So a financial year is over and it's time to review what we've been up to between April 2017 and March 2018 and look ahead to what 2019 may hold...
So here are a few highlights of that year from our CEO Luisa. You can see more highlights in our annual report.
I have been here now for 10 years! We have gone from me having a 2 month contract and not being sure if I can pay staff to what you can see in front of you from the annual report.
We’ve worked with just under 3000 people and almost everyone we work with felt their involvement in our projects increased their confidence, creative skills and a sense of being part of their community.
We continued our Start up programme - supporting people over 50 to start their own projects that we now have another 3 years funding for.
We ran workshops in 5 libraries for children and their families across the Summer - a project which we have repeated this year (You can see the video of 2017 summer here)
And we continued work on our research project with our partners at The University of Sheffield.
Some highlights of the year for me are:
British Legion project.
We received funding from The Royal British Legion to run inter-generational workshops, exploring memories and moments in time that affect us all.
We worked with 30 ex-service men and women from Rotherham Military Community Veterans Centre (MCVC) and 50 young people from Sheffield Sea Cadets.
The groups explored their personal memories in separate sessions and then came together to share their stories.
I attended the exhibition at the end of the project where all the veterans came suited and booted and met the Mayor. They were so proud of their work, all talking about their contributions and the stories that came out when they were creating the piece. They told me that although they meet up every week, this piece of artwork (a joint piece between them all) allowed them to safely discuss their experiences and also share information that was specifically about their regiments.
We also facilitated 10 young people at a local secondary school to create a large portrait of Graham, an ex-service man from WW2. Graham is a hero in every sense (he rang me after the project and asked if I had ever done hot coal walking - he said I should as it's easy!) He came to the exhibition to look at his portrait and four days later we returned to take it down and there he was! He said he had come every day to talk to people about the project and his portrait and had met hundreds of people!
Adullam – Identity Exhibition
We partnered with Adullam, an organisation who support young people with mental health problems with their housing needs, to run a “Mask” themed exhibition exploring the issues of Mental Health and Identity which was showcased at the Winter Garden during Sheffield’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Twenty participants took part in planning, developing and undertaking the project. Many of them reported low confidence and anxiety when meeting other people at the beginning of the project but this improved during the course of the workshops.
Again, I went to the exhibition and spoke to some of the participants. One lady, who said she had never done anything like this before, had gone every week to support the making of the heads. She had not committed to anything for years, as life had been turbulent for her, but described this project as a real booster and joy for her.
Art in a Box
We were commissioned by Sheffield Children’s University to create an 'art box' for schools, which included a 6 week session plan and pack of materials, to enable teachers to run a series of art sessions themselves.
We created 30 boxes for the schools with activities exploring portraiture in different mediums. There were drawing tasks, Pop Art portraits, continuous wire creations, Cubist clay tiles and Warhol inspired printing techniques.
Thirty schools took part in the project and 10 came with their pupils to a final celebration in July 2018 at the Sheffield Institute of Art. One hundred children exhibited their artwork from their projects at school and tried a couple of new techniques on the day.
The schools and the teachers were so enthusiastic! This was the largest number of teachers that had attended a Children's University twilight session and some school that had not engaged with previous CU 'In the box' projects got involved in ours. A local special school very proudly show cased their work on twitter.
We have been running our 'We are maker' project in Firth Park and Burngreave, helping people aged 50+ to develop their own project and share skills with isolated older people in the community.
We have just been successful with an events contract through SYHA where will be running events for over people aged 50+ in Sheffield including a Christmas day event, providing Christmas lunch and entertainment.
We have run a number of creative consultation sessions about the Lakeland area and delivered no less than four 'Festival of the Mind' activities, including our beautiful mouth project.
The future holds lots of exciting changes - an office move, a new staff member (or maybe 2), some time to develop our marketing and communications strategy (due to funding from ACE), lots of events for people over 50 and projects again with Migration Matters, Adullam and Aid Works.
I want to say a huge thank you to our board, volunteers, interns, staff and artists."
- Luisa Golob, CEO Ignite Imaginations
You can read more about the last year in our Annual Report.