Most of the fantastic people who volunteer at Project Ability are artists, graduates and undergraduates who help our tutors during our arts workshops. Most, but not all, as this week's volunteer Cathy Dowling shows. Cathy has had a long career in external relations at Scottish universities, at Stirling Management Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow University and latterly at Glasgow School of Art.
She hopes to add her experience of building partnerships with companies and drawing down funding to Project Ability’s fundraising strategy. She had been lending her skills to our charity one afternoon a week for the last year, and is a great addition to the team!
"I know there are bighearted organisations and individuals in Glasgow and beyond who’d be entranced by the talent, creativity and wonderful work that happens here. I hope I can help with outreach. Times are tough in fundraising and we need to tell compelling stories to bring those key donors on board".
Thank you Cathy!
This week, the Glasgow School of Arts welcomes its new students, and Project Ability was there to mark the occasion! Thanks to volunteer and art student Jonathan Kirkwood, three of our artists were involved in the event: on Monday, Jonathan McKinstry took over a wall of the famous Vic cafe, where he painted a mural of his 2015 artwork 'Not the Last Supper'. The result is absolutely fantastic, and the feedback from the students has been great.
On Tuesday, John Cocozza and Steven Reilly spent the day doing live portraits of students and visitors, something that always proves very popular. Models were encourage to give a little donation in exchange of their portrait, and the crew came back with a fantastic £110!
Jonathan Kirkwood said: "I am so happy to have been given the opportunity to take Jonathan, Steven and John up to the art school and given them the chance to show how fun, energetic and exciting their work is. It's been an overall really positive experience and one that I hope leads to more opportunities being created for collaborations between the two organisations. Everyone who I spoke to over the course of the two days was really enthusiastic and simply overwhelmed with the work that the guys generated, and all seemed really interested in what goes on at Project Ability! As always it was a massive pleasure working alongside the three gents and I want to thank them all for coming along and making all this possible."
Thank you all, and well done!
On Wednesday the Jacobs Finance Team were holding a fundraising day collecting funds for Project Ability, the chosen charity for the Jacobs team taking part in the Great Scottish run on October 1st this year.
"A few different raffles were held with the most popular being Captain Morton’s Treasure Chest, where one lucky winner won a hamper filled with all sorts of goodies.
Great work was also done by our skilled bakers who set up a cake sale/tuck shop selling off some impressive creations, this sale proved very popular with staff from all over the building.
Overall the fundraising day generated a fantastic £772 which will be added to our fundraising page, this also brings our overall target of collecting £2000 for Project Ability definitely within reach."
If you would like to support the Jacobs team and Project Ability, please help them reach their target and donate via Local Giving.
Many thanks to everybody at Jacobs in Glasgow for all your efforts!
'All About Hamish' is a collaborative project by ReConnect artist Jan Thomson and volunteer Sarah Bowers, focused on creatively exploring ideas around the concepts of self and self-esteem through the character of Hamish. The project has been a chance for Sarah and Jan to develop a creative partnership and to generate a final window installation using stain glass and vinyl in the ReConnect studio space.
Using the Project Ability logo -christened Hamish by the ReConnect group- to create a focal character for the conversation, they collectively discussed their individual responses to a broad palette of colours, reflecting the complex range of emotions present within us at certain points.
The final design works with the existing curve of the studio windows to express this spectrum of different states of being, with the figure of Hamish moving through this arch of emotions.
The project was a chance for Jan and Sarah to learn together and teach one another while building confidence in the mediums of stain glass and vinyl. And we must say, it looks fantastic in the ReConnect studios!
Project Ability has a new opportunity for a visual artist to develop a creative partnership with artist Cameron Morgan, FRSA.
Cameron Morgan is a prominent learning disability artist. He has received a professional development award from Creative Scotland to support his continuing artistic practice. He is based in Glasgow and works in Project Ability’s studio in Trongate 103.
Closing date: 25th August 2017, 5pm.
Interviews: 1st September 2017, Project Ability, Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD
This is a call for an artist to open their studio to Morgan and share their practice. It’s a “residency”, in your own studio; a day a week over 12 weeks to reflect, create, experiment, and learn while collaborating, conversing and working alongside Morgan.
What you choose to do and the approach taken will be a conversation negotiated between you, Morgan and facilitated by Project Ability. Possible project outcomes if new work is made is a shared exhibition or artist talk.
This is the first of three opportunities that will be offered over 12 months. Your commitment to the partnership will be approx. 12 days, 60 hours.
