Exciting new project with GSA

Today a group of Glasgow School of Art students, from the Sculpture and Environmental Art department, joined us at Trongate 103 for a tour and introduction to Project Ability in preparation of an exciting new project. 

Final year students from SAE have been invited to propose a project as part of their degree course work, to work with us collaboratively in our 3rd floor studios.  Today we met the potential candidates for this exciting project and very much look forward to receiving the student’s proposals.

Watch this space for further developments in the new and exciting project.

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Heritage Lottery Fund awards a research grant to a group of Project Ability artists

The Heritage Lottery has awarded our artists a grant to research, reflect and interpret historical and contemporary art collections of work created by untrained artists, people in hospital and long stay institutions and others who have been and are, compelled to create for their own purpose. 

Starting with Joyce Laing’s Art Extraordinary collection which is held by Glasgow Museums the artists will go on to access collections in public ownership to consider issues of ownership and artistic intent.  At the end of the project they will share their individual responses in an exhibition of images and text.

Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and well done to our artists! 

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Artist in residence - Yeonjoo Cho

Our new residency programme started last month, with talented painter and recent graduate Yeonjoo Cho spending a month in our studios. She tells us more about her practice and her experience at Project Ability.

"I am a contemporary painter who explores gender, identity and culture through landscape paintings. I got a Master’s degree last September at the Glasgow School of Art and am currently thinking about a new art project which is more focused on the form of painting and feminist issues.

Since I have experienced being marginalised as a woman, or as an Asian or as both, I have been interested in many social issues related to equality. In addition, in Scotland, I was often considered as a stranger, struggling with communication in English and I roughly could understand and empathise with the aim of Project Ability: creating opportunities for people with disabilities through art.

Also, because most of the people I hung out with in Glasgow were people who studied art or who were in the art scene, I wanted to expose myself to a new environment which would allow me to meet people who have different backgrounds. Thus, when I read the notice of this residency programme, I thought there would be something I can share and learn from other artists at Project Ability.

And, as I expected, I met many artists who were very open minded toward a new artist who just became a member of the shared studio. Whenever they had a workshop, they stopped by my place to ask questions about my work and to share their experiences, which enabled me to blend in more easily. Since the atmosphere was very warm and everyone looked so passionate, I could be relaxed and push myself to think about my new art project. For me, it was like a perfect bridge which connects the art school or small isolated studio to the broader world. What I try to pursue through my art practice is not art for art’s sake but art which tells stories about me, other people and our society. And this one month was a nice opportunity to feel it in real life. 

As an emerging artist who just graduated from art school, it was also a nice experience to have a studio and an access to other artists’ studios and workshops. Project Ability offered me lots of professional tools and materials to focus on my practice. Therefore, in practical aspects, it also helped me a lot to continue my practice and to do more experiments.

Overall, I got positive energy and inspiration from lots of supportive artists and staff members at Project Ability. I am hoping that there was something I contributed for the other artists as well."
-Yeonjoo Cho

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Malcesine on Lake Garda’ by Andrew Crosbie

This week we are celebrating Artwork of the Week with this colurful sea and city scape by Andrew Crosbie titled 'Malcesine on Lake Garda'. This canvas is currently in our gallery here at Trongate 103 as part of our Young Talent 2018 exhibtion, which is running until Saturday the 13th of October. Malcesine is a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Garda in northern Italy, and has been beautifully captured in this depiction by Crosbie. We are delighted to say this painting was purchased today from the Young Talent show, congratulations to the artist! There are still several amazing artworks still available from this exhibition, and it is well worth a look. We are open late today for 1st Thursday, serving wine and soft drinks. All welcome!

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Open Museum project - Week 6

Last week, the group working on the Art Extraordinary exhibition meet with Claire and Cheryl in what was our last visit from GMRC. We are in no means finished with the project though. We have two visits planned one to GMRC to meet again with technician John to see the core building process, and one in Pollok to meet with the Leverndale group who are working on another case in the exhibition.

