Opportunity: Artist residencies

As one opportunity closes, another opens! This coming autumn / winter, Project Ability is delighted to be able to offer 3 opportunities to Glasgow based visual artists, interested in experiencing our unique working studio environment. Our residency programme gives opportunity to artists to develop their practice within our busy working studios, over the course of one calendar month. Your experience with us will give you the opportunity to engage with our artists, be inspired by their innovative artistic practices and give you time and space to make work. Free access to our facilities and materials is included in this residency.

Opportunities are available for the months of September, November 2018, and February 2019. Interested artists are invited to submit a short proposal of how they would use their time, along with an artist CV, and up to 5 images of recent work.

All applications and enquiries to be sent to our Volunteers Co-ordinator, Tracy Gorman at volunteers@project-ability.co.uk . Deadline for all applications is Friday 24th August 2018. Please also state your preferred month on application. Good Luck!

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Meet the Volunteers - Bethan Turner

Bethan Turner was one of our brilliant volunteers earlier this year. Here she tells us what she gained from her experience.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
Graduate artist from Newcastle University, I currently work in the medium of printing, specifically screen print in collaboration with another artist exploring the medium through experiments with shape and colour. I also work with installation and sculpture.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
Saturday mornings in the ‘Create’ class.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I am a practising artist and a support worker for young adults with learning disabilities. It became apparent through my role how important community projects and activities are for the people I support for both daily stimulation and becoming more involved in the Glasgow community. I want to support and help projects such as Project Ability in any way I can because they are so important to the community. I also wanted to expand my knowledge on art techniques and different ways of working with art with people with limited abilities to use in my role as a support worker and for classes I run independently. I also wanted to gain more experience with working with children as I hope one day to go into teaching. I wanted to be part of such an amazing project and meet new people and artists.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
In every way and actually exceeded them.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I have learnt some amazing techniques to help people with limited abilities create really interesting artworks. It also gave me the confidence to assist other people with the creation of their art and I now run my own small art class for adults with learning disabilities for an organisation called Share Scotland.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
Gabriel and Guy constantly creating unique and interesting work, the freedom in which the art is produced really shows through the works.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Absolutely

Any other comments?
Project Ability is an amazing project that is in no way tokenistic and provides every individual with the access to amazing arts resources in an excellent, creative environment. I am inspired by the outlook of the studios and the freedom each person has in the creation of their art works. I have never come across anything quite like it and I think it is a vital and important part of Glasgow’s creative scene and Glasgow’s community as a whole.

Thank you Bethan! If you would like to volunteer with Project Ability, we are currently accepting applications (deadline 13 July) - please click here for more info.

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Meet the Volunteers - Angeli Bhose

Ever thought about volunteering with Project Ability? We are currently looking for new volunteers (more info here). And what best than to hear directly from our previous volunteers what they gained from their experience? Here is the amazing Angeli Bhose, telling us about her time in our Aspire studios.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I graduated from my undergraduate degree in Fine Art two years ago. I studied at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, and moved to Glasgow soon after graduating.  Currently, I make drawings, performances, texts and ceramics, and I like to work in collaboration with others. 

In what workshop did you volunteer?
I volunteered in the Monday afternoon Aspire workshop, which was a great way to brighten up drizzly winter Mondays!  There were around 8 artists in the group, which meant that I was able to chat to everyone each week, and had the chance to see their works developing. Some artists had an established practice, which they chipped away at each week, whilst others used a diverse range of mediums and styles, trying something new each week. It was great to be in conversation with the artists about the new things they wanted to try, and how we were going to make them happen.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
Having moved to Glasgow fairly recently, I applied to volunteer hoping I would get the chance to engage with more people and get more involved in the arts community. Project Ability seemed like a hub of creative energy!

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
I had heard that Project ability was a great place to volunteer, so my expectations were high, but the experience has certainly lived up to it. Even though I wasn’t there for long, I felt like a valued member of the community.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I have learned when it’s helpful to suggest a new technique or medium to expand from the works an artist is doing, and when it’s best support the artist to develop their artwork exactly as they would like to!

