In this week’s ‘Meet the Volunteers’, we are delighted to introduce Jonathan Kirkwood. Jonathan has been volunteering with Project Ability’s Friday Aspire group, where he has been a brilliant addition to the group.
“Having previous experience volunteering with social groups and currently studying at GSA, applying to volunteer at Project Ability seemed like an obvious decision to make. When I understood that the opportunity to come and not only volunteer with Project Ability but also meet all the amazing and colourful characters involved along the way, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t looked back since and find myself leaving the Aspire group at 3pm on a Friday looking forward to the following week.
Throughout my time studying I have been interested in the processes of the brain. Having an older brother with autism and a dad who is colour blind, I have always had a keen interest in how individuals process and perceive the world that surrounds them. Creating a platform for dialogues and discussions that revolve around personal and collective experience is central to the work that I produce, no matter what the subject matter. I have always enjoyed working with people with additional support needs, I know just how important social groups and organisations such as Project Ability are, not only to those who attend but also their families and in the case of Project Ability, the art community within Glasgow. Without Project Ability so many brilliant works of art and friendships may never have been given the opportunity to come to fruition.
The energy and buzz around the studio really gives you a lift, with so many ideas being generated all at once within Project Ability’s space that it sometimes seems impossible to keep up with everyone. I’ve found this enthusiasm and love for producing works of art has really pushed me to challenge my own practice and motivation. Not only have I seen an improvement in the way I approach work but it has also reinforced my commitment in pursuing a career in art therapy. I sometimes feel like I could simply sit back and listen to all the beautiful little snippets of conversation that occur whilst being at Project ability on a Friday. I’ve found myself smiling and laughing the majority of the time, simply getting to know everyone has been a massive privilege and to be there and experience first hand so many fantastic artists at work has been invaluable.
From the get go I have been welcomed and felt at home within the Aspire group. With many of the skills and materials being used to create being completely new to myself, I found the first block of workshops as being a huge learning curve, quickly picking up new techniques and ways of making marks. The patience and time that has been given to me to learn and process these new skills as been amazing, and that’s not only been from the tutors! Already in the new block of classes I have learnt so much. This has really helped to improve my knowledge and understanding of not only my own practice but others too. The overall experience has been refreshing and an absolute pleasure, and one I will always be grateful for being given.”
Thank you very much, Jonathan!
Project Ability currently have new volunteer opportunities, beginning August 2016, for practicing visual artists at any stage of their career. The deadline for applications is 22 July 2016. Find out more here.