Creative arts for wellbeing in Low Hill, Scotlands and Bushbury South: a write-up from Real Arts Workshops

Real Arts Workshops (RAW) are all about giving people a creative voice. That is achieved through providing a platform for people to use the Arts to express themselves; break down barriers; build confidence; encourage team work; have fun; try something new and learn new skills.

As part of the HeadStart programme, we wanted our activities to support and reflect the work that HeadStart does to support the mental wellbeing of young people, so we designed a varied programme which included designing and painting ‘Honesty Portraits’ – painting on plain masks which are mounted onto canvas which enable self-expression; designing ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ posters; learning basic sign language (BSL) and Deaf awareness; and making a video of BSL to a HeadStart song. Young people also created a ‘Tree of Hope’, decorated with print-outs of artwork they’d created, ‘wish tags’ - written tags about a wish they have for the world - and drawings and statements about their hopes and aspirations for the future.

We have been very pleased with the work created and hope that the young people have achieved something they will feel proud of and remember for years to come.

by Alex Vann and Gary O’Dowd, Real Arts Workshops

Some examples of the artwork produced by young people:

The HeadStart Summer 2018 Song with British Sign Language:

Feedback from Real Arts Workshops at Low Hill Community Centre:

‘I like doing art because I don’t get to do painting at home’ (Corey)

‘I found it really fun because I can finally have a chance to paint to my full potential’ (Theo)

‘I really enjoyed the art session’ (Isabelle)

‘It’s really good and I enjoyed learning sign language’ (Brinley)

‘It’s really fun to try new things and make friends, and understand what art is all about’ (Nnedimma)

‘I found it really interesting – learning sign language and about blind and deaf people. It was good creating the images for the posters.’ (Emma)

‘I enjoyed all of it. I was kind of nervous seeing myself on the video (doing sign language to the HeadStart song) but my confidence is growing.’ (Keira)

‘I enjoyed the art – I’ve always done art and love to express myself that way’ (Demi)

From workshops at Big Venture:

‘This was the messiest art work we’ve done!’ (Cofi)

‘Mine is about anti-bullying’ (Madison)

‘My painting shows good things at the top and bad at the bottom’ (Lexi)

‘I felt happy’ (Nicole)