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
I would definitely recommend volunteering with Project Ability as a way to meet new people, and spend time in a joyful creative environment.

Any other comments?
Thanks for a great opportunity!

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Meet the Volunteers - Mattie Roberts

"When I moved to Glasgow in September to start an MLitt in Curatorial Practice, Project Ability was already on my agenda. I’d previously volunteered at an organisation in Hume, Manchester called Venture Arts and an artist from there, Leslie Thompson, had a solo exhibition in Project Ability’s gallery space, when I first moved up, which was really amazing.

I wanted to volunteer as I really enjoy being around people making, observing different people's creative process. The Aspire workshops I volunteered with on Wednesday mornings and afternoons and Thursday mornings, are attended by such an amazing range of artists who all have such different approaches to art-making and it is really exciting just to be around that. I also wanted to understand better how I can work as a curator in an inclusive way; supporting artists and audiences often excluded from consideration. This of course going to be a continuing learning process, but I definitely feel that spending time at Project Ability has been a helpful step. It has been really great to spend time in an organisation and with artists that offer an alternative perspective on art and curatorial practice to ones I already access, through the art school or university. Being in a space where studios, offices, gallery are all housed under the one roof, not separated from each other, is so exciting; all parts of cultural and creative production being visible.

Towards the end of the placement I began preparations for an exhibition of work by Project Ability artist James Hardie, that I co-curated with Lizzie Urquhart, a fellow Project Ability volunteer. We showed the exhibition during Disability Awareness Week in Project Ability’s Project Space. As well as wanting to produce a high-quality exhibition of James Hardie’s work that both Project Ability artists and the wider public would enjoy attending we also wanted to, by presenting James’ work, identify him as an artist worthy of exhibition and recognition.

To anyone considering volunteering with Project Ability I would definitely say go for it. It’s such an exciting creative environment to be in, with so many amazing artists approaching their work from completely different angles, and that in itself is incredibly rewarding and creatively stimulating."

Thank you very much Mattie! If you wantb to volunteer with Project Ability, we are currently accepting applications. Click here for more info. 

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A great end to a great project

For the past eight weeks, a group of students from Glasgow School of Art has been meeting with a group of Project Ability artists, spending a day per week in the studios together, conversing and making. This pilot project has now come to an end, and the students & Project Ability artists met today for a feedback session and to see their work exhibited in our Project Space.

"It is refreshing to have this available to us, where there's no inhibition, a freedom for the sake of making."

"When you are put in the right place with good people, good things happen."

"I am far more confident about 4th year."

"It brought back the innocence of art."

 

"The project has completely exceeded our expectations, the blend of our participants with a selected group of students from GSA, could not have come together more beautifully.  Today we celebrated the work made, the friendships forged and talked about the importance of having opportunities such as this one.  The process was simple, we brought together artists and gave them space to work, to communicate and collaborate and they all did just that."
Tracy Gorman - Tutor

Many thanks to Lesley Black at GSA, Tracy Gorman and all the students and artists involved: James Pert, Adnan Mohammed, Judith Abubakar, Peter Johnston, Susan Breckenridge, Jennifer Cuthill, Naoko Kizaki, Kate Lingard, Ash Morgan, Holly Smith.

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Volunteering opportunities

Last week we celebrated Volunteers’ Week and this week we are delighted to advertise new opportunities within our volunteering programme. 

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, introducing you to new ways of making art and give you a unique opportunity to meet all of our artists. For more insight into former volunteer’s experiences, please look at our ‘Meet the Volunteer’ feature on our website. 

We are welcoming applications to support our autumn programme and are looking for visual artists at any stage of their career or training. We would also especially like to invite artists with a knowledge of ceramics or print-making, to apply 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.

In addition we would also like to recruit artists for our ‘Create’ Saturday young people’s 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  Saturday 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.

