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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Corseford School workshops

Corseford School pupils have been working hard this last term, alongside our tutor Tracy Gorman.

"Many beautiful pieces of art have been achieved by all of the young people at the school. They have all developed new skills in print-making, collage and painting to name a few. They have also looked at famous artists such as Picasso and Paul Klee and made art inspired by their work.

Some of the favourite pieces created by the Primary children were made using fruits and vegetables, which they enjoyed not only printing with, but smelling and tasting before they were dipped in luscious paint! Each of the children made beautiful press prints and created a ‘fruit bowl’ filled with the lovely fruits and veg they had fun experiencing.

Another favourite lesson was inspired by one of the secondary class’s topics about Africa. Each of the pupils worked hard on a silhouette painting, taking time to create a beautiful sunset, sponging on a range of warm colours, before finishing off with their choice of African animal stencilled using a dramatic black paint. I’m sure you’ll agree the results are great!"
-Tracy Gorman

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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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Ladysbridge Stories celebrations

"On Tuesday 15 May, we travelled back to Aberdeen for our final visit, to launch the fruits of all of our hard work over the course of the Ladysbridge Stories project. We kick started our visit with a lovely afternoon tea, during which the group reconnected and talked about their plans for the following night, when we would reveal the Ladysbridge Memory Map, designed and brought to life by all of the stories that the participants of the project so generously shared with us over the course of the project. Our launch night was set to be a celebration to top off what has been a hugely successful and wonderful project to be involved in.

On Wednesday we all attended the C-Change ‘Being Human’ conference, our partners in the Ladysbridge Stories project. Many of the delegates of the conference stayed on to share in our evening event. The night started with our key participants introducing themselves and the project, and the reveal of the Memory Map, a beautiful visual map that describes life at the hospital, from the perspective of the former patients and staff that we worked with over the course of the project. For the rest of the evening we all celebrated the group's achievements and enjoyed the talents of DJ Kit Kat Kenny, dancing the night away!

It has been a truly incredible project to have been involved in, spanning the year, starting with the launch in May 2017 when we first met some of our group and continuing with regular workshops and trips throughout the year. We really have met some incredible people, always willing to share and get involved, with all of their contributions making the final Memory Map so rich.

We would like to give a huge thank you to all of our wonderful participants, we have enjoyed your company very much and we hope we can work with you all again in the future."
-Sharon and Tracy

(Special thanks to Tracy's selfie stick!)

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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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One month until PROCESSIONS

One month to go until PROCESSIONS!

On Sunday 10th June, women and girls from across the UK will comwe together to create a vast participatory artwork taking place for one day in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

Processions will be a living portrait of UK women in the 21st century, a mass participation artwork celebrating one hundred years of votes for (some) women. Project Ability will be taking part in the march, with our very own banner currently being made by a group of women artists from across our programmes.

You can register for free to attend your nearest PROCESSIONS event at processions.co.uk/register

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LDAW - Ladysbridge Stories event

Ladysbridge Stories is a unique social history project which has been led by a group of amazing people who have a shared experience of having been a resident in Ladysbridge Hospital.
The group have met regularly over the past 10 months and are now ready to share their stories.

Join us on Wednesday 16 May in Aberdeen to mark Learning Disability Awareness Week and to celebrate this fantastic project. All welcome.

Rox Hotel 17-23 Market Street, Aberdeen AB11 5PY
5.30pm: Drinks Reception
6 – 6.30pm: Welcome, Introductions, What happened?
6.30 – 9pm: Disco and Finger Buffet

RSVP Sheryl Walker at C-Change; sheryl.walker@c-change.org.uk or 0141 427 2946

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Heritage Lottery Fund Workshops

Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland - Workshop at Project Ability
May 17th 2018, 1.30 – 2.30 pm


Project Ability is hosting a workshop with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scotland. We are inviting local groups to join a brief workshop on Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Funding.

HLF receives fewer funding applications from minority ethnic and cultural communities, disabled people and young people (15 – 25) and want to help more of these groups to celebrate their Heritage.

