The Garnetbank Creative Residency is a partnership project between GSA Community Engagement and Garnetbank Primary School. The project places a GSA graduate within the school over an academic year with the aim of developing and encouraging creativity, curiosity and skills development for both the pupils and the creative. In 2021-22 I was the creative in residence, I was exploring the healing and soothing potential of sculpture and painting through creative workshops that explored different senses, but were primarily lead by touch and rooted in free play. Through this approach the children developed their language to understand and express their bodily sensations, to have that heard and respected, and to see that as a unique part of who they are and how they navigate the world. I undertook this residency to develop my practice as a participatory artist working with children who need extra nurturing and support in school. I also investigated different facilitation methodologies with the groups, what different sculptural materials can do for them, and how to create the most exciting and creative experiences.
Throughout the project GSA Community Engagement asked me to consider monitoring and evaluating the project. We researched and trialled a number of methods, including personal wellbeing scores, the Leuven Scale, and I also wanted to try and gather information that would ask the children to engage with their bodies and show me a little bit about what their energy levels were like. I illustrated a sticker chart with a broad diversity of representations of children to help the children to identify more closely with the feelings being shown. It is a quick and unobtrusive exercise, and because kids love stickers they’ve been happy to oblige.
More information about my work can be found on the GSA Community Engagement blog. A recording of an in conversation event with fellow artist and play worker, Max Alexander, that I was part of can be found here.