All of our volunteering roles are subject to an application and selection process. CVs alone will not be considered. Please follow the link to our application form and submit your application to our volunteer co-ordinator, Tracy Gorman at volunteers@project-ability.co.uk. The deadline for all applications is Friday 13th July 2018. Applications received after this date cannot be considered. If you have any questions about any of the opportunities please contact Tracy and in the meantime, good luck!

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Meet the Volunteers - Hanne Lillee

Since it is #VolunteersWeek, we bring you another 'Meet the Volunteers' today: the wonderful Hanne Lillee, who has been a great addition to the Aspire team.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I’m a Glasgow based artist working within sculpture and photography. I hold a MFA in Fine art from Goldsmiths University.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
Aspire, Monday morning class.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I applied to volunteer because I wanted to gain more experience in supporting artists with learning difficulties.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Yes, it was wonderful to be able to help the artists achieve their artistic intentions. The impressive facilities at Project Ability means the artists have various mediums to work within, and it is always great to help an artist explore a new medium and the possibilities that comes with that.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
Art making can sometimes get a little too serious, and helping the artists at Project Ability has reminded me that art making also should be fun, spontaneous  and exciting!

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
Michael who attends the Monday morning and afternoon classes have been working on a fantastic pencil drawing on a large canvas. He has a great line and attention to detail!

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Certainly.

Thanks Hanne!

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Meet the Volunteers - Alison Brown

This week is #VolunteersWeek, and we want to take this opportunity to thank all our incredible volunteers, past and present. 'Meet the Volunteers' gives you a glimpse into our volunteering programme and into what spending a few hours a week in our studios brings to our volunteer's practice. Alison Brown is one of our current ReConnect volunteers, and she answers our question in today's feature.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I graduated from Glasgow School of Art quite a while ago – but in the meantime had worked in radio and television, and had a family. For years I knew that I really wanted to get back to art and design, but struggled to get started again. When I finally left broadcasting, I experimented with image sequences and surface pattern in drawings, prints and collages. Also I like to draw people as often as I can - I’m fascinated by faces and spend a lot of time in cafes scribbling unsuspecting coffee drinkers.
                                                                              
In what workshop did you volunteer?
The ReConnect Workshop on Friday morning.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?

I had admired work done by Project Ability artists for years, and always thought it would be great to get involved. Beyond wanting to do something positive for other artists, I was also keen to learn about working with people in this kind of setting. I wanted to build a knowledge of how to encourage and support people to explore their artistic potential, alongside the fact that I really like working with people - I find the process of meeting and making connections with individuals really fascinating.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
I really has! And surpassed them. I look forward to each session, to find out how things are going with everyone in the studio. The Friday artists have been a real joy to work with. Everyone is so dedicated to their work, creative and fascinating to talk to. There’s an incredible range of work being created, and I’m so impressed by the way in which people are keen to push forward and gain new skills and insights.

What I didn’t anticipate was the level of interest and support I would get back from everyone, which has been very inspiring. To be honest, I was a little nervous at first, but everyone in the studio was so welcoming that I soon felt like part of the family. It’s been years since I’ve spent time in a shared creative space and find it very motivating. I’ve been inspired to try things that I’ve seen in studio, and also try long-neglected mediums that I thought I was no good with. Being at Project Ability has reminded me too that it’s good to experiment and ‘play’ with my work, and be confident in what I am creating.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
It’s been great to work with adult artists, as previously many of the workshops I had run or assisted with previously were for children. Beforehand I thought that this would add extra layers of complexity to the experience; that people would be looking for more detail and specific help or guidance. What I found is that it’s not as straightforward as that - the support I offer actually really depends on the person I’m speaking to and what’s happening with them that day. My contribution could be as simple as giving a bit of encouragement and finding materials, or something more demanding. I’ve discovered that it helps to keep an open mind and be flexible.

I’ve learned a lot about focus. The ability to use work as a focus beyond everything else that’s going on in life can be central to an artist’s practice, and I’ve begun to discover how to use focus, and sometimes the skill of re-focussing, as a way of getting around blockages or bad days.