Morgan has exhibited widely and received public and critical accolades for his work. He is expert in creating temporary gallery installations; large scale paintings worked directly onto the fabric of the gallery and his humorous ceramic sculptures. He spent much of 2016, in the studio working on his Glasgow International commission TV Classics Part 1 (http://www.tvclassicspart1.co.uk): Project Ability, April 2016 and Put Your Sweet Lips Closer to the Phone: Tramway, September 2016.
Learning disabled artists are under-represented in every area of contemporary visual arts; their work is not held in national collections and it has little exposure in public galleries. The work is seldom researched, documented or critiqued. There are a few notable artists who are change makers. Through their talent and determination and the expertise of their support studios, their work is reaching audiences. Cameron Morgan is a change maker.
The project explores the nature of artistic collaboration, knowledge and skill exchange and works towards a more equal and improved integration of inclusive arts practice. Project Ability supports artists with learning disabilities to develop their artistic practice and contribute to the contemporary visual art landscape.
Interested? Send a covering letter describing your interest in the project, your C.V. and 6 images to email@example.com by Friday 25th August.
Monika Grubizna volunteered with our Aspire group from January this year until the end of the last block. It has been a pleasure having her as part of the team.
"I started volunteering with Project Ability shortly after relocating to Glasgow and found everyone very welcoming, friendly and helpful. I’ve had previous experience with running creative workshops for both children and adults, but never had a chance to work alongside artists who experienced any kind of cognitive difficulties, so the Aspire program has been a great opportunity for me to observe, learn and gain new outlook on the creative process and the therapeutic value of artistic expression.
The Aspire group is a lovely mix of sparkling personalities. Everybody has been working in a wonderfully relaxed manner, immersing themselves in the process without fear or pressure.
At first I felt a bit lost without a set “class” agenda, but soon I realised that the group has its own flow: everyone sets their separate goal and pace when making art. The laid back atmosphere and happy chatter add to the creative air.
The studio spaces and the variety of professional equipment are really impressive. We could choose almost any technique to put our ideas into life and there was a complete freedom in doing so. The tutors were always there to provide feedback and advice. Working in such a relaxed and supportive environment has been incredibly fulfilling. Thank you!"
Thank you to Monica and all our wonderful volunteers! We now look forward to meeting the next group of artists who will join us starting in August!
Sarah Wilson is one of our brilliant volunteers. She tells us more about her experience in this week's Meet the Volunteers.
"At the start of this year, I began as a volunteer in the ‘Art Matters’ workshops on Saturdays. As a practising artist and recent graduate, I have found the workshops both inspiring and rewarding. Project Ability provides the participants with the freedom to explore a wide range of materials away from the constraints of set structures and briefs, creating a fun and liberal studio environment.
The opportunity to become involved and to engage with each participant has been informative and good fun. The other staff have been very welcoming, providing a supportive insight into the many different functions of the organisation. The workshops bring you back to the raw principle of creativity – a welcomed detox from the art world. It has been a joy to observe how each participant expresses their creativity differently and highlights the benefits of self-motivated learning/workshops.
Overall, it has been a great learning experience, the relationship between the volunteers and participants has been two ways whereby shared interests and knowledge is exchanged. I believe that Project Ability advocates the importance of creativity in our everyday society and would highly recommend the experience becoming a volunteer."
In today's 'Meet the Volunteers', we introduce you to the brilliant Anna Reid, who has been volunteering with our Create programme.
"Project ability reminded me that art, particularly as a form of play, is unbelievably important when it comes to learning and confidence. I started volunteering with the Create programme after graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, where my practice focused primarily on social engagement with young people.
After graduating I knew that I wanted to continue being creative whilst working with the community, and when I heard about Project Ability, and the programmes they ran, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It certainly was. I found I learnt as much from the young people I worked with as (I hope) they did from me. As I got to know the artists and work alongside them, the experience became more and more rewarding. The Create programme meant young people could express their spontaneous ideas using anything from clay, to photography, to drawing and even printmaking. The facilities and space are fantastic, and the staff are extremely supportive in helping you navigate the studio and finding materials. I loved visiting the Project Ability galleries, which provided me with endless inspiration and appreciation for the artists working at Project Ability.
I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who wants to work alongside inspiring artists and needs a reminder as to why art is so beneficial for the community."
Thanks Anna! If you would like to volunteer with Project Ability, download an application form and apply by Monday 26th June.