As well as that we will be meeting in the coming weeks to continue and finalise the various pieces of text for the project. We will also be photographing work by the group to be displayed alongside the Art Extraordinary and working on a design for a flyer or leaflet of some type to advertise the launch, which will take place some time in November. Keep an eye out for the date when we know!
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Thompson Hall at Project Ability

Earlier this month, London-based artist Thompson Hall visited Project Ability with his ActionSpace Artist Facilitator Lisa Brown for a three day residency in our studios. Here is what he had to say about his experience.

"I would like to thank Project Ability for inviting me to spend time in their studio for a residency. Doing a short residency was one of the things I identified as the next step after the exhibition I created with my studio colleague Ian Wornast, My Life in London, which was shown at two venues in London earlier this year.

I feel that being around the other artists that I met at Project Ability was very inspiring because it enabled me to find out about their work and at the same time learn some new skills, such as making my own canvases and producing lots of prints from the drawings I did in my sketchbook on the train. 

I also found working alongside Lisa Brown, my ActionSpace Artist Facilitator, who was making some work as well, was very useful and has inspired me to make more work and given me ideas for doing more things in the future. 

I felt I enjoyed the whole experience in spending time just experimenting with different materials and not being under pressure to produce work for an exhibition. I also felt more relaxed around the people I met. I wish I could have spent more time with them to talk about my work and ask them questions about their work. I’m looking forward to visiting Project Ability again at the beginning of next year, when my exhibition will be in the gallery. I hope I will get to have more time getting to know your artists a lot more. 

I was very happy to be there."
-Thompson Hall


Thompson Hall is at Studio Artist at Action Space, a London based arts organisation that supports artists with Learning Disabilities. 
Images from My Life in London and more of Thompson’s work can been seen here.   

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Open Museum project - Week 5

"Last week the group of artists working on the Open Museum project met with Tony again and also John, the design and technical officer. John will be constructing the core of our display, the core is the section inside a display case that the pieces hang and sit on, it compromises a back and side with shelves custom built to suit the exhibit.

We will be able to go to GMRC and visit to see our specific core being built. We continued to work on our overall theme for the exhibition and what our 150 word statement will be. We also made final choices on the pieces we are putting in, each of us choosing two.

The next step is to finalise all the writing, including a label for each individual piece. We also discussed the opportunity to display photos of our work on the side panels of the display case. We also watched a short film about Angus McPhee by Nick Higgins titled 'Hidden Gifts, the Mystery of Angus McPhee', it was fascinating."
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Meet the Maker - Rachel Elliott

We were lucky enough to be joined by glass artist Rachel Elliott last Friday. Rachel took part in two events: an artist’s talk and a workshop session. Rachel studied Architectural Glass at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 2007. Since then she has established both a studio practice and a commercial practice.

Rachel talked us through a number of her creative pieces, the thinking behind them and some of the technical processes, which included mould making, kiln forming, screen printing, core casting and stained glass. She emphasised how much of what she’d learned, she’d done through experimentation, patience and persistence, trying processes repeated times until she was happy with the results.

Following the talk Rachel led a workshop in our studios introducing participants to glass transfers or decals, and some glass painting techniques. Rachel had prepared some decals that had been made from drawings by Project Ability artists. The group learnt how to adhere these to small tumblers, as well as how to work with enamel paints to add additional detail and colour. These will now need to be fired again in our kiln and then they will be safe to use for drinking out of.

Keep an eye on our shop, you might just see some of these new designs appearing for sale in the near future!

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Open Museum project - Week 4

Our Open Museum project is progressing well and in last week's session the group got to meet two persons of great interest: artist and researcher Mike Inglis and art therapist and collector Joyce Laing. Mike was there in person to chat and show the group the short film he has made of interviews with Joyce, whereas Joyce was only present on the screen. Nonetheless, the group got to meet her in digital form and listen to her talking about her collection and some of the people connected to it.

The group have started to write about the artworks they have selected to be part of the exhibition and are looking forward to the next meeting when they will get to see more artworks and continue with the discussions.