I’m fascinated by the way that the work opens up lines of communication between individuals, and gives a central point of contact. In my non-voluntary working life, I’ve always had to do the talking…and be the person who is persuading and generally making things happen. At Project Ability, I’ve been working on being calmer, letting people come to their own conclusions in their time. I’ve been working on listening rather than filling the space with my thoughts or ideas… I’m finding out how to step back and allow things to happen.

And finally, persistence is a great thing! There’s nearly always a little more paint you can ease from a tube…

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
It’s really difficult to pick out one person to be honest, I really like so many of the people I’ve met and the pieces they’ve produced….I couldn’t just pick out one…

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Definitely…in fact I already have.

Any other comments?
Thank you for such a fantastic experience. I have gained so much, I just hope I’ve made a useful contribution in return. I’m not usually lost for words, but I’ve found it really difficult to put into words what this experience has meant to me.  Thank you to all in the Friday ReConnect studio and Celine.

Thank you Alison!

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Meet the Volunteers: Jade Sturrock

Today, please meet Jade Sturrock, one of our wonderful volunteers who has been supporting our Aspire artists on Tuesdays. 

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I am an artist currently living and working in Glasgow. I studied painting and printmaking at GSA and graduated in 2016. My practice  primarily consists of a combination of painting and collage. I enjoy combining natural, organic forms and painterly mark making with found imagery, often taken from mass media to creative emotive juxtapositions, which all mostly revolve around the female body. I aim to re-configure ways in which the female form can be depicted and viewed, blurring the line between abstraction and representation. Bold colour or forms tend to draw in the viewer, before the fragmented nature of the image exposes a more ambiguous intention. Drawing upon female subjectivity, representation and sexuality, I enjoy re-coding conditions which are typically restrictive of women’s self expression and the unregulated body.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
I volunteered in the Aspire workshop on tuesday mornings.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I applied to volunteer initially because I have always had a strong interest in the therapeutic benefits of making art. I enjoy being around people and sharing ideas about thought processes whilst observing the enjoyment  it brings. I also wanted to gain insight into what it was like for people to be creative in an open workshop setting where they can interact with one another and the sense of community it generates. Making art alone can often feel very self-serving so I was keen to support others to realise their creativity whilst opening my own mind up to different ways of doing things.
I also felt disheartened by art world politics and the lack of connection I was able to have with other creatives in my everyday life. Being slightly isolated from a wider artistic community since leaving art school, I  wanted to be back in a creative environment. I was also aware of many of the constraints faced by artists such as funding, exposure and opportunities and admired the fact that Project ability Provided a safe space for people from all different backgrounds to make work.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
The experience exceeded my expectations because I have been able to witness first hand how important the work and ethos of Project Ability really is in practice. I was a little nervous about not knowing how to help, or what I could do to best support the staff and the artists but everyone was super friendly, welcoming and supportive. It has been a real confidence booster to know that not only do I enjoy this kind of work, but that I am actually well suited to it and would be capable of continuing to do it in the future. I can’t describe how heartwarming it has been to observe the sense of achievement experienced by everyone involved in the workshops.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I have learned that the rules, boundaries and limitations that might exist in everyday life or in art world politics do not exist within the Aspire workshops. Creative processes are impulsive and immediate, and do not always need explanation or justification, which I have found completely fascinating and liberating to observe as an artist. In the past I have found that it is all too easy to get caught up in the rights and wrongs and fiddly details when making or perceiving things. Attending the Aspire workshops has opened my mind up to whole new ways of using materials and the importance of not getting too hung up the final outcome, but rather valuing the making as a cathartic process in its own right.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I have been working a lot with Martin on a one to one basis, and he really stands out because his work is so expressive. He really enjoys being bold with his use of materials and the types of imagery he is inspired by. I have found it really rewarding to work with him because through sharing his ideas and running with them together I think he feels more confident about making things. He made a wonderful sculpture of an turtle called Sam out of clay which I think he was really proud of and I thought it was absolutely amazing.
I also really enjoyed the two exhibitions held in the Project Ability gallery back in March called ‘The Queen Mothers’ and ‘Kay, Sharif and Smyth’. I thought the expression and imagery were absolutely brilliant and they did a great job of bringing to light the viewpoints and expression of young female artists with disabilities. They were so strong and made an impact which will stick with me for a long time!