"With an education in the Fine Arts and Design Academy in Poland and an interest in art therapy, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to become a volunteer with Project Ability. In 2016 I supported a gentleman at Aspire class and was very happy to see how much he enjoyed it. I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Project Ability where all the staff and fellow volunteers are very knowledgeable, have a great sense of care and it’s a pleasure to be a part of the team.
With Aspire, I am helping artists with drawing, painting, ceramics and other types of artistic media they choose to express themselves with. I’m witnessing how they create wonderful works of art. I‘m really glad I’m working with such inspiring and creative artists who are in kind teaching me how to balance being encouraging, instructive or when to step back and let their creativity flow. It has inspired me to go back to my art as well.
I would highly recommend any artist to volunteer at Project Ability. It is a wonderful opportunity to work with friendly, helpful and like-minded people within excellent facilities. But the best of all of course, is the chance to work with a group of great artists.
Thank you and all the best."
Thank you Katarzyna!
"I’ve known of Project Ability since a lecturer suggested applying to volunteer when I was discussing my plans after studying at Gray’s School of Art. I’ve been following a plan towards studying a masters in Art and Psychotherapy for over 10 years. It’s the only career I’ve ever felt compelled to pursue. I have a deep desire to help others in any way I can, which combined with my engrained creativity would make it the ideal job for my personality. I’ve always admired the work Project Ability does and really wanted the opportunity to learn from them and the artists supported there.
As part of my journey, over the last two years, I have been working as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties, mental health illnesses and physical disabilities. I have incorporated art workshops and community based creative activities - when appropriate and if time allows - with the people I support, including helping to remodel the bedroom of a young woman I support to include a large sensory corner where she can spend some time out of her wheelchair.
In my job I have many other responsibilities, so having the chance to be immersed in a purely arts based environment at Project Ability, has been amazing. The feedback from the tutors has also been encouraging, especially when they have recognised the benefits of something I’ve tried with the artists they support.
A lot of the art workshops I have facilitated at work or other places, I have volunteered and have funded by myself. Having the time, space and resources at Project Ability has given me the opportunity to experiment more with people. Engaging with the artists to identify what they enjoy has been a big highlight for me. This has been particularly helpful with the non-verbal artist who I have spent the most time working with. The flexibility to switch to different materials and processes has helped me support him without creative limitations.
Focusing solely on art as a method to enrich people’s lives has been one of the most valuable periods of time I have spent volunteering. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge and learned new techniques to support people which will help me in future projects.
My own art practice has benefited too. While supporting one of the Saturday artists, I have made examples pieces to work from. There’s been quite a few moments where I have made work completely divorced from my usual palette and style because I haven’t been aiming to produce ‘art’ or been too precious and concerned with the result, yet I have liked the outcome more than I usually do. Working with the artists has definitely taught me to make work I enjoy making removed from my own expectations and standards I tend to place on myself.
I have been sad at the end of every session because I’ve been having far too much fun! I will definitely miss working with all of this group of inspiring people, but I’m so grateful that I have been fortunate enough to have worked with the artists alongside the tutors."
Thank you Robyn!
Project Ability is delighted to be able to offer two opportunities to Glasgow based visual artists, interested in making and experiencing our unique working environment.
Our residency programme gives opportunity to artists to develop their practice, within our busy working studios. Your experience with us will give you the chance to engage with our artists, be influenced by their practices and give you time and a space to create with us.
We have two opportunities available, one for the calendar month of August and one for the month of September. All interested artists are invited to submit an artist cv along with a short proposal of how they could use their time with us to our Volunteers Co-ordinator, Tracy Gorman at volunteers@Project-ability.co.uk. Any enquiries regarding these opportunities should also be directed to Tracy.
The deadline for all application is Monday 26th June. Good luck
(image: Florence Dwyer, ReSearch residency 2016)
As our spring workshops draw to a close, Project Ability is gearing up for our autumn 2017 programme due to start later this August. We are looking for a wide range of visual artists, who are interested in experiencing our creative programme of workshops. Our studios offer a vibrant and colourful working environment for our artists, tutors and volunteers alike. Volunteering with Project Ability will challenge you, no matter what stage you are at in your career. It can open up your practice and introduce you to new ways of making art, we hope you will be energised and inspired by your experience with us. Please look at the ‘Meet the Volunteer’ feature on our website, to be inspired by the past and varied experiences of our previous volunteers.
