This week, we’d like to introduce you to the brilliant Gillian Duffy, who has been volunteering with our Create Saturday Visual Arts Classes.
“I started volunteering at Project Ability to understand the innovative workshops styles that Project Ability run. In doing so I got to know of the participants; the children and adults, as well as other volunteers and staff members. I enjoyed sharing interests with them and ways of working. It was refreshing to observe the children’s way of working, as they were full of energy and enthusiastic to create. I thought it was great how the children responded to tools and mediums imaginatively, even things that perhaps they had not seen before, for example, many really liked using the overhead projectors to change the scale of their drawings and found it really exciting to use the old –fashioned tool.
Witnessing the concentrated focus on their work at times was remarkable for such young children. I enjoyed seeing their individual themes develop over the weeks, such as one boy who liked drawing pictures of different cats his family had over the years. He used the illustrations to explain a narrative from his personal history. It makes me wonder about art education, and whether it’s about filling children’s heads with knowledge or is it about drawing out the ideas and talents from within them?
I developed my skills in painting and printmaking while studying on the Fine Art Painting and Printmaking degree course at Art School. Since then, I have produced work at the Glasgow Print studio and ‘La Fleur de Pierre’ lithography studio in Paris. I am very interested in the traditional skills and methods for mark making. I have also been a youth worker and taught English abroad.
I went back to study last year this time on the Masters of Design Innovation and Citizenship at the Glasgow School of Art. On the course, I learned about audience and community engagement with an emphasis on services for citizens, and I used research methods and service design practice. I am keen to keep working with children and get into teaching.
In my personal research and artwork I have been fascinated by Glasgow’s culture and the wealth of history from The River Clyde; how it was home to shipbuilding, which employed many thousands of Glasgow’s workforce, and the local tourism “Doon The Watter”, which is fondly remembered with nostalgia.
I am interested in stories and images about the collective history and try to re-imagine this for a new technologically advanced generation. I wonder if younger generations could admire this history of local tourism, or is it just something their grandparents speak of? How do these black and white photographs compete with the fairy tale branding of Disney and the full colour paradise beautifully captured in travel adverts. I hope to continue working with Project Ability and to explore the opportunity to further develop this research and get responses from some of their groups.”
Thank you Gillian!