Arts and mental health facilitation, mentoring and resource creation
I’ve worked in the area of Arts and Health for over 10 years, mainly running creative play and art technique sessions with adults managing mental health conditions. I am currently working as a lead artist for Cartwheel Arts and as a Studio Manager/ Mentor for Pool Arts as well as having worked for other organisations in the past such as ARC, Manchester Histories festival and Burnley Youth Theatre.
I have built on my experience of designing workshops and activities for groups and moved into resource development and facilitating training as part of my work with Cartwheel Arts. I’m really interested in how we can use creative methods to facilitate conversation, gather data and self reflect and have worked with organisations and individuals using creative methods to help strengthen teams and reflect on working practice.
Creative resource development
Art for Transition
My most recent project was co-developing a creative resource for newly arrived children in Rochdale schools, working alongside Artist Beth Morgan and Cartwheel Arts, using the design thinking method to ensure we kept the children’s needs at the forefront. We did extensive research and ran focus groups with children who had been newly arrived in the last few years, listening to their experiences and needs and designing the project around them. We also worked closely with a group of teachers and ESOL workers, ensuring that the resource also met their needs as facilitators. The project culminated in us creating a pack with 30 creative activities, plus extensive facilitation notes and a training day and is currently successfully being rolled out across 20 schools in Rochdale.
I co-created this resource with Cartwheel Arts and Artist Jodie Silverman. It is creative wellbeing game for groups, designed to help increase wellbeing. There are 28 cards split into 5 categories, helping participants to experiment, self reflect, connect, relax and notice. The game has been extremely well received and is used by many organisations across Rochdale and the UK and has recently been rolled out to Rochdale schools with great feedback.
I have also been working for Pool Arts, an artist-led charity for artists facing barriers to practice. The organisation is run by its members and through working with them I have experienced a different way that projects can be run when it's the person whom it’s designed for making decisions rather than someone else making assumptions on what might work. I’ve also learned extensively about issues surrounding the medical model of disability and around the barriers that some artists face to their practice.
I worked with the members to support them to look at and develop their practice, sometimes suggesting new working methods or opportunities and other times assisting with website creation and development or writing CVs. I also worked on co-curating Pool Arts exhibitions; writing exhibition text, artists statements and press releases.
I always encourage others to express themselves creatively and find their own unique style, preferring to teach basic techniques and help participants to explore and play rather than teaching techniques by rote. Quality is also important to me when running projects, I want the work to be of a high standard, as well as the group being in control of what they want to do and having a nurturing and fun experience. The core themes of my work with groups are encouraging creative expression, experimentation and developing confidence and self-esteem by developing their own creative interests.
I’m well organised and good at managing my time, which helps with the business side of projects, I love spreadsheets and any online tool that will help me to save time or do things more efficiently. I also have practical skills in marketing, selling, administration and project and budget management.
I care about people and I'm always learning and trying to improve how I am showing up for others experiencing oppression and looking at the ways in which I hold privilege. My own personal experience as an artist with a chronic illness and history of mental health issues has helped me to work with others compassionately and opened my eyes to the barriers that people can face and I plan to explore this in a future project.
Practical skills include;
Experimental drawing using paper, wire, clay, Sculpture, printmaking - lino, screen, block and mono, textile work - banners & Wall hangings, idea generation and developing work from sketches, mark making, art journaling, photography, stop-motion animation, bookmaking, collage, creative experimentation and expression, professional skills for artists, digital skills and development, CPD training for artists and organisations, blogging, content creation, website management, budgeting and planning
Have a look at my CV at the top of the page for more information on what I've worked on and this page for other professional services.