We are welcoming applications from both graduate and undergraduate artists, with experience in ceramics or printmaking and across the visual arts, to support our ‘Aspire’ participants in the making of their artwork. Our Aspire programme is for adults with learning disabilities. Volunteers should be able to commit to at least 2 hours a week, each week, for 8 weeks. Workshops take place from 10am – 12noon and 1pm– 3pm, Monday to Thursday and 10 – 3pm on Friday.
We also have an opportunity to volunteer with our ‘Sunday Social’ group, an afternoon workshop giving opportunity for adults, from across our programmes, to socialise and make art.
In addition we would also like to recruit artists for our ‘Create’ Saturday workshop programme. With opportunities from 10 am to 12:30pm to volunteer with our youngest artists aged 5 – 12 years and from 1pm to 4pm to support young people aged 12 - 21 years. We also have further opportunities to volunteer with Art Matters; a designated studio time for young adults 21 – 28 years, from 4pm – 6pm. Successful applicants should, as much as possible, be able to commit to 8 sessions, with further opportunity to extend their experience, possible.
Finally, we have further opportunity to volunteer within our ReConnect programme, which supports artists with lived experience of mental ill health. ReConnect supports artists to develop their individual art practices in a supported studio environment. We would like to recruit visual artists who enjoy engaging with others and talking about art, who would like to support and contribute to our open studio. Opportunities are available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 10am – 1pm.
If you have any questions about any of our opportunities, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Tracy Gorman, our Volunteers Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the application form and send it back to Tracy at the email address above by Monday 26th June. Good Luck.
Today marks the start of Volunteers Week, taking place accross the UK from 1st-7th June. This is a great opportunity to celebrate all our volunteers, current and past, and to thank them all about their contribution to our organisation. Their time and effort is invaluable to a charity organisation like ours, and we hope they get as much from their experience here as we do from them.
For Volunteers Week, we asked a few of our previous volunteers where they are now and how their time with Project Ability affected their career.
"Initially I volunteered at Project Ability within the Tuesday morning Aspire classes. They are a great group and the tutors, Sandy and Meredith, were such fun to work with. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and I helped the artists with whatever they needed, from providing them with materials to helping roll out clay. I volunteered whilst in my final year at Art School studying Illustration.
After I finished both volunteering and university Tracy and Elisabeth got in touch with me and asked me to do a series of illustrations of the people and the studios of Project Ability. I obviously jumped at this and it was such an amazing experience and so nice to be asked to do so. It was such a unique opportunity to really get to know the people working within Project Ability and I felt I was able to get a really intimate snapshot of the place. At the end of the residency I had an exhibition of my work in the gallery which has just ended this May. I have loved working with Project Ability, it is such a vibrant place to work and the people who work there are so warm and welcoming."
"I began volunteering with Project Ability shortly after I graduated from Art School in 2014. As I had studied Communication Design and specialised in Illustration I had been used to fulﬁlling briefs and meeting multiple deadlines, so the prospect of being in a completely free and joyful artistic environment was really appealing to me.
I was very fortunate to have been placed with the Friday Aspire group, who immediately made me feel incredibly welcome and I formed close bonds with many of the participants. I grew so attached to them all and valued my Fridays at Project Ability so highly I ended up staying far longer than I had intended; I think I volunteered for over a year in the end! Eventually I bid a tearful farewell to the group but did some further voluntary work with various nursery groups and was later very lucky to be offered a position as a tutor for the Thursday Night Social.
Since then I have also been working regularly on the Create programme and outreach projects which has given me the conﬁdence to pursue tutoring in various contexts; I have run several different workshops in Glasgow and recently assisted in some art classes in Edinburgh. I’m currently working with Glasgow Museums Resource Centre’s Education team and am leading two classes for their Macmillan group, responding to the collection and artefacts in the stores.
Project Ability has not only been an invaluable part of my professional development but has really helped my conﬁdence and mental health, giving me endless amounts of creative inspiration and joy."
"I've been involved with Project Ability for a wee bit over a decade now. I came in to one of their film making workshops, started making some short movies, and never really stopped, going so far as to volunteer as an assistant in later workshops to help younger artists learn how to make their own films. More recently, I've been part of the Project Ability Media Unit since it began, filming, editing, and even animating projects with associated groups and artists across Scotland."
Many thanks to all our amazing volunteers from all of us at Project Ability!