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Absolutely. It pushes you out of your comfort zone but is such a rewarding experience and permanently alters how you perceive art making for the better. You really feel welcomed in to the Project Ability community.

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Meet the Volunteers - Emma Helen Reid

Our current volunteers have been with us since the start of the year, and have been fantastic additions to our workshops. We would like to say a huge thank you to all of them, and are very proud to introduce them to you. This week, meet the brilliant Emma Helen Reid, who has been volunteering in our ReConnect workshops. 

In 2017 I graduated from M.Litt Fine Art Practice – Sculpture at Glasgow School of Art. In my practice I explore personal, corporeal connections with technologies that are embedded in many of our lives. My work can include video, writing, technology, sound, textiles, performance.

Since January I’ve been volunteering with ReConnect on Tuesdays. It is an incredibly engaging and productive studio to be in, each artist is making their own work while being supported by their tutor Celine and other staff. The artists I’ve met here are working with a wide range of processes and materials including painting, drawing, ceramics, and glass.

I am currently working with a group of ReConnect artists to make drawing, writing, collage, and photographs exploring the theme ‘studio traces’. Through the workshop we’ve been thinking about the potential significance of the incidental marks that we leave behind in the process of making work. We’ve also been talking about the wonderful and important feeling of community in this studio. We will bring the work together to make a digital publication.

I am learning lots from the experience through getting to know everyone, learning about the work they are making, and hearing about the various motivations and intentions they have. I’m grateful I have been able to return for a second block to see the different ways that works are developing. It has been a pleasure to be a volunteer with Project Ability and to find out more about this inspiring organisation.
-Emma Helen Reid

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Call for Volunteers - Esther Ferrer performance

Project Ability is looking for amateur performers to take part in the group performance piece I’m Going To Tell You About My Life, which will premier in April 22nd in Glasgow as part of the Glasgow International festival.

The piece has been conceived by 80-year old Spanish artist Esther Ferrer and involves 10 performers who are fluent in British Sign Language and 10 verbal performers speaking in different languages.

If you are a BSL user or speak a language other than English, and you want to tell others about your life, please get in touch! No previous experience is required.


PRODUCTION INFO

Rehearsal dates: Friday 20th April (pm) and Saturday 21st April (all day)
Performance: Sunday 22nd April, 1-3pm

The rehearsals will be led by Esther Ferrer, assisted by a BSL interpreter.
Project Ability will cover transport costs for all volunteers up to £10 per day

Please note that the performance will be:
- Filmed, and an edited version of the film will be on display at Project Ability’s Project Space for the duration of the festival.
- Professionally photographed, and the images taken may be used for press coverage, promotion of the event on the websites of the project organisers and funders, documentation and evaluation. 

By participating in the event you agree to be filmed or photographed for these purposes.


HOW TO APPLY

To apply for this opportunity, or find out more, please contact:

Mónica Laiseca at monica_laiseca@outlook.com and
Celine Mcilmunn at celine.mcilmunn@gmail.com

Deadline for applications: Tuesday 10 April, noon. Shortlisted volunteers will be notified by email on Friday 14 April.

 

 

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Drew Walker: Always Expect the Unexpected

"My name is Drew Walker and here is a summary of my experience in Project Ability in January 2018.

My week-long short residency at Project Ability revealed to me a place where there was great respect and a dignified approach towards people working as artists with backgrounds of mental illness, learning difficulties or physical disabilities. However, these do not hinder or impact upon the creatively enriching experience, which exists within the shared working space of Project Ability, where the immense variety of talent and creative process surrounding me was amazing to witness.

