Using the Arts
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.
We 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.
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, ultimately promoting an inner strength that armours participans against the advances of potentially manipulative people and steers them towards more positive life decisions.
Participants are currently working towards gaining their Bronze Level Arts Award as well as making pieces for exhibiting at ‘Womanity’ at Modern Art Oxford on Sunday March 8th. (info here)
Sessions meet during term time on Wednesday afternoons up until Easter at Fusion Arts, Oxford and the project is open to girls aged between 16 and 19 (by referral from a support worker) who may be struggling to cope in formal education, may have chaotic lifestyles or facing complex relationship issues.
Please contact Judy Munday for more information and a referral form. firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the latest Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report on Girls in the Criminal Justice System here
Modelling Change is funded by:
On 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.
The 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:
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 was funded by Arts Council England, The Monument Trust and Thames Valley Probation.
“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 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: email@example.com 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.
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.
“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 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 […]
Publications for Using the Arts
- Art & Community Safety - An Evaluation of the Community Arts Programme (Feb 2005)
- Art of the Possible – Achieving Change Through Creative Practice (2006) – A pictorial Conference reminder
- SROI Urban Beatz Evaluation – An Evaluation of the Urban Beatz project 2007
- Tales from the Riverbank - A write-up up of the 2007 Lifecrafts Conference by Richard Ings
- Phat Kanz Street Art Support Pack for Young Artists
- Phat Kanz Street Art Support Pack for Support Workers
(Note – these files are very large- you will require Acrobat Reader version 6 or later to read them; if you wish to print you will need to select the “fit to paper” option in Acrobat Reader).
- Runners Support Pack - Designed to accommpany the Runners dvd which looks at the sensitive and difficult issue of young people becoming involved in drug dealing. Dvd copies can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unlocking Value (2011) – A report by New Philanthropy Capital exploring the economic benefit of the arts in criminal justice.
- Moving Forward : Project Report and Evaluation (2012)
- Women at the HeArt: Executive Summary 2014
- Women at the HeArt: Evaluation Report (2014)