Using the Arts

Women at the HeArt imageUsing creative practices is a core element of the Partnership’s approach.

The Arts can help people to really engage with issues and explore things from a different perspective. It provides a relaxed, non-confrontational (and fun!) platform from which to work and is therefore an ideal way to engage with disadvantaged and vulnerable people who may not otherwise open up.

The Arts  is transformative and can turn the most difficult consultation into a truly empowering experiencing, often giving a voice to those who may otherwise go unnoticed. Above all it puts positive experiences into the most difficult, impoverished and often traumatised lives.

WAH - SpoonsWe know that creativity and the use of the Arts is one of our most successful methods of intervention, particularly when working with young people, as demonstrated by the depth and variety of our projects over the past few years.

Our current pieces of work are outlined below.


Art-i-tecArt-i-tec was a West Berkshire Council’s Arts and Leisure Services project, working in partnership with the Youth Offending Team and Youth Support Team and supported by investment from Artswork.  Thames Valley Partnership co-ordinated the girls group who worked with 4 artists during a series of sessions in autumn 2014 and the early part of 2015.  The project culminated in a sharing event on February 20th at 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space, Greenham Business Park – the girls displayed their artwork and a boys group performed a dance piece.

Artists: Andy Fleming, Cath Baldwin, Katy Pike, Beth Flintoff

Click here to see a short video about the project made by film maker Linda Mason.

For more information contact or click here to learn more about our other Arts projects.


Modelling Change Update

Modelling Change uses the creative arts to engage and empower girls aged 16 to 19 in the Oxfordshire area, through the agencies and organisations that support them.  Skilled artist facilitators lead a mix of arts based activities and workshops on a weekly basis.  Engaging with creative activity has shown to have a positive impact on self-esteem and self-image, steering them towards more positive life decisions.

Click here to view a  short film about the project.

PostcardThe project has been running since October 2014 on a weekly basis during term time and participants experience a wide range of creative activities including printing bags and banners; using wood, wire and nails;  mosaic and mask making;  collage and paper work; painting and graphics; writing and drama games.   The group has made visits to local cultural venues: a performance at Pegasus Theatre and an exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, and worked towards gaining Bronze Level Arts Award.   During International Women’s Day in March 2015, the group exhibited some of their artwork at an event at Modern Art Oxford.

The project is led by a group of experienced artists: Emmy Tulane Cassia, Camille Robineau, Clare Goodall and Linda Mason.

Sessions continue until early July 2015 and participants can join at any time – please contact Judy Munday for more information and a referral form

Read the latest Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report on Girls in the Criminal Justice System here

Modelling Change is supported by investment from Arts Council England, Artswork, Amey plc and Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service.

Artswork without strapline JPGArts Award JPGPrintAmey Size 4 Cool Grey 9ECOxfordshire Youth Offending Service


Event Update: the use of the Arts with vulnerable women

Modelling Change MosaicsOn Tuesday 21st October about 50 people gathered in a Committee Room at the House of Lords to listen to speakers and debate issues around women in the criminal justice system and how the arts can have an impact on bringing about change in their lives.

Gilly Sharpe presented her research findings – Doing Justice to Offending Girls (Gilly Sharpe) –  followed by a powerful performance by Clean Break theatre company  of their production ‘Sounds Like an Insult’.    A panel of support workers and artists discussed the impact of using the arts within their settings and how a creative approach can help organisations meet their targets and reach women who are most vulnerable.

Amey plc, sponsors of the current arts project Modelling Change, presented their reasons for supporting our work…

”  Improving pipeline for Women is one of four Inclusion strands……we are on a journey.. ” (Amey plc)

 ” Well done for the event at the House of Lords, it was really great to see women completely as the focus. I really enjoyed hearing about the research and the project. “  (delegate comment)

The event was chaired by Thames Valley Partnership Chair of Trustees Lord Blair.


Women at the HeArt

Group WorkWAH - Event InfoThe dissemination event for Women at the HeArt was held during February at Meadowbrook College in Oxford and attended by a range of partners who were involved in the project and those who were interested to find out more about using creativity with vulnerable women. The Women at the HeArt exhibition remains open until March 18th at Meadowbrook College.

Alison Leverett-Morris presented the Evaluation Report and concluded that

“Through creative arts processes, Women at the HeArt enabled vulnerable women, support staff and artists to develop new skills, gain confidence and experience a deep sense of personal growth and achievement in both personal and/or professional lives.”

Read more about the project from the evaluation report for Women at the HeArt which is now available to download from the following links:

Full Report
Executive Summary

Further  information here or contact Judy Munday, Arts Officer, Thames Valley Partnership  for a booking

Women at the HeART (Mosaics)Women at the HeArt ran from 2012 until March 2014 aiming to give vulnerable, disadvantaged women more control over their lives, identifying ways of empowering them through the use of creative activities and reconnecting them with their families and communities. The project focussed on women with complex and unmet needs and offered innovative, cost-effective methods of intervention, opening doors and giving women greater access to support services.

Women at the HeART (Beads)Integral to Women at the HeArt was a mentee training scheme as part of our ongoing commitment towards continuing professional development for creative practitioners in the criminal justice field.

Women at the HeArt was funded by Arts Council England, The Monument Trust and Thames Valley Probation.

 Women at the HeArt - Shoes“It’s been good to express yourself to how you’re
really feeling but can’t put it into words.”

“I felt completed engrossed and distracted from my life”

“I liked that we could ask for what we did in sessions – it made me feel respected”

“I really enjoyed being active and creative rather than things going round and round in my head ”

Women at the HeART (Spoons)“Women at the HeArt has made us think more about why we do what we do and how we can support these women.  Using visual creative expression techniques allows the veil to come down and to discover many different things behind ourselves and behind the women we work with. We are amazed at the beautiful pieces we have all produced!”    Support Staff Member



We are happy to continue to support Meadowbrook College and ‘Visionz’, the Arts Centre at their Harlow site.  We have been working with Meadowbrook College for a number of years – firstly through our popular Schools in Action strand of work and subsequently helping to deliver the national Creative Partnerships programme which lasted for 3 years.   

Creativity continues to play a key role in the provision offered by Meadowbrook through the wide range on offer from ‘Visionz’, not just for pupils attending the College but also for the wider community. Its artistic approach and expertise provides others within the community with opportunities; offering varied arts packages and projects to others, delivered by professional arts practitioners.  

The exhibition space offered by Visionz showcases new and exciting work produced through Meadowbrook partnerships; with an inspiring exhibition programme displaying varied and interesting work. Further information: Dionne Freeman:  or visit Visionz  

Meadowbrook College is Oxfordshire’s Pupil Referral Unit and Integration Service and provides education and support to about one hundred secondary age students from across Oxfordshire.  Meadowbrook offers all its students ‘a second chance for learning’ and works hard to ensure that they achieve successful outcomes despite the difficulties and setbacks they have experienced during their time at mainstream school. It’s about looking forward, not back. 


Something Brilliant at the barn

Visit our  dedicated arts section which captures  all the  findings  from our  creative Barnstorming day in March 2011.  It is packed with great ieas which will be of real  benefit to  anyone interested in working creatively with vulnerable groups.  

Watch  a clip of this day

“One of the things I really like about the Partnership is that
it does that really difficult work but with an interesting edge”

Ian Blair  (Lord Blair of Boughton), Chair of Thames Valley Partnership


Moving Forward

Moving Forward was a project supported by The LankellyChase Foundation, around young people who have experience in some way of domestic abuse and may subsequently have resulting issues themselves with […]

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