I contributed to my short residency as an artist who experiences mental illness and a PhD researcher who is looking into art-process, mental illness and recovery. So, I divided my time to do the following:
1. To observe the working processes of the artists working in the Reconnect, Aspire and Create spaces and their engagement and interactions with staff and volunteers.
2. To understand what provision and structure was deployed in the delivery of activities.
3. To bring my own art practice into the Reconnect space, using a collaborative method of creativity.

I began my experience by observing, photographing and talking to staff, volunteers and artists. I had decided to create one of my ‘dead-wooded’ creatures, a staple symbol of my art practice and an integral part my process. The ‘dead-wooded’ stag represents my own recovery process from mental illness. As my art practice parallels and enriches my research, I wanted to share both aspects during my week. My goal was to create a portrait of Project Ability using the language of those in the Reconnect, Create and Aspire spaces.

Conversations occurred naturally whilst I was working and I decided to use some of those words and phrases, placing them on the sculpture of the stag. I wanted to reflect the artists’ thoughts as people, at the core of it all. The stag was painted white and the lettering in a variety of colours.

A few days into my residency, my dad who is my artistic collaborator and who accompanied me at Project Ability, spoke to me about the idea of accompanying the wooded stag with found material from Glasgow. Seizing upon this notion, we found two disused damaged yellow traffic cones in the nearby vicinity of the Glasgow Green. We painted them and transformed them into sculptural pieces to enhance and draw attention to the stag.

Making my art was only one part of the story during my residency, but it did provide the nexus for many insightful conversations and interactions with those who were curious about the stag. I immediately found a connection with the other artists and the staff in the space, feeling very welcome. I was greatly impressed by the sheer variety, resources and freedom found within Project Ability through the engaging activities of Aspire, Reconnect and Create. I understood that the space is a lifeline for some and a platform for every participant, by being together whilst creating art. I found the approach of valuing artists’ work, providing opportunities for exhibiting and potentially selling pieces to be crucial to the humane attitude in Project Ability. Here, the people are acknowledged as artists. They are not labels or categories of people with various diagnoses. The respect I noticed in the atmosphere showed that clearly.

I sincerely hope that in the future more places like Project Ability emerge, providing spaces for the therapeutic process of making art, whilst not being isolated or in a clinical setting. It’s a safe, friendly environment that puts the individual first. There should be a ‘Project Ability’ in every city and town. I know that had there been similar provision for me during my early stages of recovery. I would have greatly appreciated and benefited being in such a place.

Thank you to everybody in Project Ability for making my short residency so rich and inspiring. I would love to come back."

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Meet the Volunteers: Adam Brown

The Create workshops are now over for the year, and we say goodbye to a brilliant group of volunteers, including to Adam Brown, who is our 'Meet the volunteers' this week.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I am an Applied Arts HND graduate from City of Glasgow College.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
I volunteered in the Create workshop on a Saturday morning.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I’ve always been really keen on doing work for charity and also working with children so this seemed like a prime opportunity to do both.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
My experience has been wonderful at Create, it definitely lived up to my expectations.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I have learnt that it’s important to listen to each individual person and try and assist them in a way that suits them best.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
It’s difficult to choose a favourite artist from the classes because each and everyone of them have talent in their own special area. One particular artist, Dearbhail, has demonstrated extraordinary talent in drawing and painting.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
I absolutely would recommend others to volunteer at Project Ability, the experience has been very uplifting and has consistently been an exciting part of my week for the past few months.

Any other comments?
Everybody at Project Ability has been extremely inviting and have made me feel right at home and part of the team right from week one. The young artists have been amazing to get to know and have also always been very friendly and kind to me.

Thanks Adam!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, you can send us your application until 5th January 2018. Click here for more info. 

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Meet the volunteers: Samantha Harley

This week, please meet the lovely Samantha Harley, who has been a joyful addition to our Aspire workshops!

