ACE is ace!
The Arts Council England has granted Arty-Folks a Covid Emergency Support grant that will help us increase our digital capabilities and adapt our Art as Therapy programme to social distancing measures.
Initially, like most people on this planet, we were stunned and couldn’t fathom how we could possibly carry on the work we do with our members. But, since we went into lockdown on 23rd of April, we have worked hard to recreate a sense of belonging and community in a digital space.
We have been running weekly art projects via Skype with our members and to our surprise it’s been more effective than we ever thought possible. Our members are now more connected with each other and the sense of community is stronger than ever before. And additionally, we are now more able to support people who cannot leave the house because they have to continue self-isolating or because of mental ill health.
Still, we felt that we should be able to use the digital space more and better, and also explore different ways to support our members on the recovery journey. With this Arts Council England grant we can now finally replace our ancient laptops that were bought in 2009 and that are now frustrating our staff team Lorella, Liz, Laura and Fiona who are working from home. We can now also pay for specialist digital training that will help us build the skills and confidence of our team of staff and volunteers.
We are so excited to start our training with the Fabularium Theatre Company who will show us how they run workshops using Zoom and how they engage audiences. Joshua and Gareth gave our staff Liz and Lorella a little introduction which was just hilarious! Bless them, they wanted to show us how to do a ‘Mexican wave’ on Zoom which turned into wild flailing and could be described as an ‘English wobble’ at best. But see for yourself!
The Fabularium will also run a workshop with our members in a SuperZoom and we just can’t wait for this! One thing is for sure, it will be so much fun! And right now more than ever we do need a good laugh.
To find out more about their work visit https://fabularium.co.uk/
Moving forward, we will certainly continue providing online workshops as part of our new ‘normal’ but quite frankly, being in a Zoom we don’t believe will ever be able to replace being in a Room. We ‘arty’ people like to use our hands to make weird and wonderful things with any material that is available around us.
At Arty-Folks in particular we create to communicate our internal worlds and connect to like-minded people and this requires us being in the same room, in physical proximity of each other. We believe that only by sharing in-person the same physical space can we bridge that existential sense of alone-ness and fear of uncertainty that Covid19 is forcing us all to confront.