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Shop Item of the Week - ‘£1.69 in Danglers’ by Cameron Morgan and Charlie Hammond

'£1.69 in Danglers' is our Shop Item of the Week! This limited edition print was created by Cameron Morgan and Charlie Hammond during their residency collaboration this past year. Signed by both artists, and measuring 84 x 59cm, this print can be purchased from our online shop for £185.00. There is a green version as well, as pictured below...

You can read more about Morgan and Hammond's project, and the exhibition their exhibition, 'Dangler's of Today', here.

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Meet the Volunteers - Stella Phipps

Our new volunteers have just started in the workshops, getting to know the artists and the equipment. We hope they get as much from their experience as Stella Phibbs, who volunteered with us for a year and a half between 2016 and 2018. Here is what she wrote about her experience:

"It’s been an amazing experience volunteering at Project Ability with both adults and children, on the Aspire and Create programmes. (September 2016 – March 2018).

I am a visual artist and facilitator. As soon as I heard about Project Ability I was so keen to get involved! Thank you for this opportunity. It’s been so inspiring and uplifting to me. 

On the Aspire programme, I was warmly welcomed by a lovely group of adult artists, tutors and other volunteers. What struck me was the community spirit, freedom to create art in any medium, incredible studio space and friendly, supportive atmosphere.

I gained so much inspiration from these artists and their spontaneous, playful approach. Also, their attention to detail and pride in their artwork was great to see. The group dynamic was very supportive, with adults of all ages creating art together in their own unique style. I love this sense of joy that art brings people, helping build self-confidence and connections with others.

Working with children on the Saturday Create programme has been fantastic too. These were generally much faster paced sessions, and I love how prolific the kids were, fully immersing themselves in the process of art-making, from sculpture, to intricate drawings, print-making, collage… It’s been lovely getting to know this group too, and seeing strong friendships grow. 

Project Ability has reaffirmed my belief that art is a powerful tool, to heal, empower and transform peoples’ lives. Having facilitated arts workshops for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of people for several years, I am determined to continue my journey and broaden my experience in this field. 
This September I will begin an MA in Art Therapy at the University of Hertfordshire.

Thank you everyone "
-Stella Phipps

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Open Museum project - Week 1

"A group of Project Ability artists went to the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre last week to view a collection of art. The collection was donated to Glasgow Museums by Joyce Laing who was an art therapist working with in-patients with mental health issues from the 60's until the 80's.

She collected art from her own patients and others she met at hospitals. The collection is vast, diverse and impressive. We didn't get to see all of it as there is so much in the entire collection. 

After viewing it we went for a tea break and discussed what we had seen. This was when we learned more about the project we will be curating that will be displayed in a space in the Pollok Civic Realm.

We will select work from the collection and write about it. These texts will be displayed with the artworks and will be exhibited for a year. We will also be making our own artwork in response to the collection."
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Tany Raabe-Webber on her visit at Project Ability

"As you all may or may not know, back in Shrewsbury where I live, I have set up and run ArtStudio01, an artist collective. In January 2016 we had a trip to Project Ability to see an exhibition of our work in the Project Ability gallery. This has made us realise that we also have artistic ambitions, and since then our studio group had increased to 9 artists, including myself as an artist and artists’ facilitator.

Because ArtStudio01 has grown and the artists want to show their work and develop their skills and creative practices, I wanted to visit and learn about what other learning disability art studios are doing so that I can develop our studio collective into an inclusive, thriving and successful artists’ hub.

I was recently awarded an Arts Council England, Grants for The Arts Award to do a research and development project into Learning Disability Arts, studio models and artists’ practice. I’m presently touring around on a series of #StudioVisits with my Producer on this project Jennifer Gilbert and Jackie Cooley as an associate artist of ArtStudio01. Project Ability was on our list and it was great to catch up with everyone in the studio too.

