Crafting Relationships

Crafting Relationships, our intergenerational strand of work, has been running since 2012.

Most of our current work is as a delivery partner, together with emh homes, on our local Big Lottery Funded, Ageing Better project Leicester Ageing Together. Scroll through the photos below to get an overview of all the different projects!

 

Spinney Hills radio pay April – June 2017

Writer facilitator and Beauty and Utility Arts Associate, Katie Sone worked with a group of year 7 students from Al Aqsa school and the Leicester Ageing Together elders group at Highfields Community Centre in Leicester to produce a collaborative radio play.

Huge thanks to MGL Media for recording the play and talking us through the techy bits!

Click on the link to hear their masterpiece!

 

 

 

Crafting Relationships for Leicester Ageing Together – Printmaking with Mandeep Dhadialla – March 2017

 

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Crafting Relationships – Leicester Ageing Together – emh homes Wakerley Court and home schooled children Nov – Dec 2016

 

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Crafting Relationships – Leicester Ageing Together – Jameah Girls’ Academy and community members Nov – Dec 2016

 

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Crafting Relationships – Leicester Ageing Together – emh homes Len Hollis Court Court Ur Choice July – Aug 2016
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Crafting Relationships – Leicester Ageing Together – Spinney Hills community members and Focus Charity April – May 2016

 

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Crafting Relationships – Leicester Ageing Together – emh homes Scarborough Court May 2016

 

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Crafting Relationships – Leicestershire County Council Wellbeing Hi 5 – emh homes Prior Park and Lewis Charlton School

 

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Crafting Relationships – NW Leicestershire St. Mary’s Court and emh homes Agar Nook community Centre

 

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Crafting Relationships – Leicestershire County Council Innovation Challenge – emh homes St. Mary’s and local primary school

 

 

Books in Prisons – changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme

Changes made to Incentives and Earned Privileges for prisoners has sparked a huge response from artists, writers, charities, academics, ex prisoners and many many others over the last week.

One implication of these changes is that prisoners can no longer be given books or art materials from outside prison, unless they earn or are given the money to buy them. On all sides of this debate there is agreement that books and basic art materials, such as paper and pencil, are essential for all prisoners – not least because they support safe imprisonment and effective rehabilitation. Koestler Trust statement

Feelings run high around these issues, so I can only speak from the perspective of one individual who set up a Social Enterprise four years ago with one main aim – to develop and manage creative projects with social benefits.

Over the four years I’ve worked with a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations all in need of some inspiration, motivation and support to get their message out there or just to improve their own private wellbeing.

In 2012 we partnered on the My Living Voice: Project which aimed to highlight the lived experience of the judicial system by ex- offenders, using arts workshops, materials and art work to raise awareness of issues and barriers faced with resettlement. The project culminated in a very professional exhibition containing some incredible artwork. Yes, this was a community based arts project, but all our participants were self taught in prison and in many cases it was art that gave them the strength to make changes and get through.

Now, each to their own, but I’d like to share a little bit of the feedback from that project and I hope my standpoint on this news issue is clear.

“Prior to prison I had little if no experience of art in the practical sense, and never really contemplated that it would form such a major part of my life. I have received no professional guidance and am completely self taught. I only wish that I had found art earlier in my life. The feeling of tranquillity that I experience when absorbed in this form of expression is to me unique it’s as though I have been granted a new sense of life. I am constantly learning and very much at the commencement of my journey. Through the “My Living Voice” art group I have been able to expand my comfort zone and have been able to push my boundaries into new materials, methods and disciplines. I have so many new avenues to explore.” A – member of the Art Group

Outcome: Increased confidence and well being in participants. Increased skills development in participants.

“The project has given me a focus – something to achieve and helped me get back into something I haven’t done for a while. It has given me a chance to look back at my life and get things in perspective. Also it ties in with the fact that I am going into rehab quite soon. I do have a chance to change things and this project has helped me to see that. It has given a focus and purpose back into my life.” J – member of the Art Group

Outcome: Reduced likelihood of misuse of substances/deterioration of health/mental wellbeing.