Anya Mooney is one of our amazing volunteers, and a fantastic addition to our Aspire team. Here she tells us more about her experience with Project Ability.
'I have found my time volunteering at Project Ability to be incredibly enjoyable above all else! As I am not originally from Glasgow it has been fantastic to be part of one of its communities out with the art school where I study.
For me it has been particularly interesting to hear the stories of a different generation, some who have grown up in difficult circumstances, when our society was less supportive of adults with learning difficulties. As a student I spend a lot of time around people my age and in a similar situation to myself. I’ve found it fascinating to talk to a more diverse group of people with different life experiences and hear their stories.
I see a huge range of artistic outcomes every week at Project Ability and it is refreshing to see the artists making work so intuitively. Week by week I have got to know each student better and their individual style and way of making has really come across. I have found many of the students are confident and unself-conscious with their work; this is great to watch and a helpful lesson for any artist! Seeing how immersed the students get in making, as well as the pride at finishing a piece has demonstrated to me how important a space like this is. It is evident that the level of care from all the permanent tutors and staff has been influential in creating such an honest, open and inclusive environment! It has been brilliant to be part of it!'
For our first Meet The Volunteers feature this year, we are delighted to introduce you to the amazing Seamus Killick, who has been a brilliant addition to our Create team.
"Pretty much as soon as I walked into the ginormous studios at Project Ability, I felt at home. Amazing equipment, great light and most importantly all these fascinating works of art casually lying about the place. Spongebob and George Michael and bizarre swirling landscapes - all adding this ambience that made me excited to work alongside some very talented visionaries!
It's been too much fun hanging out with these kids and seeing their ideas come to life. It kind of reminds me why I got so into this art stuff back in school - it's a chance to share your private world with others. To become an explorer not only in your own imagination but to pick other peoples brains too. The to-and-fro of idle chit chat is wonderful brain food for me, especially the frankness of children which can be hilarious.
I like getting involved with an individual's idea and seeing how I can best help out with it depending on that person. Sometimes it might just be chatting about it or observing it and sometimes I might have to get stuck in with the clay. I like that at the beginning I felt like a kind of 'volunteer' person but then throughout the process I felt so relaxed that I just felt like another member of the class, with running jokes and nicknames and bouncing ideas of each other. Because I'm there for pretty much the same reason as they are. We all had many over lapping influences like Disney, Pokemon and Star Wars.
It's not been without its challenges! Creating stuff can be a frustrating thing when it doesn't go the way you intended it and sometimes we might just not feel like it. Just got to roll with the punches! I like embracing mistakes and I want to convince kids that accidents can be the best things in the making process.
Project Ability - its been fab. I leave with a head full of ideas and some fond memories of these wee guys!"
Thank you Seamus!
Project Ability is looking for a Freelance Arts Administrator to manage an outstanding programme of visual art activities and exhibition for children and young people with disabilities. The programme takes place in Project Ability’s studio in Trongate 103 in the centre of Glasgow and various off-site locations.
This is a freelance contract to cover a period of maternity leave. The fee is £7,200, 80 days over a period of 12 months.
Send completed application and your C.V to the Operations Manager at email@example.com or Project Ability, Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD
Closing date: 15th May. Interviews 23rd May.
Key duties and responsibility
- To work closely with the Artistic Director, staff team and artist tutors to plan and deliver a programme of workshops, exhibitions and events to support children and young people with disabilities to engage with contemporary visual art.
- To sustain existing and develop new partnerships with other key agencies – schools, community organisations and special interest groups to develop, coordinate and deliver an ambitious and high quality visual arts workshop and learning programme.
- To work with young people with disabilities to develop a programme of activities which support their creative learning and ambition.
- To supervise art tutors responsible for project delivery.
- To liaise with key stakeholders and funders.
- To effectively evaluate the programme against planned outcomes and to produce written reports as required.
Experience, knowledge and understanding
- Excellent track record of arts project administration.
- Ability to demonstrate a minimum of three years relevant work experience.
- Educated to degree or higher qualification in an arts related subject.
- Understanding the needs of children and young people.
- Understanding the special conditions required to give children and young people with additional support needs inclusive access to visual art.
- Experience of project monitoring and evaluation.
- Experience of report writing.
- Well organised with the ability to plan and deliver activities on time and within budget.
- Confident and articulate.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Ability to work effectively as part of a small team.
Documents to download
Roisin Cairney has been a great addition to our Saturday Create workshop team working with children and young people. Here is what she had to say about her time volunteering with Project Ability.
