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
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.