The project begins and we connect with one another

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The Ragdoll Foundation funded project It’s My World is based around a series of creative workshops offered specifically to two groups living with the impact of multiple deprivation and identified by the Trust as having most to gain from the opportunity to explore the land and Nolan’s creative legacy through creative experiences.

Over the last few months we’ve worked closely with two organisations St Basils and Creative Cohesion West Midlands, with participant’s artists and a researcher to tailor workshops that allow for self-expression, particularly so that the children and young people involved feel confident to express themselves creatively and emotionally.

To date we’ve run two introductory workshops in Birmingham with small groups of mums (living in St Basil’s accommodation) and their babies exploring the qualities of clay with artist and educator Emma Bowen. Gaining trust has been key to the success of these workshops. Enabling mums to feel comfortable with (very!) messy play with their little ones; giving Mums time to work with clay to design tiles and create their own mementos has been the focus of our work.

Mums have responded with great enthusiasm, quickly picking up skills and creating some great work. They have embraced the fact that clay is messy but washes off and that this kind of play keeps their little ones entertained for hours.

Each time I meet up with staff and young people from St Basils my admiration for them grows. The mums are raising their babies with particular consideration and care and great energy; staff are incredibly supportive and understanding.

A group of about thirty parents and children from the Asian community living around the Saltley area of Birmingham met up with photographer Kate Green. The group explored drawing with light and picked up some tips from Kate on taking portraits. Some of the younger children drew cameras and their favourite super heros! We talked about visiting the Rodd and I explained what the Trust was about and about the farm – the parents really wanted to come out. Afterwards we took the children to play outside in the community centre yard and take portraits. It wasn’t a safe place for them to play - there was huge amounts of rubbish and debris and a large uncovered hole in the grassed area. I commented on it to organiser Rani Ahmed from Creative Cohesion “when I talk to you about deprivation” Rani replied “this is what I mean, people are expected to live with this”.

Photos: Mum and baby meet clay at St Basils Trentham House in Acocks Green; teenagers take a break at the photography workshop with Creative Cohesion in Saltley.

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