“I understand this may seem remote from your work but you don’t have to be a heritage organisation to apply to us. If your focus is community or culture, health or sport getting involved in a heritage project brings many benefits. Projects that explore cultures and memories can bring people closer together. Heritage focussed projects can include valuable training and learning. Getting out, meeting others and actively engaging with a heritage project also contributes to health and wellbeing.

HLF support all kinds of projects, as long as they make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities. Projects include capturing people’s, memories of a particular event or daily life: researching people and places or
looking after natural habitats and buildings. You may look at a story that is central to your organisation or bring people together to explore a new topic. Take a look at what we fund at hlf.org.uk to get an idea of the wide ranging projects we support.”

The workshop will last about an hour and is a chance to hear directly from the HLF staff about the HLF programmes, outcomes and process and discuss potential heritage projects.

Project Ability is currently working on a HLF Funded project in partnership with people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire on their memories of living in Ladysbridge Hospital, Banff (an institution for people with learning disabilities) in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. www.ladysbridgestories.com

The workshop will take place in our studio in Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD
If you would like to come along please contact us on 0141 552 2822 or info@project-ability.co.uk

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Walking Group - St Mungo Museum and Cathedral

Our walking group had its last outing for a while with a ramble up the High Street to visit St Mungo's Museum.

This being a very historic part of the city, there was lots to see and talk about on the way, and lots of photos to be captured.

The museum houses an eclectic mix of works, most of which have a religious connection but it seems that for some items this link is quite a tenuous one. A photograph of 'Charlie's Angels' in an exhibition about angels seemed a little bizarre but was certainly entertaining!

The next stop was St Mungo's Cathedral. Some of the group hadn't been there before but even those that had enjoyed an exploration of this magnificent building and its surroundings.

The walking group are taking a break for a while to look for more funding so will hopefully be planning some more outings soon. More photos can be found on our Facebook Page. 

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Walking Group Week 6: The Clyde Bridges

There are 21 bridges in Glasgow that cross the River Clyde and last week our walking group had a walk that took them across 5 of them.

The first of these was the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge which took the group from north to south. One of the group had vivid memories from childhood of regularly crossing this bridge with her father on the way to nursery more than half a century previously.

A walk along the South Clydeside to the Tradeston Footbridge was next where the group crossed back to the north of the river and followed the path along to the Clyde Arch, fondly known locally as the Squinty Bridge. This bridge took the group back to the south and then along to the Bells Bridge where they crossed again and then along to the nearby Millennium Bridge which was the final bridge of the day!

This is where the walk ended for some of the group who went their separate ways but after a refreshing cuppa in the BBC cafe the rest decided to make the return trip on foot via a slightly shortened route with fewer bridges.

Despite the chilly and drizzly weather it was a fine day out.

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On the Road: Douglas Community Centre, Dundee

Without a team of huskies and a sleigh at our disposal PA Artist Jonathan McKinstry and I had to forgo our Dundee visit at the beginning of March. As soon as the snow had cleared though, we were back up visiting our friends at the Douglas Centre, Dundee.

A few of the artists there have now started to delve into three dimensional work. There are some interesting hand built clay vessels and vases on the go now.       

​ 

One member of the group is working on a piece of wooden furniture as a memento to a recently deceased relative.

Others have continued to develop themes from the first five weeks of the project like drawing, painting and working with silhouettes and stencils.
-Meredith Crone, tutor

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Ladysbridge Stories - March workshops

Last week our last Ladysbridge Stories workshops took place in what was a very sunny Aberdeen. We were delighted to see so many familiar faces, a few that we hadn’t seen in a while, not to mention a few new ones, as we welcomed Sam to the group with her beautiful and very well behaved guide dog Rihanna. 

We very much enjoyed catching up with everyone!  We had a very busy day in the workshop, collating and sorting through all of the beautiful images drawn by everyone over the course of all of our workshops. 

Our task for the day was to complete as many new drawings as we could to represent all of the aspects of life at Ladysbridge Hospital, from the working life of patients at the hospital to the social and special events and day to day routines.

