I have been working in participatory arts since 2014, these early sessions in printmaking, animation, and various other subjects were the first great leap forwards in my practice.

Polystyrene relief printmaking

Polystyrene relief printmaking

Cardboard sculpture

Cardboard sculpture

Polystyrene relief printmaking at Maker Faire

Polystyrene relief printmaking at Maker Faire

Making vegetable paper the ancient Egyptian way

Making vegetable paper the ancient Egyptian way

Making "clay tablets" with cuneiform script on salt dough at Maker Faire

Making "clay tablets" with cuneiform script on salt dough at Maker Faire

In 2015 I began working with Anton Hecht, a participatory artist focussed on film. I have assisted on many of his shoots as an animator, or prop maker, carried out research into new techniques such as fore-edge illustration, and co-managed more collaborative programmes of participatory arts.

“Dummy Run” a participatory animation produced for Aberystwyth arts centre

A work produced with Equal Arts as part of their creative age challenge. Participants planned a full shoot to re-enact parts from their favourite films, they made props and costumes, storyboarded scenes, and acted them out with help from the local primary school.

The participants of the Wizard of Us project with Equal Arts

The participants of the Wizard of Us project with Equal Arts

Fore-edge illustration - a medieval book art technique . In 2017 Anton and I commissioned 10 artists to illustrate their favourite books, I then finished each book with gilding to hide the image so that the audience had to work to find the books and then the images

As part of Anton’s PHD exploring game theory and it’s use to encourage participation in the arts we worked together to remake the classic rock, paper, scissors to include sign language and a pair of enormous wooden hands

In 2017 I managed Out of the Box, an Arts Council England funded participatory arts programme delivered in collaboration with ceramics artist Judith Davies. The aim of Out of the Box was to open discussions with several youth groups living across Gateshead about how they would like to live, what they would change about their areas, and what was most important to them in a community.

Discussing individuals needs and wants, and making initial building plans

Discussing individuals needs and wants, and making initial building plans

Building homes with paper porcelain

Building homes with paper porcelain

developing the plans into real blueprints (or cyanotypes) using a chemical solution

developing the plans into real blueprints (or cyanotypes) using a chemical solution

Building homes with paper porcelain

Building homes with paper porcelain

The final work on display in Gateshead town centre, each of the houses is fitted with an LED so it glows at night. This work was on display for 3 months in a vacant shop front, exhibited alongside Judith and I’s work.

The final work on display in Gateshead town centre, each of the houses is fitted with an LED so it glows at night. This work was on display for 3 months in a vacant shop front, exhibited alongside Judith and I’s work.

Since 2016 I have been involved with Little Inventors, an organisation working with young people around the world to inspire the next generation of makers by running invention workshops to come up with great ideas, then commissioning real engineers and artists to create prototypes.

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Left: The Rolla Lampa, made in collaboration with Gabriel, aged 8.

Below: Bubble Hat, made in collaboration with Ryan, aged 8.

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In 2018 I managed Set The Sails, a participatory arts programme produced by The Cultural Spring leading up to the arrival of the Tall Ships fleet in 2018. I worked with 2 community groups over 6 months to experiment with techniques of ship building and propulsion, and supported each group to build their own model ships to be displayed in Sunderland city centre in both a Tall Ships parade and an project exhibit. This project was nominated for an Arts Council Award at the Journal and Gazette Culture Awards 2019.

Making clinker-built foy boats using wood laminate

Making clinker-built foy boats using wood laminate

Our Egyptian "reed" boats made from deconstructed table matts

Our Egyptian "reed" boats made from deconstructed table matts

Testing out various sail shapes with a large fan

Testing out various sail shapes with a large fan

Our pop-pop steam boats powered by a tea light

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While the youth group decided to build individual boats from recycled materials working from plans and mood boards they drew up themselves, the church group opted for a more ambitious approach - a 20 foot long viking long boat!

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The St Mark’s group leading their magnificent longboat through Sunderland city centre to the Tall Ship’s parade

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Since 2016 I have been involved with Big Local Gateshead, running participatory arts project large and small across Bensham, Teams, and Dunston. Being enabled to work in my own community has been an enormous driver in my practice and inspired me to seek out more and more work in the area.