November 29 2008

The Art of Emotion (a Beacon Award Project)

Mountain Dew, Garw Valley

We are very pleased to announce that we have started The Art of Emotion, our new Beacon Award development programme. This innovative new project has been made possible thanks to receiving Beacon Award funding funding from The Arts Council of Wales. We have employed Drama Development Workers Alison O’Connor and Ali Franks to lead this new project, and we have an exciting time ahead. This project will develop new work in a range of settings, exploring the use of drama and creativity for personal development with many different groups.

We hope to be working with Bridgend Women’s Aid, developing a new project with the women from the Freedom Programme, offering drama-based workshops to encourage and enable the women to tell their stories.

In addition to the Women’s Aid project, we will also be developing innovative ways for working with Anger Management with both young people and adults. This will be a continuation of the work we have already started with young people in schools in the Bridgend area. This work has been hugely successful and we believe that it could act as a pilot for developing an alternative and creative approach to Anger Management, not only with young people, but possibly adults also.

Work with people with mental health difficulties will be another important element of The Art of Emotion project. We aim to develop a longer- term workshop with Caswell Clinic in Bridgend, using drama and creative approaches to personal development within a mental health setting. We are also talking to HMP Parc about developing a regular drama workshop in the prison, working with young offenders to explore their stories through drama and other art forms.

The Art of Emotion will also include some developmental work through creativity around Rites of Passage, Journeys, and Healing. We will be working intensively in an outdoors setting in this project, working with small groups which we will identify as the project develops. This is a new area of work for Valley and Vale and one that we are keen to explore, because we believe that the combination of creativity and nature is extremely powerful, allowing people to go to places that may have been blocked prior to this work. We will be working with Nick Clements and Lynette Margerison who are both highly experienced in this way of working, and look forward to exploring new approaches to our work.

Later in the year we will be developing cross-generational work locally, working towards a large-scale Community Play in Betws, where we are based. We will be looking at more innovative ways of developing Community Theatre in the Betws Community, enabling people to tell their stories, and facilitating work around these stories with all age groups and sections of the community.

Other development areas of the project include devising new training for professionals in creative approaches to personal development. We will extend our Person-Centred Creativity training to include professionals within the Education Sector, running workshops as part of Inset days to enable teachers and LSAs to consider creative approaches as part of a holistic curriculum. In terms of art form development we will be exploring a more organic approach to performance work, using improvisation and play to explore personal development in a more profound way. We will be working with participants in more depth with improvisation and play to explore personal stories and experiences, working ‘in the moment’ using found objects, music, stories, poems, creative writing and other art forms as a way in to the work, working with the ‘child within’.

As part of The Art of Emotion we will run research alongside practice to provide evidence and evaluation that will continue to inform ‘best practice’ within the Community Arts Sector. We aim to explore why some projects and workshops are more successful then others, what our definitions of success are and how we as Community Artists working across many art forms ensure that each project is set up to succeed from the outset. We will be analysing what processes we and the participants engage in, what our expectations are, and the need for aims and objectives.

We would like to thank The Arts Council of Wales for supporting and believing in us and look forward to this new and innovative project.

Valley and Vale Community Arts

Dyfarniad Cwmni Disglair Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru 2008-2010

Arts Council of Wales Beacon Award 2008-10