The artwork produced will be used to illustrate the fantastic stories that everyone has been so generous to share with us over the course of this project. We had a very productive day with everyone rising to this challenge. 

The session ended in a very positive light, with everyone excited by the work produced and looking forward to the final launch of the project in May 2018.
-Tracy Gorman, Ladysbridge Stories tutor

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Meet the Maker - Ruth & Kirsten Mutch

Last Thursday Kirsten and Ruth Mutch gave a fascinating talk as part of our Meet the Maker series, talking about Ruth's artwork and Penguin Parade, the business they have created to promote and sell her work.

The Meet the Maker series has been designed so that artists working at Project Ability can find out more in depth about other artists and makers' practice and also get an insight into how creative practice can be promoted and thought about as a business.

Kirsten and Ruth took us through the milestones in their creative journey, starting in 2010 when Ruth joined Project Ability. Ruth developed her distinctive style of working early on and has used this to create successful products, as well as in some instances capturing part of her own personal story, as a working artist with autism.

Kirsten talked us through the practicalities of setting up a website, handling production and promotions, working with stockists and even illustrating a children’s book. They shared some great insights and helpful tips that they had found out along the way.

Ruth gave a heartfelt thank you to Project Ability at the close of the talk: “Of course none of this would have happened if I hadn’t started coming to Project Ability and received the fantastic support and encouragement I get here.  They gave me hope and purpose during a very difficult time of my life and have increased my self-esteem and confidence. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have Project Ability to come to. I am really grateful for all the opportunities they gave me to exhibit and sell my work, with the highlight being my solo exhibition last year.”

Thanks so much to Kirsten and Ruth for coming to share their inspirations and experiences with us!

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Down’s Syndrome Scotland workshops

On Sunday, our workshops with young people with Down's syndrome and their siblings continued after a short break due to the weather conditions.

The printmaking continued with an introduction to mono-printing along with some drawing, painting and collage.

It looks like everyone had some fun and there were some beautiful results. We look forward to seeing what happens next week!

For more photos, check out our Facebook Page. 

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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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Cameron Morgan and Gregor Wright - Week 4

In the four weeks since their residency started, Cameron Morgan and Gregor Wright have been experimenting with drawing on different mediums, including tea towels.

"At the moment I’m trying to encourage some abstraction and the work we’re making just now is a sort of fusion of our response to neo-expressionism, familiar pop culture icons and ideas of craft and making." said Gregor.

"The tea towels seemed like a good thing to paint on because as a surface to work on they're similar to canvas, but as an object they’re quite humble and mundane. The idea came to me after Cameron and I were looking at the plate paintings of Julian Schnabel, which Cameron liked compared to some of the darker, more abstract painted works."

We're looking forward to seeing where this collaborative partnership takes them! 

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Ladysbridge Stories - February Workshops

Collecting stories, collating conversations and rekindling old friendships

"The Ladysbridge Stories project continues to gather momentum as more ex-patients and staff come forward with memories to share and stories to tell.

We were delighted that so many familiar faces joined us once again at the C-Change offices in Aberdeen and that ex-staff members’ Alastair Minty and Jim Cook popped in to contribute to the session. The BBC also dropped by to hear what we’re up to!

Throughout the project we’ve been collecting imagery and building a picture, through writing, drawing and storytelling, which illustrates the day to day life at Ladysbridge Hospital. We’ve continued to map the site, designing a key of symbols which represent all areas of this remote hospital, from the kitchens and briquette shed to the farms and fields, the flora and fauna.

The sessions are industrious and conversation lively. Some of the stories are moving and often difficult to tell but many are also funny and heart-warming.
It’s so good to see old friendships lost with the closure of Ladysbridge hospital being rekindled through the Ladysbridge Stories project."
-Sharon Quigley, Project Ability tutor

The final Ladysbridge Stories workshop will take place on thursday 22 March in C-Change Aberdeen. 