We talked, and talked, and talked with Elisabeth Gibson, the Director of Project Ability, who told us loads about the organisation, who does what, what exhibitions you do, how you sell work in the shop and all about the volunteers that support you and all about the artist residencies that happen in and outside of Project Ability. Omg you guys do so much!

A big part of my project is for ArtStudio01 to run our first artist in residence at our studios in Shrewsbury. So we also came to talk to Cameron Morgan who’s going to exhibit his work with us and join us for a short 3 day residency in March next year. We are very excited about this!

I also caught up with Simon McAuley who’s doing a research into identity, labels and self-defining or not as a Disabled Artist. I could have talked and debated all afternoon on this with Simon. It’s really fascinating research and at the core of my own practice as an artist and Disabled Artist. Hope to catch-up again to see where this takes you.

It was so lovely to be back in the studio at Project Ability, and thank you all for such a warm welcome. I’ve realised that as an Associate Artist of Project Ability I’ve lost touch with what you’ve all been doing so I must visit more often to keep in touch. I shall be making an annual visit from now on. See you all next summer!"
-Tanya Raabe-Webber

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On the Road: Kirkintilloch

“I liked mixing the colours of paint. I liked making the bird clock and the silk paint, I hope there will be more classes.
"Art class is good fun. Everyone is friendly."

These are some of the responses we've had from people who attended our recent workshops in the Barony Chambers in Kirkintilloch. With different activities each week, participants had a go at glass painting, silk painting, making clay animals, painting canvas bags and making working clocks.

Our tutors Jason and Celine seem to have enjoyed the workshops as much as the participants and are looking forward to a return visit in October.

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Performance workshop: Foley Art

What do celery, a hot water bottle and a tambourine all have in common?

Last week our young Create artists were learning the art of Foley – the unique skill of sound creation for film and TV. Our project room became their recording studio for the week and an array of weird and wonderful objects became their instruments. 

Inspired by the way sound can enhance and change our perception of film they created their own short story, complete with dramatic sound effects.  Want to know more - watch this space for their finished film coming soon!

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Back in Aberdeen!

Just when we thought it was all over! We were delighted to hear recently that our Ladysbridge project has been extended to allow us to develop a publication to accompany our fantastic memory map.

Today we had the great pleasure of returning to Aberdeen, where we’ve been gathering more valuable memories and insights, into the lives of our participants both in their lives today and formerly, when they were residents in the hospital.  It never fails to impress us just how much detail people can remember from their pasts and how fascinating it is to share in their memories. 

Over the course of this project we have captured these memories, visually, on film and in written form.  We have also enjoyed the fantastic support of archivist, Fiona Musk, giving us the unique opportunity to place the memories that our participants have shared, alongside the statistical records held about the hospital at various times in history. This project has allowed a more rich and well balanced history of the hospital to be recorded, including the first hand experiences of the people who lived there, some for many years of their lives.

Our publication, due to be completed by the end of next month, will catalogue some of the fascinating facts that we have learned throughout this project. We very much look forward to sharing this with you soon!

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On the Road: Kirkintilloch

Two of our tutors have been working with a group in the Barony Chambers in Kirkintilloch. They are now halfway through a block of six weekly workshops with a different activity each week.

So far they have had a go at glass painting, clay modelling and silk painting.

An added extra was some fan decoration which was very welcome to help stay cool in the wonderful warm weather we've been having!

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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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Outreach workshops in Gartnavel Hospital

A group of patients from the Henderson Ward in Gartnavel Hospital has been participating in a series of workshops with tutor Meredith Crone.

"In mid-April the Project Ability Art Group on Henderson Ward were invited to participate in a Human Geography Research Project. We were asked to explore the patient’s experience of using spaces in a Psychiatric Hospital.

We engaged with this theme for one session only. Patients were presented with photos of different areas of the hospital and asked what kind of feelings or memories these places evoked.

Some of these photos were selected then collaged and made into photo montages with the addition of text, drawing and painting.

When I returned to Henderson ward in June we picked up on the idea of contours and repeated rhythms to emphasise form. This led to some really interesting mark making with ink and dip pens."

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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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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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