The Exhibition – An exhibition of the work produced by the Art Group took place in December 2012 at St Nicholas Church in Leicester. The poster for the exhibition and its title, “The Man Inside”, were ideas and designs from group members. Over 200 people came to the exhibition. The art work was available for sale with profits partly going to the artists and partly to fund a continuation of the art beyond the Innovation Challenge Programme. A number of exhibits were chosen to go on display at New Walk Art Gallery, Leicester.

Outcomes: Public awareness raised of personal experiences of judicial system and barriers to resettlement of ex-offenders via a number of open events.

“My Living Voice gave residents the opportunity to channel their feelings and thoughts, of their experiences of the Criminal Justice System, into paintings, sculptures, installations and scripts. It has also given them the opportunity to develop their confidence and attain new skills. The supportive environment within which the programme was delivered allowed residents to not only be within a learning environment but also to build positive peer relations. “ Viv Michell, Regional Manager Adullam

Points of Interest: Art on the Move

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Points of Interest: Art on the Move is an Arts and Health Walks project that for the past three months has met on a weekly basis to go out walking and produce some wonderful artworks.

With an emphasis on walking being good for mental health as well as physical health we visited Bradgate Park, Coventry Transport Museum, Hollycroft Park and Coalville’s Art Trail; along with the help of artist Julia Smith participants have produced artworks depicting the four walks whilst exploring different methods of art by using paint, pastels and print.

We are now exhibiting the group’s fabulous work in the Atkins Building’s reception area from June 7th until July 12th, we invite you to visit and enjoy the wonderful work made.

For more information on how to get to the Atkins Building please go to http://www.atkinsbuilding.co.uk/contact/

Check in again next week for photos, quotes and even an interview with artist Julia Smith as we celebrate Points of Interest and the unveiling of some lovely art!

Making birds

At the moment I’m working with two groups on a piece of alcohol misuse animation as an awareness tool for secondary school children.

As part of the project we asked participants if they had much experience of creating artwork and there were a couple in the room accessing art classes, but the majority hadn’t done anything since school, but wanted to! So, we took a week out to try our hand at making some birds and here are a few photos …

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Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival

I’ve worked with Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival on two Arts and Health projects since 2006 and have recently taken part in a podcast talking about my experiences.

Here’s the link if you would like a listen. I’m on about minute 41, but do listen to the whole podcast if you have the time, because it’s a fabulous reflection of what The Comedy Festival means to the city, its performers, audiences and those visiting.

http://m.soundcloud.com/roger-clegg/dlcf-podcast

The BrightSparks: Comedy Asylum best of show will be at The Guildhall in Leicester on Saturday 16th February between 7 and 9pm. We very often sell out, so get in touch on 07908 750187 if you’re interested in coming along. Tickets are only a few pounds.

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Katherine

Guest blog for Gill Phillips, creator of Whose Shoes?

I was very honoured to write a guest blog post for Gill Phillips this week about the intergenerational arts project we’ve just celebrated in Lutterworth and I hope you like it too.

In the shoes of … Katherine Brown | Arts and Health Project Manager | Beauty and Utility Arts.

Below are a few photos from the celebratory event we held on 15th August and a couple more photos from the workshops….enjoy.

Guest artist blog – Jo Dacombe

 Seeking the Land Unknown in Hinckley

I once read a book by Lucy Lippard called “The Lure of the Local”, about returning to places that she knows and how people have relationships to places. So when I set out on a walk with the Friday group from Beauty & Utility Arts, to explore the local area in Hinckley, I was intrigued to see how they might look at their local place and how I, as an outsider, might see it.

Before I came I sent the group a map of the area around the Atkins Building, our starting point, with suggestions for several walks that they might like to do. I asked them to choose one. I was hugely encouraged when the message came back that, no, they had not opted for exploring the picturesque or pretty parks or gardens, they had chosen to go through the Industrial Estate to a brook intriguingly named the “Battling Brook”! At that point I knew that this group were true explorers after my own heart!

And what an adventure it was! We had a road map to guide us, but if you look on the road map the area that we were interested in was a big blank space, no features mapped there at all. We talked about how, when the first maps were being drawn up and areas of the world remained undiscovered, early mapmakers would leave huge areas blank and simply write “terra incognita” there (meaning “land unknown”). We were in search of our own local terra incognita.