“I was drawn to Project Ability through regularly attending the exhibitions. The work that the students were making was exciting with an energy to them and each artist has their own well-developed style. I wanted to be part of this and in doing so gain experience in helping people to develop their art.
When I first started, I was very nervous and didn’t know where to begin but the staff and the children were very helpful in showing me the ropes. I found that when I relaxed and just got stuck in I learned very quickly about each child and their process. Each child is completely different and it's exciting to see the different ways of working and helping to develop their individual methods.
The kids are very intuitive but they are also perfectionists and take great pride in making the best work possible which has taught me a lot in my own practice, by taking this step back: watching and teaching the children has given me more patience within my own process.
It has been a great experience working with the staff, the kids and other volunteers and I've learned lots from my time here. I hope to continue to work with others when I complete my studies.”
Thank you Roisin
Today we share the last of our excellent short films offering an insight into volunteering with the organisation. This week we hear from Scott Lang.
Scott began his involvement with Project Ability through attending classes and cites this as his way back into creating artworks after a break. He then volunteered with us, before undertaking a ReSearch Residency.
The ReSearch Residency programme offers an artist a studio within our workshops for a month, where they can work alongside Project Ability artists to create new works.Scott talks about the inspiration behind his artwork and how the opportunity of having a studio space has allowed his work to develop.
If you are interested in joining our volunteer programme we are currently calling for applications for volunteers in 2017. Click here for all the details. Deadline Friday 6 January 2017.
This week as part of our Short Film Series we are introducing volunteer Saula Zuk. Saula worked with some of the children and young people on our Saturday Create Visual Art Classes. She reflects on the importance of art as a therapy and how art can help with wellbeing. Watch her film and find out more.
If you found Saula's story inspiring, why not join our volunteer programme? We are currently calling for applications. Click here for all the details. Deadline Friday 6 January 2017.
As part of our Meet the Volunteers Short Film Series we are sharing a film about volunteer Isabella Bunnel's experience of working with us. Isabella volunteered with our ReConnect our visual arts programme for adults with mental ill health. Isabella is a freelance illustrator and reflects on what she's been able to offer the artist's that she's worked with, but also what she has learned through the experience of working with them.
Watch the film and find out more. If you are interested in joining our volunteer programme, we are currently calling for applications. Click here for all the details. Deadline Friday 6 January 2017.
You can see all the films that are part of this series by clicking here.
The fantastic Katie Weir has been a part of our Saturday Create workshops working with children and young people. She’s been a great member of the team and we’ll be sad to see her go.
Hear what she has to say about her time volunteering with us;
“Volunteering within the Create Visual Arts programme at Project Ability has been an incredible experience and I feel so honoured to have been given the opportunity. I am a Sculpture and Environmental Art Student currently in my 2nd year at The Glasgow School of Art where I love to experiment in the studio with different materials creating textural and sensory stimulated environments for people to interact with.
The Create Saturday Visual Art Class is a wonderful creative environment offering the children a chance to experiment and play with new materials and make new friends. Every week I can’t wait for another Saturday in the studio to see the children gain so much enjoyment and hearing all their funny stories, they never fail to make me laugh!
Working with children has been a really rewarding experience that has enabled me to build a rapport with each individual and to help them to develop their skills through a process that works for them. I find it really admiral and refreshing to see how carefree and playful they are when they create and the act of decision making that goes with it. They are so confident and trusting in their instincts when making and it is so lovely to see.
This has been a truly wonderful experience and I will be sad when it comes to an end! The children have been a delight to meet and work with and have inspired me to want to pursue a career in working with children in the future. Thank you!”
Thank you Katie!
We have another short film to share from one of the volunteers who has been working with us. This week we hear from Florence Dywer, who was one of our ReSearch residents. This programme offers an artist a studio within our workshops for a month, where they can work alongside Project Ability artists to create new works.
Watch the film and find out about Florence's experiences.
Florence also volunteered our Art Matters team and you can read about her experience of working with them here
This week we are delighted to introduce Maya Kincaid, who has been volunteering with the Create programme. Maya has been a fantastic addition to our Saturday workshops team and shares some of her reflections with us here.
"I had heard about Project Ability’s fantastic work so much within my research and was really excited to finally get the opportunity to volunteer with them!
Within my own practice, I collaborate with children one to one and in small group settings. I am a strong believer in encouraging the natural creativity of young people and in directing / controlling their making as little as possible. I believe that children and young people are some of the most inspiring artists and consider their work to be more relevant an inspiration to me than many historical and contemporary established artists.
