf people. It was good creating the images for the posters." (Emma)
"I enjoyed all of it. I was kind of nervous seeing myself on the video (doing sign language to the HeadStart song) but my confidence is growing." (Keira)
"I enjoyed the art – I’ve always done art and love to express myself that way." (Demi)
"This was the messiest art work we’ve done!" (Cofi)
Mine is about anti-bullying.(Madison)
My painting shows good things at the top and bad at the bottom. (Lexi)
I felt happy (Nicole)
NB: Copyright in all of the original work shown here is owned by the originator(s) including the young people, and has been used with permission. All other artwork, photographs and video are © 2018 Real Arts Workshops.
We are currently delivering this exciting and immersive art project for Support Plus, across 2 of their centres in Wolverhampton. It will involve joining together pieces of artwork physically and people and communities metaphorically.
Support Plus are a day service for adults with a profound and multiple learning disabilities who require high support needs we also support people with physical disabilities to maintain and develop their quality of life. They provide a wide range of day opportunities whilst supporting people to access their local and wider community and The Big Link Up Art Project is one of those opportunities.
What is vital to us was that despite of some very profound needs the adults are engaged in decision making and actively making their own marks.
We are constantly evolving the project to suit the needs of our clients, investigating various strategies to enable engagement (and enjoyment, if it’s not fun what’s the point?) As one of our team is profoundly Deaf we are integrating sign language lessons into the sessions. This has benefits in terms of another new skill learnt, active engagement and breaking down communication barriers.
It is early days with the project but already both centres have their own DREAM TREE’s – which act as the project aims and objectives. We’ve found out about each individual – what colours they like, what they like to eat, where they like to go and who is important to them. Each has indicated to us what size canvas they will be painting on, what colour the background should be and an idea of what they will be painting or making (some are going to be 3D or textural pieces rather than 2D paintings).
We are exploring apps which make digital art-making accessible to people with profound disabilities. The examples here are making a vocal sound that produces a unique soundwave and touch screen pattern making apps that respond to an individual’s touch.
This project is a perfect example of how RAW approaches its work. We are customer centred, so although we go in with an overarching aim, it is the participants who steer the project. We are versatile and flexible enough to be able to adjust our delivery to ensure the best possible outcomes.
We are really excited to see how the project progresses and will post again in September when we are back onto it.
On Tuesday 17th July RAW was at Lyng Community Association Youth Club.
To link in with their recent trip to the zoo, we were asked to deliver a session based on animal art.
Alex led this session and showed the young people examples of his own animal art: pencil drawings and watercolour paintings, and then demonstrated a drawing - combining new and old technologies.
A old video camera was linked to a projector and pointed at the paper as Alex drew a picture of a lion. Charcoal was the primary medium in this workshop because of its immediate and effective mark making capabilities. This suits the drama of animals associated with the safari.
The young people then had a choice of animal to draw - this could be Gorilla, Lion, Elephant, Meerkat, Rhino or any other animal they liked. Here are the young people hard at work:
And here are some final pieces which were made into a pop up art gallery
The last part of the session was dedicated to creating a LARGE, like HUGE painting / collage of a giraffe and a zebra:
The final magnificent piece
Lyng Community Association Youth Club runs every Tuesday evening in term time, 4-7pm for anyone aged 10-17. More information here
We had a great time at #SciFest2018 on 6th and 7th July 2018.
Day One was working with local primary schools and Day Two was open to the public for their Family Day.
We made loads of great new connections, our neighbours were wonderful and we even got time to have a little look around at other stallholders. This included making rocket cars with the RAF Museum, looking at the sun through a telescope and making Spirograph type images on a gyroscope.
If you weren't able to get to this year's event, please try and make it next year.
Here's a few of our favourite snaps...
RAW has a stand at Sci Fest 2018!
We'll be in the Ambika Paul corridor at Wolverhampton University making a 'Curiosi-Tree'.
Come and say hello and see the work we are doing with young people - combining the arts with other curriculum subjects: English, Maths, Technology, Science.
Primary school day is 9.30-3, Fri 6th July.
Family day is 10-4, Sat 7th July.
For more information and to register visit:
Alex Vann is an all round creative. He formed RAW in 1997 out of a University project and restarted it in 2018 after working as a graphic designer for agencies and in-house for many years.