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
Undergraduate, Painting & Printmaking, Year 2. My practice mainly involves looking at everyday objects and rendering them in fun and new exciting ways. I mainly do a lot of screen printing, drawings and paintings.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
Aspire, on a Thursday afternoon.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
My little brother has Down's Syndrome and autism, so I have always been involved with helping people with disabilities. Art therapy is something I’d be interested in doing when I have graduated.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Yes, I’ve really enjoyed my time at Project Ability, and I hope everyone else has enjoyed having me too! It’s been great getting to know everyone and starting to understand everyone’s situation and how they work.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I have learnt lots from volunteering here but especially about how to interact with everyone. I’ve found interesting to see all the different ways we have communicated with each other. I have also found volunteering here has influenced my own work.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I have been working closely with one of the Aspire artists called Peter. Peter has been working with clay and creates objects he likes, such as watering cans, to even cans of soft drinks! I find this really interesting as by just looking at what the objects are and how they are created, you can get a sense of who Peter is.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Yes! In fact one of my friends and classmate has been asking me when my volunteering ends so she can apply!

Any other comments?
I just want to thank everyone who is involved with Project Ability, because I think it’s a great organisation and I’ve had the best time volunteering here!

Thank you Samantha! If you are interested in volunteering with Project Ability, we are currently recruiting for January-March. Click here for more information. 

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Meet the Volunteers - Laura Gaiger

Today's Meet the Volunteers focuses on the fantastic Laura Gaiger, who has been volunteering with our Art Matters workshops.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I studied Painting and Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art and graduated last year, 2016. Now I have a studio in the East end and I make oil paintings - most of them are semi-abstract still life and interior paintings, or paintings from film photographs and film stills. They hint at stories of domestic and family life.


   

In what workshop did you volunteer?
I’m volunteering with the Art Matters group at 4.30pm on Saturdays.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I volunteered with Project Ability in the past, while I was studying, and loved the experience, so I knew I’d enjoy doing it again. I have a more settled routine now I’m not a student, so I’m able to be more committed, and it’s really important to me to feel that I’m making a meaningful contribution to others. I want to help other people find as much joy, fun and fulfilment through making things as I do.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Absolutely. Saturday afternoons at Project Ability are currently the highlight of my week! The studio is really peaceful at this time of day, and it’s a really pleasant environment to be pottering around helping the artists with materials, and having a chat about what everyone is making or has been doing that week. I enjoy being part of a really relaxed and positive community and feeling appreciated for taking part.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I’ve gotten to know many of the artists in the Art Matters group by now, and I have a much better understanding of the various needs that the different artists have. I’ve learned how to communicate with people with different ways of communicating to myself, and not to be afraid to strike up conversations with disabled or differently abled people. I have also gained a lot of ideas and artistic inspiration from seeing everyone’s work and all the exciting things going on in the other workshops.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I always have a great time chatting with Peter - he sings me his favourite Disney songs each week and makes me guess which films they’re from, which I’m not very good at! I love seeing Jonathan’s work develop - I’ve never met someone so focussed on what they are making, and the detail in his freehand drawings is incredible!

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Yes, definitely - anyone who enjoys being part of a sociable community of artists and wants to give back to the artistic community of Glasgow! It’s great fun.

Any other comments?
Thank you so much for involving me at Project Ability - I hope I’ll be able to stay involved for a long time.

Thank you so much Laura!

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Meet the Volunteers: Karina Baillie

This week, let us introduce you to the brilliant Karina Baillie, who has been a great addition to our Create team. 

