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Creativity Knows No Quarantine

Articulate is under no illusions about the potentially devastating impact that the combination of economic hardship and the Coronavirus will have on the poorest children, young people and families in our society.
 
The COVID-19 outbreak has particularly highlighted the urgency around this for those with care experience.  These young people are often more socially isolated because of difficult family relationships and are often on limited incomes.  Many are currently disconnected from other opportunities for creative expression because of the closure of schools, colleges and universities.  A significant issue for this group of severely marginalised and isolated young people is poverty and digital exclusion.

In order to stay in touch with Articulate’s most vulnerable young people, to keep their minds active, their hands busy, their mental wellbeing balanced and their social isolation low we have been moving our projects online, to digital or virtual solutions that are free or as cheap as possible within our subsidies:
 
a) live streamed workshops across the arts and craft forms

b) daily posts on our social media to keep our minds and bodies active and positive, especially highlighting all the virtual and digital sources of creative stimulus appearing free all around the world (see our social media platforms and hashtags:  #creativityknowsnoquarantine and #fundamentalnotornamental), and,

c) designing and delivering kits, materials, projects and resources (like the zine below) as required by young people and groups.
 
Our teaching artists are developing inclusive and imaginative tools and techniques that will keep us all occupied, learning and positive; creating daily, weekly, monthly challenges and fun tasks to keep us all culturally connected.

Follow the Dialogues project here ...

Articulate’s digital programme (from Friday 20 March)

  • Daily check-ins and chats on WhatsApp platform for 15 to 25-year olds (all having agreed to a safe usage policy and safeguarding procedures)
  • Sharing opportunities for digital engagement via WhatsApp
  • Zoom chats on Fridays at 7pm each week a different guest artists and discussion topics:

Week 1 - John L Morrison on Dialogues (six young people attended on Friday 20 March at 7pm)
Week 2 - Ben Douglas photographer will discuss the brief proposed for Dialogues in week 1 (six young people attended on Friday 27 March at 7pm)
Week 3 – John L Morrison on Dialogues 1 and 2 (introducing Mary Ann Kennedy’s provocation on Friday 3 April – five young people attended at 7pm)
Week 4 – Forever Yours Betty – influencer and blogger helping us to develop digital creative content
Week 5 - DigitalBeez - digital literacy and online safety
Week 6 - Steven Grainger introducing Arts Awards online to support those currently working on their submission portfolios
Week 7 and beyond – Guy Hollands, theatre director, Angela Murray, TV producer, comedian Gary Meikle, playwright Nicola McCartney, poet Louise Wallwein and award-winning game-makers Biome Collective.

Our project adjustments

We have also created an app for the young people to protect data and safeguard their work as well as hosted:

  • One to one Zoom professional mentoring sessions with creative practitioners
     
  • One to one Zoom personal development planning sessions with young creatives - every Monday, scheduled hourly
     
  • Blank Canvas – twice-weekly creative conversations with sculptor and teaching artist, Steven Grainger (via Zoom) to support our young people in Possil and Glasgow south.
     
  • Culture 360 – our ongoing e-zine’s positivity issue, gathering responses to share and encourage happiness, connectivity and positivity
     
  • Made with Care – young people created a rainbow poster (above) for window display that have been adopted by people in the NHS and as far away as in Cornwall
     
  • Artivism - live stream of exhibition unpacking and designing digital opening (with Staf)
     
  • Track 2 – creating original songs and music with online support from leading Scottish artists
     
  • Start with Art - designing and delivering individualised and bespoke kits, materials and resources to Glasgow’s 20 residential units (funding required beyond our Glasgow provision)
     
  • Culture Club – utilising free online cultural resources and creating bespoke sessions for foster and other families to be 'together while apart' (funding required beyond our Glasgow provision).
     
  • We will also be developing Arts Award accreditation online but requires funding (beyond our East Renfrewshire provision). 

We hope as a result that care experienced young people will have had creative resources and a support network to work from home creatively via online and social media sessions throughout the pandemic lockdown.

One last thing ...

We have heard a growing number of stories about digital deficit, lack of resources and how isolation, loneliness and poverty are combining to doubly disadvantage the young people we work with.

If you have spare, unused or obsolete kit or materials that would support the creativity and development of others, would you please consider a donation to Articulate?

Thank you.

Every cloud has a silver lining

‘You are a powerhouse of ideas and activities which is most inspiring. 
These times are troubling but your impressive online work programme is a model to us all in new ways of working and delivering training and content.’ 

Angela Murray, Line Producer – The Nest (BBC), 31 March 2020

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