I have been part of the Create workshops on a Saturday afternoon and I think I have learnt so much more from the young artists than they have from me. It is an enriching experience to watch such a vast variation of free expression and to see how beneficial creativity can be as part of healthy communication. Not only am I in awe of the work produced but it is also an amazing social experience to sit and talk to so many individuals that I wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to meet in other settings. I have had some really great conversations with the artists and learnt about a lot of specialist things such as the prop making industry, international animation and traditional motor-cars, which are things I knew nothing about before starting this position.
I am in my final year of study in Sculpture and Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art and having a participatory practice that focuses on children and young people can make it difficult to find direct artists research. I feel like working with the Create groups has been far more insightful creatively for me and I learn so much when working directly with artists and watching their artistic visions unfold. I think that watching the range of uninhibited making alongside meticulous attention to detail and accuracy, I have learnt the merit that both approaches have when making work and I definitely reference these observations when working with children within my own practice. There is nothing more exciting to me about this world of participation than the joy of sharing communication with insightful individuals whilst simultaneously creating exciting visual art. What Project Ability provides for the community is so essential and I have loved being a part of that."
Thank you Maya
Project Ability runs a dynamic volunteer programme offering opportunities for artists to engage with both our organisation and the participants who attend. The programme has developed vastly over the years from its humble beginnings, offering opportunities to five graduate visual artists at any one time, to now over 20 artists, from a spectrum of stages in their career; spanning those still undergoing their training at art school, to those who already have significant experience as practicing professional artists.
This series of short films showcase some of our volunteers and their unique time with us.
To view all seven films you can visit our You Tube page here
This week we’ve got another film to share with you, the third in our series of films celebrating the excellent work our volunteers do with the organisation. Today with hear from Lucy Payne who worked with our Aspire group.
Lucy reflects on her time with us and how the experience enabled her to work one on one with a diverse group. Whilst our volunteers put a huge amount into the organisation and the people they work with, it’s clear from Lucy’s film that she’s finding inspiration in our studios and sharing in the creativity of the people she’s working with.
Lucy is back working with us again on a new illustration project for an exhibition in 2017. So keep your eye out for more details coming soon.
This week we share with you the second in our series of volunteer films that have been made capturing the excellent work our volunteers do with the organisation. Today with hear from Sarah-Kate Goodwin who worked with our Create team.
Since August 2010, the Volunteer Programme has steadily grown both in the scale and scope of opportunities for volunteering with Project Ability and in popularity amongst the artist community of Glasgow. The programme has developed vastly over the years from its humble beginnings, offering opportunities to five graduate visual artists at any one time, to now over 20 artists, from a spectrum of stages in their career; spanning those still undergoing their training at art school, to those who already have significant experience as practicing professional artists.
We have seen the volunteering roles evolve from an experience based opportunity for those who have never worked in the field of art and disability, to more sophisticated opportunities giving a chance for more confident artists to share their skills by designing and delivering workshops to our participants, with support from our Volunteers Co-ordinator and our experienced workshop tutors.
In addition to our volunteering roles, several successful residency programmes have run throughout the duration of the volunteering programme. Over the years, a wide variety of residency opportunities have enhanced the volunteering programme, each offering a different kind of experience for artists to engage with both our organisation and the participants who attend.
At the heart of our programme, are the volunteers themselves, each of whom have brought something new to the process. We will be sharing seven short films over the coming weeks that showcase some of our volunteers and their unique time with us.
First we hear from Jonathan Kirkwood who volunteered with our Aspire group on a Friday.
You can also read Jonathan’s blog post here to find out more about his time with us
We've got another great volunteer to introduce this week - Clara Mullen.
Clara has been working with our Create Saturday Visual Arts Classes, and has been a fantastic addition to the team.
"Hearing about Project Ability through a friend I was eager to learn more about the organisation and become involved. I am currently in my ﬁnal year of Textile design at the Glasgow School of Art and, alongside this, volunteer as part of the Saturday Create workshop. This is part of my week that allows me to work with a group of enthusiastic people and participate with them in a free exchange of artistic skills.
The Project Ability studio is an incredible place where the young participating artists have access to a wide range of exciting materials including ceramics and glassworks. The staff have created an open space that is centred around individuality and independence. Exploration is really encouraged and participants are able to choose what they wish to do, whether that’s something different every week or a single project that they continue to work on over a month or so. It has been great to see the artist’s model with clay, produce beautiful large scale drawing and create vibrant silk paintings among many more!