It was tricky to locate the exact area of the terra incognita. Many old factories stood there, the old sock factory, and behind it an impressive radio tower which turned out to be part of the National Grid. We had a brief run-in with National Grid’s security who were not amused by our attempts to photograph the tower, and we had to delete the pictures! Feeling rather excited by our new status as agents of espionage, we then went on to explore: through a hole in a fence a vast concrete wasteland, spying a bridge in the distance; we admired a campervan for sale and dreamt of the freedom of the road; we followed a path along a hedge of blackberries promising good foraging for the autumn; and finally located the brook, with tales of boats, one of us had a lovely tale about a boat he nearly bought but returned to find it half submerged, where he believes it still is.

Having found the Battling Brook and speculating on how it got its name, we continued by following our noses to find a way back. Katherine was adamant that we must make a circular route and not go back on ourselves, so we wound our way through alleyways (more naming games here, should we call them jetties, passageways, alleys or cut-throughs, and what’s the difference?) and around houses, past a beautiful old church and a dilapidated building with broken windows and rusted panels, until we made it back to the Atkins Building.

Going through our photos we started to put together a map of where we had found all these “moments of beauty”, which I hope the group will continue to work on.  We discussed the idea of beauty and how different people find different things beautiful. We had found beauty in nature, decay, industrial structures, old buildings, water, fences, stories… and all within less than a mile of our starting point! It just goes to show that, when you look at the world like an artist, trying to find those “moments of beauty”, even what you thought were familiar surroundings can reveal surprising richness and an astonishing amount of interesting detail.

There is so much more to explore in Hinckley! We hope to do some more walks in the future to further explore the “lure of the local”, and I look forward to that… what will we find next time?

Find out more about joining our Points of Interest group by contacting Katherine on 07908 750187 and find out more about Jo Dacombe at http://jodacombe.blogspot.com

                             

Making mosaics …

Crikey, where did last week go to?

We’re nearing the end of our planned sessions at an extra care scheme in Lutterworth now and the group is really starting to find their confidence again around producing artwork and just having a go.

On Wednesday Winsome Ruddock and I worked on mosaics based on themes each individual had talked to us about as part of our reminiscence discussions, so we had birds, a lion, flowers and architecture.

One major challenge for us as facilitators has been thinking about tasks that individuals with poor hearing, eyesight and dexterity can feel comfortable with and mosaic work was very successful in this repect.

Did we learn any lessons from last week’s session? Yes …. don’t eat cake over your mosaic when the glue is still wet ;0)

Here are a few pictures of the group concentrating immensely!

The aliens are coming …

Saturday 18th February saw another fantastic performance by the BrightSparks: Comedy Asylum team as part of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival.

Where else would you witness a farting meditation sketch, Tommy Cooper tribute, a death metal gardening song and aliens to name but a few.

I managed to catch the alien in question for a quick photo opportunity before he went off to take over the world …

  

If the aliens don’t strike, the new set of mental health Arts and Walking workshops start tomorrow. ‘Points of Interest’ will run for seven weeks, based at Beauty and Utility Arts’ office space on Druid Street, Hinckley.

We’ll meet in the office at 1pm, go through the planned routes (one shorter and one longer, catering for all abilities) and then head off either on foot from here or into the minibus and off out to a location within the Borough.

After the walk there is the choice to come back to the workshop and take part in an Arts based activity, inspired by the walks.

So ….

When? 1 – 4pm every Friday for the next 7 weeks (not including Good Friday)

Where? Starting at Beauty and Utility Arts on Druid Street, Hinckley and then off out walking with the option to do an Arts activity later on.

Cost? £2 per person per week

What do you need? Sensible walking shoes, a weather appropriate coat, a camera if you would like to take photographs and a snack and drink to keep you going while we’re out.

How do I get involved? Call or email Katherine Brown on (07908) 750187 or beautyandutilityarts@hotmail.co.uk to book a place and get directions to the office. 

How do I find out about other Arts and Health activities? Follow this blog or the Facebook and Twitter links at the side of the page for fortnightly project updates. Also see the events calendar for upcoming activities.

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Katherine