Monday, 17 January 2011


The Bubble Project: working with Young Carers in Warrington.

On Saturday, Phil and I started the first of 5 workshops for The Bubble Project, at Warrington Art Gallery and Museum. We had a small but perfectly formed group of young people join us for an assortment of art and writing activities around the theme of Street Art and the current exhibition in the Art Gallery. After a facilitating guided tour of Elbow Toe's exhibition from Derek Dick, everyone had an opportunity to try out a variety of activities including poetry writing, trainer customising, making collage materials, contributing to a record breaking long poem and drawing, and life size portraits. The surprise hit of the day was using the spray diffusers with the brusho ink. There was something so transfixing about watching the inks moving across the page and the colours mixing and blending in unexpected ways. There's something freeing about covering a page with colour and shape without using a paint brush or pencil, it takes the fear out of the blank white page.

The size of the group allowed us to get to know each other faster, and for the quieter, shyer children to have space to come out of their shell in a way that may not have happened so easily if they had been lost in a larger group. There wasn't much talk about their roles as carers, it seemed more natural to simply enjoy the time, space and freedom to get on with something creative, to forget any troubles at home, to enjoy exploring materials, colour and words as any other child might.

I'm really looking forward to next week, they are a wonderful group to work with. Next week we develop the life size portraits further, and introduce the technique of collage.

A big thanks to all our helpers, Ann who has had the role of a carer herself and in turn been cared for, enthusiastically cheered on the children and enjoying having a go herself. Louise quietly got on with activities and encouraged others to do the same. Jamie from the Youth Federation came in and combined a burst of energy with working sensitively with the children. Melanie freely shared many creative ideas and helped to make the children feel relaxed and welcomed. And a thanks to the parents and staff at Hayfield Primary, who have been collecting un-wanted trainers for customising.


everyone has different foundations
of love and hate
family traditions
my grandma’s cup of tea
Quality Street from my mum
dad the cornerstone
it’s different the ways you grow
tho when you’re going through you don’t understand
experience is difference
eating hot choc fudge cake is different to
Pringles sour cream and onion
or stopping a punch
just like every family is different to every

and every everyone has different
love and hate come one+two together
when you’re a carer
you’ve got to grow tall quicker
build your own confidence
get all your homework done
get injured, lose trust, lose your pet rabbit
go to a concert and be a rock n roll star
drink from the well of rage
go exploring
the tranquillity of solitude
go and look at the biggest trees
you’ve ever seen

each has different foundations.

(group poem)

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