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We Are All Makers

‘We are All Makers’ was specifically designed for adults who had not had the chance to realise their creative ambitions due to barriers in their lives.

15 participants, joined  our pilot programme in November 2021. The barriers participants had faced were extensive such as physical and mental health, housing, economic status and low confidence.

“I have never heard of a course like this unless it was a college course, which wasn’t an option for me”

(Female Participant, aged 30-35).

We delivered two 9-month programmes that ran parallel to one another, a day and night course to suit various needs. The project was threefold: Creative Skills Development, Projects and Placements including one to one mentoring and Celebration and Legacy.

Creative Skills Development included weekly imaginative workshops giving participants tasters into visual and performance arts. In addition, marketing, budgeting and facilitation skills were built in to equip participants before delivering their own bespoke project. By the end, 100% participants had expanded their skills to include ‘decision-making’ or ‘leadership’ skills opposed to the 33% at mid-way point.

The Project and Placements stage successfully enabled participants to create and realise a project for a community that matters to them.

A successful aspect and something new to Ignite Imaginations organisationally was the tailored approach offered to each person. Participants were matched with a highly qualified artist facilitator from Ignite’s pool, who offered support at some weekly sessions, one to one mentoring and on-the-day support for the final delivery of the project/placement. On top of that many participants were also matched with partner organisations and other local creatives to successfully deliver their final project. This included a number of award-winning freelance artists and local community and charity organisations.

Projects and placements included commissioning new ongoing weekly arts clubs, exhibitions of original artwork, closed creative workshops for targeted groups, online workshops, writing workshops, willow weaving and costume design. The projects devised by participants reached new and different audiences that Ignite would have previously struggled to reach; approx 285 people attended in-person events as part of the project.

Ignite hosted a celebration event that brought artist mentors and participants together to collectively celebrate and appreciate the variety and diversity of the achievements in the project, which included a certificate presentation welcomed by participants.

Additionally, a legacy fund offered to participants to ensure successful continuation of some of the new commissions and experiences beyond the end of the project.

“I am intrigued by the fact, I managed to do my intended projects, I would like to thank you all for inspiring and support me. Your help and support is the result of my success. I hope and wish I have you made you proud. Thanks again. Last but not least, I am looking forward working with you.”

(Female Participant aged 55+)

90% participants who completed the course have attested that participating in the course has changed their life or been ‘life-changing’ to lesser and greater extents. At the celebration event there was an overwhelming sense of achievement, with one participant stating “who would have thought I would be getting a certificate at 60”.

Ignite has trained 7 of the participants to become paid Workshop Assistants for Ignite’s future work, with 2 of the newly recruited Workshop Assistants already working this Summer. Initiating the Workshop Assistant pool at Ignite has allowed more detailed exploration of progression through the organisation. It is also hugely successful to have such a diverse group of people (age, race, gender etc.) as Workshop Assistants, who are much more representative of the people that are attending Ignite’s workshops usually.

5 participants are continuing the relationship with Ignite through volunteering as part of Ignite’s Creative Community. The group champions Ignite’s work and are the voice of the participants in co-designing future projects at Ignite.

2 Arts and Crafts Club are continuing to run and other funding will be sought by participants for future versions after that. Exhibition spaces have been agreed at venues for a few participants for their original artwork to continue to be showcased.

Some participant proudest moments include “learning to film making a program to put online” (Female participant, 65 years +) and “being able to work with the community I love (Female participant, 50-65 years) being selected to have original prints showcased alongside other long-standing artists in Sheffield.

“This is my first delivery of own project as well that helped me a lot and will never be forgotten! Thanks again for all the support you gave to me.”

(Female participant, 19-25 years)

“It [exhibition of mine] has had the highest profile- and I have had far better reactions to this than anything else - mainly because people in my community got to see themselves. Other exhibitions no-one knew they were paintings. Two people have felt quite emotional when seeing my artwork - I was expecting the normal 'Oh they are quite good'. Amazed. It is Amazing"

(Male Participant, 50 years +)

Participant Films
Charlotte's Story
Diane's Story
Aisha's Story
Agata's Story
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