Our Project Coordinator Becky shares her experiences of working with a youth group to achieve their Discover Arts Awards with a kindness theme.
Newington’s Chill Club is a hub of activity. Every Monday night the young people who attend are encouraged to take lead on the kind of activities on offer. The group meet in a good sized hall with a small stage, a kitchen and a cupboard full of the latest board games and good craft materials. There were usually at least three activities laid out ready to be picked up by anyone attending. Sometimes they baked food to share over break, played bowls competitions which ran the length of the hall, started loud games of UNO and once an impromptu football match left half the group with some serious bragging rights. I initially went to Chill Club with an ambitious plan to get everyone through their Discover Arts Award quite quickly, however I soon realised that as there was a lot going on I wouldn’t get time with the same young people each week. Attendance was inconsistent and sometimes everyone wanted to play a game instead.
There were some young people who were very keen – the club has arts at its core due to artist Nova Marshall who leads it – however others did take a bit longer to get curious. At the beginning I bought with me a few short creative activities and as we played with stickers and washi tape I got to know the group and explained how the project was going to be about them achieving Arts Awards as well as helping to create a resource for other young people. It didn’t take too long to get a core group who would arrive each week and come straight over to me to find out what they could do in their sketchbooks this session. To begin I facilitated quick activities like making a kindness photobooth and kindness quote posters. As the group grew more confident they started to share their interests with me and between sessions I’d let that percolate and work out how to bring things like embroidery, animation and games into the sessions.
How we did it: Discover, Part A
- Take part in at least one arts activity
- Identify a number of art forms
To achieve Part A I created a lucky dip of art forms, each young person took 3-5 out of a bag and tried to find them in the community centre. To log this activity, they drew a map or a spider diagram to describe the examples they found. There were things like knitted jumpers, handmade pottery, graphic design flyers and paintings. For a few of them it was quite challenging to see that art and creativity was all around them, it was easy for them to see the painting on the wall as art but less obvious that the chair they were sitting on involved design. With some encouragement they did start to think outside of the box, there were occasions when those who were ahead helped others to think more sideways. Some of the art forms couldn’t be found in the community centre so the young people searched on their mobile phones or in art postcards I had hung on a washing line, here they were able to find examples of things like stained glass windows, sculpture and photography.
Due to the nature of the group lots of young people took part in different creative activities for Part A depending on the session they were present for. Some made Christmas cards, others did 1-minute drawing challenges in their sketchbooks and a few attended a theatre workshop. This was by far the easiest element of the Arts Award to get them excited about, there was lots of willingness to try something new as well as spending time working on an individual creation. To capture the young people’s reflections I created stickers with questions on like “What did you enjoy about taking part?” which they stuck into sketchbooks alongside photographs of themselves, notes and sketches.
With Part A the kindness focus was varied, some of the drawing challenges involved working together with one person holding the pencil and the other moving it around encouraging communication and perseverance, the Christmas cards were made for a local care home as well as family members and the theatre workshop focused on belonging, tolerance and friendship. More directly some of the young people selected their favourite kindness quote to make into a poster, we discussed what they had chosen and why it stood out to them. The kindness photobooth invited them to make a prop outlining why they were proud to be kind- things like helping the homeless and hats of positivity were made.
All of the work they took part in was great testing ground for the new Arts & Kindness themed logbook which has been co-created with Chill Club and artist Jan Wheatley. We’ll be sharing more about the activities and launching the resource in Spring – keep posted for more information!
Here’s our list of art forms so you can make your own lucky dip game!
Acting Animation Architecture Assemblage
Ceramics Choreography Clay Collage Comedy Comic Design Crochet
Dance Digital Art Directing Drama Drawing
Fashion Design Filmmaking
Found Object Sculpture
Jewellery Design Jewellery Making
Mask Making Mime Movement
Painting Papermaking Performance Photography Playing an instrument Poetry Portraiture Pottery Printmaking Prop Making
Sculpture Sewing Silk Screen Printing Singing Song writing Spoken Word Sport Photography Stained Glass Windows Story Telling Story Writing
Tattoo Design Textiles Design
Videography Vocal Performance
Weaving Wire sculpture Woodcraft