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Getting creative in the community with the HaVeN (Hearing Voices Network Dundee)

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19 October 2017

DCA Learning team has recently been working with participants from the HaVeN (Hearing Voices Network Dundee) as part of an intensive print residency project. This was sparked through the Learning team's programme of creative activities in the community, delivering workshops and experiences across Stobswell and the Hilltown and working with venues such as Dundee International Women’s Centre, The MAXwell Centre, Hilltown Park, Boomerang No. 1 Youth Café and Arthurstone Library.

“Rewarding is the word I’ve been looking for. You felt like you’d achieved something.”

This three week project took place in the HaVeN, a charitable organisation based in the Hilltown that aims to provide adults who hear voices with a non-judgmental safe haven to visit, and access to support and activities which aid in the recovery process. The Learning team were based in the HaVeN’s creative space and supported a group of adults who, through drop-in workshops, were introduced to different print techniques: lino-cutting, mono printing, screen printing and riso printing. As well as creating their own artwork in the HaVeN, participants also visited DCA’s Print Studio to transform their risograph designs into prints.

Here's a selection of the group’s comments about the process:

"We explored creativity, since we tried different activities and we were able to see what else we could do."

"I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like this before. I think I’d do even better next time. I enjoyed learning something new."

"Sometimes we were teaching each other the different parts."

"It’s nice to come to HaVeN to have a coffee, chill and chat but projects like this actually join people together when you’re learning."

"There was a bonding aspect to the workshops; we were chatting and laughing at little mistakes we’d made."

"I liked just seeing the same person from DCA coming back for every workshop, making that connection."

"I really like this group of people. I feel like now I can go up to anyone and say hi to people that I’d never chatted to before the workshops."

After the group had produced a variety of prints they then installed a display of their artwork facing outwards on the glass walls of Baxter Park Ranger Centre. Participants also joined the DCA Learning team to deliver print activities open to the public as part of the large-scale Celebration in the Park event. As well as seeing their work displayed, they were able to teach families visiting the busy event using their own designs to print and to share the different techniques learned during the project.

The group gained a great deal from putting on a public display and by sharing their learning with others; by doing something challenging with the skills they had acquired:

"It was great hearing everyone asking people about the work they’d made and we were getting feedback on our work straight from the public"

"It’s alright doing a project like this and putting up a display in the HaVeN where everyone knows you, but with the exhibition in Baxter Park you had people who didn’t know you seeing your work. It was scary putting it on display but it’s something that you have to do and in the end you do really get something out of it."

"I thought seeing all the work up on display, comparing it all and seeing my own work up there too was just amazing."

"There was an end result with the exhibition, so that was like the icing on the cake, as well as the workshops here. It was shown to the public so that was an attraction and drew us in."

Rob Burns, HaVeN Manager, said:

"The print residency has been really successful in engaging the participants to explore their abilities and feel proud of their achievements. All participants have demonstrated some excellent artistic abilities that they did not realise they had. The print residency also allowed participants to go out into the community and be part of a town event, displaying their work and teaching others the methods of print they learned. This really helps to remove the stigma around voice hearing and will eventually lead to complete acceptance. This project has brought passion out of each participant which has helped us to support our aim to see our members thrive."

"This project has brought passion out of each participant which has helped us to support our aim to see our members thrive."

"The overwhelming value of this project is that our members enjoyed the experience and would like to develop their skills further. Most of our projects are short lived and perhaps forgotten about shortly after participating. This project seems to have left an impression on the participants. We have had requests for more training in this field, to lead activity groups with the skills they have learnt and more participants in other HaVeN activities."

Following Celebration in the Park, a selection of the group’s work is now displayed in the HaVeN space and participants are keen to continue sharing their creative skills. We look forward to welcoming them to DCA soon when they will join us for a tour and visit our current exhibition!      

Find out more about the HaVeN online here and on Facebook

Find out more DCA Learning.

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