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On the Road: Douglas Community Centre, Dundee

"Hard to believe that Project Ability artist Jonathan McKinstry and I are half way through this eight week project at the Douglas Centre, Dundee. Time seems to have hurtled by as the group has embraced each session with a real enthusiasm and produced some lively artwork.

We have continued to introduce ideas around playful mark making, like painting with edges of card instead of brushes. Jonathan had described to the group this technique he had seen in a film whereby a surface layer of paint can be scratched into to reveal a contrasting ground colour underneath – otherwise known as sgraffito !

The Dundee Artists tested these methods out using silhouetted images and a bit more drawing from observation."
-Meredith Crone, Project Ability Tutor

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Cameron Morgan and Gregor Wright start their collaborative partnership

After a very successful residency with Charlie Hammond, Cameron Morgan has started his new collaborative partnership with another Glasgow-based artist: Gregor Wright

The two artists met up twice already, familiarising themselves with each other's work and discussing how their respective practices can feed this collaboration.

Cameron showed Gregor some of his work currently in our gallery and in our shop, and they then went to Wright's studio near Trongate 103.

We are very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the next ten weeks!

Cameron Morgan's series of residencies is funded by Creative Scotland. Gregor Wright is represented by The Modern Institute. 

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On the Road: Douglas Community Centre, Dundee

January 2018 saw the beginning of a new project for Project Ability artist Jonathan McKinstry, myself and a group of nine service users of the Douglas Community Centre, Dundee. At the end of January we embarked on an eight week course of Visual Art Workshops.

The first two of these took the form of playing with different media and exploring possibilities. In the first week participants drew and painted with combinations of handmade and professional artist’s tools and implements. There was a bit of drawing from observation and plenty of use of the imagination.

The second week involved some more beautiful mark making, but this time in the form of monoprints.

We will continue to explore techniques over the coming weeks and as we get to know one another I suspect some folk may get hooked on certain art media and wish to delve deeper !
-Meredith Crone

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The Happy Club

Two Project Ability tutors, Consuelo and Celine, have been going along to The Happy Club in Easterhouse for the past couple of weeks. The Happy Club is an ongoing evening club for young people with autism and their parents and these were the start of a six week series of workshops with the two tutors.

Consuelo has been working with the group for quite some time already, but for Celine it was the first time she had been along.

'The art workshop is just one of the activities available to the young people. There's some stiff competition from the computers but there are quite a few budding young artists who have joined us and been very focused in making some wonderful artwork.

The first couple of weeks we have been experimenting with printmaking and we plan to do some work with clay and textiles for the rest of the sessions. As you can see from the photographs, there has been an explosion of colour and creativity so far!

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Artist in residence: Sarah Kudirka

Our newest artist in residence started last Thursday, and has already settled perfectly in the studios. Previously based in London, Sarah Kudirka has recently moved to Glasgow, and is using the residency to further her cityscape polaroid project. A great way to discover a new city! 

"I am working on a big series of paintings about walking and looking up at the sky squeezed in between tall buildings: a simple idea but a compelling project. Each image is made over a Polaroid snap I’ve taken in a city where I live, work or travel. Since starting this project in 2012 I’ve made hundreds of vivid images that have been recognised as “beautiful and accessible” and “highly innovative”.

Sarah aims to make 100 polaroid paintings of cityscapes from the city centre during her time at project Ability, as well as work on canvas. You can follow her progress on our residency instagram @PA_Research_Residency

Welcome Sarah!

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Cameron Morgan and Charlie Hammond’s residency draws to a close.

For the past few months, Cameron Morgan and Glasgow-based artist Charlie Hammond have been meeting every week for their collaborative residency. The pair got to know each other's work and to create a series of prints inspired by Charlie's matchbox collection.

"I liked working with Charlie very, very much – he has a good sense of humour, is a lot of fun, and has a really good nature. I really enjoyed myself’ said Morgan.

The residency, which ended last week, resulted in an impressive body of work.