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I am a graduate of Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art. My practice encompasses many different mediums, from video installation to sculpture, drawing and painting. Recently I have been working in the community, focussing on facilitating different groups such as a mural project in the East End with adults with mental health issues.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
I volunteer at the Create Workshop ages 8-12 on a Saturday morning.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I’ve admired many of Project Ability’s artists and frequently visit their gallery space, and have always known Project Ability to be a brilliant resource in the community. I had recently finished a Counselling course and wanted to spend more time working with young artists, because I knew it would be a great learning opportunity and a privilege to become part of the Project Ability team.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
The experience of volunteering at the Create workshop has far exceeded my expectations. Interacting with the young artists is an energetic and fruitful role, I have learned so much from the tutors knowledge and found every class to be invigorating and rewarding.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
The young artists are all uniquely talented individuals with brilliant ideas and different styles of working. It’s a lot of fun being in the workshop facilitating their various projects, from making clay sculptures to print making. I’ve learned loads of new techniques and the young artists have opened my mind to exciting creative processes which have influenced my own artistic practice.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I find the work of two of our young artists Guy and Gabriel incredibly inspiring, they both have their own brilliant flair for colour and their use of this in our recent classes have produced beautiful Perspex panels that look like stain glass windows.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
There is a real sense of community in the workshop that is unique to Project Ability. It’s a supportive environment which is full of fun and energy, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering becoming part of the Project Ability team.

Thanks a lot Karina! 

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Meet the Volunteers: Mij Rothera

For today's Meet the Volunteers, we focus on the amazing Mij Rothera, who has been volunteering with our aspire team.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I graduated from Glasgow School of Art more than 20 years ago (gulp), with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Photography. Nowadays I twiddle about with inks and brushes on paper in my spare time. I work with Enable and also occasionally as an Artist Practitioner at The Prince & Princess Of Wales Hospice.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
Wednesday Aspire Workshops.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I’ve been coming here for 2 years every Tuesday, supporting a young man to attend his art group. I love the atmosphere – it’s so positive and also informal. It’s great to see how focussed everybody is on their work. I have many years’ experience of working on arts projects for various marginalised groups (specifically with Artlink Central in Stirling), and wanted to play a small part in the wonderful creativity of Project-Ability.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Definitely. It’s such a friendly environment. People are really well supported by the excellent Art Tutors to make, or continue working on, whatever piece they feel like that day. The large, bright space is really conducive to making art and there are loads of different art materials.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
The opportunity for creativity is vitally important – for everyone. Project-Ability plays a huge part in the lives of many people. It’s also important to not always have a set end-date for a project – people here can continue on their work for however long they feel. The experience has helped to make me create more art, too. Also, I’ve met a whole new bunch of talented people.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I really like Andrew Boyle’s images. He works steadily and carefully on his detailed and very beautiful drawings and paintings. A stand-out artwork from the last year is Tommy Mason’s large painting of George Michael.  I loved the exhibition by Leslie Thomson too.Actually I’m inspired every time I walk into the studio.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Yes. It’s a wonderful way to get to know some very interesting, creative people, and to play a part in what I would say is a vital space and service for so many.

Any other comments?
Project-Ability offers a peaceful and positive space where all people need to focus on is their creativity. That’s priceless.

Thanks, Mij!

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Meet the Volunteers - Cathy Dowling

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!

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A mural and a live portrait session - Project Ability at GSA

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!

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Fundraising day at Jacobs raises over £700 for Project Ability!

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!

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‘All About Hamish’ - A collaborative project by Jan Thomson and Sarah Bowers

'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!

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Artist Residency / Creative Partnership opportunity

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.

Fee: £2000
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 director@project-ability.co.uk by Friday 25th August. 

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Meet the Volunteers - Monika Grubizna

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!

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Meet the Volunteers - Sarah Wilson

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."

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Meet the Volunteers - Anna Reid

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. 

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Meet the Volunteers - Katarzyna Konarska

"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!

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Meet the Volunteers - Robyn Boyle

"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!

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New artist in residence opportunities

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)

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New volunteering opportunities starting August 2017

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 volunteers@project-ability.co.uk

Download the application form and send it back to Tracy at the email address above by Monday 26th June.  Good Luck.

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Volunteers Week: Where are they now?

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.

Lucy Payne

"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."


Ailsa Sutcliff

"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."
 

Max Mcilmunn

"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!

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