We have worked with groups of young people for eight years. Through funding from Joseph Rowntree Foundation we have engaged with young people from 5 York wards and found for them opportunities to code games and exhibit their art digitally in city centre locations; through funding from ACE we have worked with young offenders from Middlesbrough and Wetherby and created innovative interfaces to co-create collaborative and complementary storyboards; we have visited schools in the North East and encouraged creative responses to shared themes of aspiration and confidence.
It is very gratifying to run a charity, especially when the planets line up, and outcomes are concrete and lead to pathways into work experience and luminous, edgy exhibitions. This has happened hundreds of times over the last decade.
Sometimes, a curveball is thrown into the mix and unexpected blessings arrive that change the narrative. ‘Bags of Creativity’ concocted by IVE and York’s Local Cultural Education Partnership have arrived and they are almost outrageously effective in reaching vulnerable young people.
The bags are, it must be said, top quality collections of creative miscellany: sketch books, watercolours, paint brush, plasticine, fabric, Pritt Stick, coloured pencils, string, travel washing lines, masking tape, all wrapped in a stylish tote bag, generously designed by Branding Agency Lazenby Brown as a gesture to a gift that is, by any standards, game changing. For too long creativity has been nodded along into adequacy. This gives the steering wheel back into the hands of the young participants with the requisite sense of irreverence, style, and quality.
New Visuality has embarked on a series of projects working with learners from Blueberry Academy, who provide specialist support for adults with learning difficulties. The Bags are slowly being disseminated into a cohort of 30 participants and already the creative results in sketch books and posters and paintings and installations are glowing with a new sense of creativity.
It just goes to show – a touch of disruptive, generous derring do from everyone who conceived the idea and donated arty gifts can rejuvenate charitable activities in even the darkest, most arid of times.
Creativity just got a whole lot more colourful.