There is such a variety of making and it has been inspiring to see everyone’s particular style develop along with the work they produce. Having struggled to ﬁnd my own individual working process it has been great to see everyone work in this unselfconscious way. Each Saturday is a welcome addition to my art school week that in turn has inﬂuenced my own thought patterns and practice. It has been rewarding to share my own knowledge whilst also continuing to learn from both the other artists and tutors alike."
This week, please meet another of our fantastic volunteers: Andro Grdinic, who has been an invaluable addition to our Create workshops.
'I chose to volunteer at Project Ability as a part of my specialisation at the teaching course which was a lot about inclusion and 'thinking outside of the box'. When we were given the option to do anything we wanted I immediately thought of Project Abilitiy's exhibitions, where all great artworks weren't labelled with different diagnosis. I actually couldn't tell if those artworks were just any children's art or not. Visual arts are definitely a field were disabled children can express themselves equally and Create workshops definitely prove that.
Very soon I understood that these kids communicate constantly and it was just a matter of understanding them. Tutors, parents and other volunteers helped me a lot by demonstrating various ways to achieve this and so immediately involved me as well.
There is a great mixture of children in groups and not all of them necessarily have the same type of disability, but when we're working with them these differences just disappear.
I've learned a lot from children in the workshops, probably much more than I taught them and it was a great experience for understanding myself as well. I'm hoping to be able to apply my experiences in the mainstream schools where children quite often end up a bit excluded.'
In this week's 'Meet the Volunteers', we are delighted to introduce Jonathan Kirkwood. Jonathan has been volunteering with Project Ability's Friday Aspire group, where he has been a brilliant addition to the group.
"Having previous experience volunteering with social groups and currently studying at GSA, applying to volunteer at Project Ability seemed like an obvious decision to make. When I understood that the opportunity to come and not only volunteer with Project Ability but also meet all the amazing and colourful characters involved along the way, I jumped at the chance. I haven't looked back since and find myself leaving the Aspire group at 3pm on a Friday looking forward to the following week.
Throughout my time studying I have been interested in the processes of the brain. Having an older brother with autism and a dad who is colour blind, I have always had a keen interest in how individuals process and perceive the world that surrounds them. Creating a platform for dialogues and discussions that revolve around personal and collective experience is central to the work that I produce, no matter what the subject matter. I have always enjoyed working with people with additional support needs, I know just how important social groups and organisations such as Project Ability are, not only to those who attend but also their families and in the case of Project Ability, the art community within Glasgow. Without Project Ability so many brilliant works of art and friendships may never have been given the opportunity to come to fruition.
The energy and buzz around the studio really gives you a lift, with so many ideas being generated all at once within Project Ability's space that it sometimes seems impossible to keep up with everyone. I've found this enthusiasm and love for producing works of art has really pushed me to challenge my own practice and motivation. Not only have I seen an improvement in the way I approach work but it has also reinforced my commitment in pursuing a career in art therapy. I sometimes feel like I could simply sit back and listen to all the beautiful little snippets of conversation that occur whilst being at Project ability on a Friday. I've found myself smiling and laughing the majority of the time, simply getting to know everyone has been a massive privilege and to be there and experience first hand so many fantastic artists at work has been invaluable.
From the get go I have been welcomed and felt at home within the Aspire group. With many of the skills and materials being used to create being completely new to myself, I found the first block of workshops as being a huge learning curve, quickly picking up new techniques and ways of making marks. The patience and time that has been given to me to learn and process these new skills as been amazing, and that’s not only been from the tutors! Already in the new block of classes I have learnt so much. This has really helped to improve my knowledge and understanding of not only my own practice but others too. The overall experience has been refreshing and an absolute pleasure, and one I will always be grateful for being given."
Thank you very much, Jonathan!
Project Ability currently have new volunteer opportunities, beginning August 2016, for practicing visual artists at any stage of their career. The deadline for applications is 22 July 2016. Find out more here.
- Meet the Volunteers - Cathy Dowling
- Walking Group - Week 18: Panopticon & Holmwood House
- Team Jacobs: Just under £300 to go to reach £2500
- Shop Item of the Week - Hand Painted Canvas Bag by Doreen Kay
- Artwork of the Week - ‘Bruce Forsyth’ by John Cocozza
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