Following on from my AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship at the University of Sunderland, I have joined the University’s Enterprise Place start-up support scheme to develop my socially-engaged ceramics practice.
Addressing the NHS’s ‘Five steps to mental wellbeing’ and the Government’s recent Culture White Paper, the Fellowship aimed to investigate how an engagement with creativity and making might promote a sense of wellbeing by encouraging social interaction and active participation in the learning of new skills. As part of this, I developed a ceramics workshop programme for clients of Forward Assist, a leading charity supporting military veterans in north east England. These workshops were held in association with the National Glass Centre. Alongside this, I have been working as an artist associate of Equal Arts’ Hen Power Project, where I have been using clay and ceramics as a way to engage people suffering from dementia in residential centres in the North East.
These experiences of working with clay in a community setting have inspired me to explore this aspect of my practice as a socially engaged business and I will now be trading as Community in Clay.
|Alan and Colin of Forward Assist applying decals to their fired ceramic works.|