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.
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.
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.
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.
Left: The Rolla Lampa, made in collaboration with Gabriel, aged 8.
Below: Bubble Hat, made in collaboration with Ryan, aged 8.
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.
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!
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.