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Sheffield Healthy Holidays: 
Young Artists Open Exhibtion

Healthy Holidays Workshops

Summer 2023

Over 900 children and young people were reached over the Summer Holidays at Ignite Imaginations 49 workshops delivered as part of the HAF programme. Ignite Imaginations connected with 10 partners; partners were primarily schools but also included Firvale Community Hub and Jamia Masjid Mosque. The workshops reached into wards including Shiregreen, Burngreave, Lowfield and Sharrow.

The workshops were delivered by 14 highly qualified artists, supported by a team of excellent workshop assistants. Participants were offered workshops in a variety of visual arts and dance including collage techniques, printmaking, cardboard sculptures, drawing using natural resources, mandalas, zentangles, create your own suncatchers, Contemporary and Indian dance.


Overall, the sessions were a fantastic success. Anecdotally participants fed back in sessions that they enjoyed learning new things and wanted to be able to do more of the creative activities that were offered in the future. At Whiteways primary school, one young girl who spoke limited English said;

 "I love art. It makes me feel happy but at home I don’t have anything like this.”

Artwork from Ignite Imaginations summer workshops (5).jpg

Nearly 100% artists fed back that the participants increased or developed their ‘confidence’, ‘communication’, ‘arts and crafts’ and ‘creativity’ skills. Nearly all artists also agreed that that children and young people had also improved their ‘decision making’ skills too.

The artist delivering at Gleadless Primary School and the teacher supporting the workshop both remarked on the importance of the workshops for particular pupils:

“The project leader shared how thrilled they were that all the children participated in the art activities we provided. Two in particular who have EHCP were not expected to be able to join in, but they did, and both produced a finished piece of art.”

(Artist, Gleadless Primary School)

“We had multiple pupils with EHCPs take part. One of these pupils has an ABI [Acquired Brain Injury] and can really struggle to access tasks with multiple steps and can become very frustrated if she makes mistakes, but she participated so well and loved the session. Another pupil (also with an EHCP) hates art and usually refuses, but joined in for the full day.”

(Teacher, Gleadless Primary School)

Over 95% artists agreed that the workshops had benefitted participants wellbeing.


“[A] Staff member commented on how positive it is for the children to be involved in the project, stating that many live in flats and may be stuck indoors otherwise, particularly in the wet weather.”

(Artist, Sharrow Primary School)

Staff and teachers commented on how positive it was to see children and young people take on responsibilities at the sessions and support one another. Artists reiterated this in their formal evaluations:


“I showed a child how to attach their characters to the bottom of the circus mobile and two others were waiting for my help so I asked the first child to help one of them. She led the child back to their table and helped her to stick string to the back of the characters and the other ends to the circus. She was really encouraging and both managed to complete their mobiles.”

 (Artist, Malin Bridge Primary School)

An additional layer to the project was the week-long city-wide exhibition, ‘Young Artists Open Exhibition’ held in The Winter Gardens. The exhibition was an opportunity to bring together the artworks created in the workshops alongside artworks submitted from individuals, aged 5-19 years old from across Sheffield.

The opportunity to be displayed was welcomed by enthusiastic children and young people.


“Some of the students felt very proud that their work will be shown in the Winter Gardens art exhibition in town - this gave them a sense of achievement.”

(Artist, Sharrow Primary School)

Young Artists Open Exhibition


Over 90 artworks were submitted by approximately 67 children. The open brief for children enabled a vibrant and eclectic set of artworks ranging from paper sculpture ‘Guinea Pig: a playground for guinea pigs’ made by a 4 year old to ‘Stacked Chairs’, an A3 black and white canvas by a 17 year old. Multiple individuals when dropping off their artwork remarked that this had given them the opportunity to try working with a different medium to usual, acrylics were a particularly popular new medium of choice.

On seeing their own artwork at the exhibition, children and their families stated that they were “proud” and it was “an amazing experience” to be part of a public display;

“We really valued seeing the variety of work and creativity of the children”.


As part of the exhibition week, Ignite Imaginations held two full activity days for children and their families to participate in. The activity days included multiple visual arts workshops delivered by Ignite Imaginations artists in silk-making, clay tiles, graffiti mugs and more. Circus demonstrations by Greentop Community Circus Centre and dance workshops by Surge Dance Sheffield and Rhythmix dance group. The activity days were open to the public and available to drop in however families who received free school meals could book through eventbrite in order to secure children a free lunch whilst at the activity days.  Approximately 300 children participated in activities across the two days with 102 children taking advantage of the free lunch. A partnership with City of Sanctuary was also developed; hold a number of free lunches for children from families who are refugees or seeking asylum without having to engage with the eventbrite booking process which was a significant barrier for those families.

It is estimated that over 2000 members of the public will have engaged with the exhibition across the week. It is clear from the guest book comments the exhibition’s presence genuinely made a difference to people:

“Unbelievable work by these young people – budding artists in the making.”

“How wonderful to see what incredibly imaginative results from children being given the opportunity. Art/drama/music are all being squeezed out of the school curriculum.”


“The children whose beautiful creations are displayed here should be congratulated - not just for their efforts but particularly for the enormous pleasure they have given me (I am 90!)”

“This is a fantastic exhibition. I am hugely impressed by the talent and imagination of these young artists. Not only the art but the words and sentiments of these young people give me hope for the future.”

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