The exhibition ‘Something for Something’ launched by Barnardo’s Cymru was held at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on Wednesday 13th November 2013.
This event was the result of collaboration between Valley and Vale Community Arts and Barnardo’s and focused on young people’s experiences, relationships, the dangers of sexual exploitation, and how therapeutic arts helped them to process traumatic events.
The project involved workshops held over a ten week period and focused on young people talking about their experiences around growing up, relationships and the dangers of sexual exploitation. Through art, music and poetry the young people were encouraged to not only express themselves and their feelings but reflect on other young people’s experiences. The workshops were facilitated by Lisa Ambrose from Barnardo’s Cymru and Katja Stiller Valley from Vale Community Arts; they used a Person-Centred approach offering a safe and creative environment to the young people, and worked with support from Eastmoors Youth Centre in Cardiff, Fran Wright (music specialist) and Paul Lyons (Music Director). The young people wrote and chose the backing music used for their piece of music. All the young people were involved in the mixing, filming and editing of the final production.
This one hour launch event included the live music, songs written and performed by young people, and a collection of short films, artwork and poetry in which young people talked openly about their personal experiences. We also showed the drama piece ‘What’s Happening Frankie?’ which was written by young people, facilitated by our Drama Development Worker Ali Franks, and performed by students from The ATrium, Cardiff, in order to make other young people aware of the grooming process.
Throughout the launch there were speakers from Barnardo’s Cymru and the Welsh Government.
Pat Duke, Assistant Director of Barnardo’s Cymru:
“It is a privilege for me to be here today as it provides us with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of young people’s experiences but also to celebrate their resilience and fortitude in being able to express themselves so that others can learn and perhaps avoid becoming victims themselves. … What we fail to sometimes take into account are those circumstances that have led children and young people into certain harmful trajectories …”
John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sports:
“The Welsh Government does value our young people and it wants to work with key partners to make sure that we continue to make important stride ￼forward to offer better protection and better systems … It is in fact one of the Welsh Government key pledges in terms of the Arts in Wales to widen access to the Arts and to widen access for young people to the Arts.”
“We want to make sure that as many of our young people as possible have the opportunity to experience what the Arts have to offer and to develop their own artistic talents and abilities …”
“Sometimes people think of the Arts as paintings hanging on walls being looked at by middle class people. Obviously it is far wider than that … In fact the Arts have relevance right across the whole range of Welsh Government activities and lives of people in Wales and young people in Wales.”
“I think what we learn from today is another aspect of that relevance … The way that The Arts Council of Wales, Valley and Vale Community Arts and Literature Wales have been working with Barnardo’s to allow young people to express themselves and communicate their experiences around sexual exploitation. So it is an example of the power of the Arts and the range of agendas The Welsh Government and key partners have that Arts are relevant to. It really can help young people to not just communicate their experiences and to make a wider audiences aware of those experiences and what needs to be done to deal with them, but it can also be cathartic for young people, it can allow young people to unburden some of that experience and some of that exploitation that has taken place in Wales …”
“If the Arts can play a part in dealing with this experience and allowing the young people to some extend to overcome those experiences and to move on then I think the Arts are doing a very important job and powerful job … So I am really pleased that The Arts Council Wales funded by The Welsh Government is using some of that resource to further these efforts …”
Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales:
“The Arts provides a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to tell it as it is … Even when children and young people are expressing their views and feelings about domestic violence and sexual exploitation using the Arts is a really important way to express those feelings in a way that people can understand and in a serious way so that we are able to respond to what it is they have said…”
“It provides all of us with an opportunity to really think through how we can support children and young people to get positive relationships. To deal with things when things have not gone as they should have done or when bad things happened …”
Emma James, Service Manager, Seraf Service Barnardo’s Cymru:
￼“I am really proud of all the young people and I think you showed immense bravery. Every day we all work together to make sure that you have got a voice and I am so proud that you have been able to give your voices and for people to listen and to hear …”
“I feel extremely emotional – I have been working in this field since 1998 and I have to say that today is one of the proudest days that I ever had. I am so proud to be the Service Manager of such a service that works with young people. I can’t tell you how much the stories I have heard today have touched me. Since 1998 those stories have the same voice in them… that young people have resilience, young people have immense power and it is up to us to make sure that we protect and that we honour children’s childhood, and to make sure that not another day goes by where children are robbed of their childhoods and that is what child sexual exploitation does.”
Quotes from the guest book gave us really positive feedback from the day:
‘Emotional, thought provoking, powerful, moving….’
’I found this event very moving and was really surprised and pleased at young people’s reaction to it. Fantastic – well done.’
‘Thank you – this was a very emotional and educational showcase of young people’s talents.’
‘The production of the films and acting really brought the work of Seraf to life, a very moving and thought-provoking event.’
‘Very moving, powerful stories and films. An important set of stories to tell, told by very brave young people. Good stuff’’. (BBC News)
‘A very creative event. I loved everyone’s ideas, very emotional. I personally think if it wasn’t for Barnardo’s the city would be oblivious to help children like myself, their needs and also the talent that children should feel free to express. I have really enjoyed today and Barnardo’s have given me so much freedom and confidence’. (young participant)
“I always thought that nobody would understand what I have been through. Today people came up to me and said that they were touched by my film, I think they really got it, this is a completely new feeling …” (young filmmaker)
Lisa Ambrose, Arts4U Barnado’s Cymru:
“This was a very powerful and emotional thought-provoking event which highlights that through excellent partnerships with organisations such as Valley and Vale Community Arts, key issues around sexual exploitation can be highlighted. The Arts can provide powerful and profound long-lasting healing for children and young people who have suffered the traumatic effects of sexual abuse and or exploitation.”