"Working together with Cameron has been a joy", Hammond said. "Like many good collaborations we started with no clear direction but found our way through action, the work itself the result of these ongoing and very natural conversations.

Cameron’s energy is infectious (though a few more tea breaks wouldn’t hurt!) and his ability to translate the essence of an object into a direct and playful drawing or ceramic allowed us to progress quickly, screen-printing layer upon layer and developing the works far beyond our initial thoughts.

Not only have we ended up with a great body of work but also a great friendship."

Cameron and Charlie's work will be on display in our gallery in a short exhibition in early 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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Project Ability part of nationwide art project celebrating the centenary of the women’s vote

We are delighted to announce our support for PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave the first British women the right to vote. 

PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm, as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.

PROCESSIONS will invite women and girls across the UK to come together on the streets of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London on Sunday 10 June 2018 to mark this historic moment in a living, moving portrait of women in the 21st century.

Project Ability is one of 100 organisations working with women artists up and down the country in the lead-up to the event, as part of an extensive public programme of creative workshops to create 100 centenary banners which will form part of this vast artwork.

The banner-making workshops will focus on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign and will be spaces to consider the power of the vote today and our shared future. The banners made will represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds.

A group of women from our ReConnect and Aspire programmes will work with tutor Sandi Kiehlmann over the coming months. 

Helen Marriage, CEO Artichoke said:
“The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including XXX, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork. What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday 10th of June will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”

PROCESSIONS is commissioned by 14-18 NOW and produced by Artichoke. With support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

(Image taken from http://www.processions.co.uk)

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Ladysbridge Stories - January workshops

Thanks to the enthusiastic response of participants and their willingness to share their stories, we had yet another great session in Aberdeen. There were some new faces amongst the group which was great! 

In the morning session we discussed the idea of creating a map that references the history of the site, the wards and individual memories attached to them. We already had prepared an outline of the map which we put up on the wall to discuss how we can populate it. One thing we were quite keen on working together was the map key. Using certain locations like the farm, gardens, patients training area, we asked the participants to help us create a visual representations for these locations. Charles made a fantastic collage for the patients training area. Others have made great drawings of animals that were found within the grounds.

After lunch we worked a little bit more on the map’s key drawing, and dwelled more into people’s memories, making lists of things people would like to add onto the map. In the afternoon we also had a visit from Alastair Minty who had worked in ladysbridge hospital in the late 80's. Most of the participants knew Alastair very well and were very keen to talk to him. Davie has prepared questions for him and we did a great round table interview / discussion with Alastair. This has been a fantastic opportunity for the ex patients to share their side of the story and ask questions. Also a great opportunity to find out more about the work Alastair has been doing over the years and how his time at ladysbridge hospital affected his career.

The next workshops will be on Thursday 15th February in C-Change Aberdeen. 

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Walking Group - Week 1: GoMA

Our walking group kicked off 2018 with a visit to Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art to see the current exhibitions there. There was a rich variety of works to see in every part of the building with a wide range of themes, styles and mediums on display.

Two solo and two group exhibitions are in the four main galleries along with permanent displays that document the history of the building from the residence of a wealthy merchant to the municipal gallery it is today in the balcony spaces. It was a lot to take in.

One of the exhibitions, Taste, which can be found in gallery 2, is composed of works from the Glasgow Museum's collection and includes pieces by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fischli/Weiss, Andy Goldsworthy, David Hockney, Eduardo Paolozzi, David Shrigley, Stanley Spencer and Andy Warhol. This will be an ongoing exhibition that will will periodically change with rotations taking placing over the coming years. A highlight for our group was the short film The Way Things Go by Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. You can watch a short excerpt here.

Other exhibitions on the day were: solo exhibitions by Aaron Angell and Stephen Sutcliffe and Polygraphs: Truth, evidence and the authentic voice, a group exhibition that explores our connections to the arms trade, slave trade and feminism and includes works by Barbara Kruger, kennardphillips, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hito Steyerland, Alasdair Gray and ex-Project Ability tutor Beth Forde.

More information on all these exhibitions and more can be found here.

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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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