Volunteer of the week: Vivian Ross-Smith

Vivian, a volunteer stading with one of the young participants showing his artwork

Today we had a chat with the lovely Vivian! Vivian recently volunteered with Project Ability in the Create workshops. A big thank you to Vivian, it was wonderful having you in the studios with us!

Vivian, why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?

I am an artist and Social Care Worker, so I have followed the excellent work of Project Ability for some time now. When I moved from my home of Shetland to Glasgow to complete a Masters at Glasgow School of Art, it was a perfect opportunity to give some time to volunteering and get to know Project Ability from a new perspective.


Has your experience lived up to your expectations?

My experience has been excellent, I felt incredibly comfortable right from the get-go and found it very easy to settle in with the other volunteers, tutors and participants. Everyone is so valued in the studios and the non-hierarchical structure makes for a very supportive environment.


What have you learned from your experience in our workshops?

I am used to supporting adults but through this experience, I had the pleasure of spending lots of time with Project Abilities young participants working mostly with painting, print and clay. We had a great mix between getting good structured work complete and playing with materials in a tactile way. I independently facilitate art workshops but had never done this as part of a large group before, volunteering with Project Ability has widened my understanding as to how I can work collaboratively to provide space and time to support large groups of people to make art and advance their skills.


Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or artwork that has stood out for you?

Sida has done an excellent job getting to grips with painting and drawing. She has been working with beautiful marks and approaches her work with a very relaxed energy, even at times lying on the floor to draw. I’ve been trying to take that chilled energy into my own practice! However, it is the great mix of personalities, styles and interests that make the groups so great to be part of. Everyone adds to the dynamic.


Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?

Definitely. Anyone with an interest in art and working with people would revel in this opportunity. The workshop sessions are short so they are manageable for those with even a small amount of time to give and you will gain so much for the experience.


Any other comments you’d like to share?

Thank you to the whole Project Ability team for being so supportive of me and opening up your incredible facilities in this way.


You can follow more of Vivian’s work at: