Case Studies

Art Space - Acorns Childrens Hospice, Walsall

  • Artist(s):
    Bruce Tetlow, Paul Rogerson, Heather Wastie, Amy Hirst, Sally Harper, Claudette Chambers
  • Artform(s):
    Movemet/Performance, Music, Soundbeam, Story telling, Visual Arts, Circus skills
  • Commissioner(s):
    Acorns Children's Hospice, Walsall
  • Funder(s):
    Department of Health
  • Venue(s):
    Acorns Children's Hospice, Walsall
  • Duration:
    May 2010 - October 2011
Summary:

Walsall Creative Development Team developed a project to enhance opportunities for delivering bespoke sensory experiences for a target group of children and young people.

 

 

Project Information

Acorns Children’s Hospice through a successful bid to the Department of Health secured funding to support new children and young people’s palliative care projects in 2010 - 11. Walsall Creative Development Team developed a project to enhance and extend opportunities for delivering bespoke sensory experiences for a target group of children and young people.

Six artists were commissioned to deliver three half day taster arts sessions with young people booked into respite care. Workshops focused on giving young people with non verbal communication opportunities for sensory experiences and finding ways to help them express themselves.

Arts Space focused on giving young people with non verbal communication opportunities for movement, sensory experiences and finding ways to help them express themselves. Taster sessions and artist residencies were developed with young people at the centre of the creative experience and artists responded to their engagement to the creative process to best elicit interaction, and response. The range of light, sound and movement based sensory experiences offered opportunities for participants to lead the direction of the workshops through the sensitivities and skills of the artists exploring cause and effect together. Everyone – young people and their families, artists and hospice staff were invited to a sharing and celebration event.

The project was designed to specifically engage the target group of young people who due to their conditions more than often have decisions around their care and social activities decided for them. They were unable to have an active role in decision making and planning for the project. To help select the artists and art forms for the initial taster sessions thoughts and ideas were gathered from hospice staff and a wider cohort of children and young people accessing respite care.

Taster Session Artists:
Bruce Tetlow (Movement/ performance artist)
Paul Rogerson (Musician)
Heather Wastie (Soundbeam artist)
Amy Hurst (Story teller)
Sally Harper (Visual artist)
Claudette Chambers (Circus skills)

Artist Residence Artists:
Bruce and Paul Rogerson were additionally commissioned to deliver extended artist residencies in music and movement.

Paul Lacey (Website designer) was commissioned to develop an online toolkit with Creative Development Team. Arts Space website.

Individual workshops were tailored to the participants attending the session. These were either facilitated one to one or in very small groups with support form the hospice adolescent development workers. In the artist residencies activities were adapted to how young people responded to the lights, sounds/pitch, textures and movement. Observation and evaluation between the artists and support staff at the end of each session helped reflect on how the young people had engaged with the creative process and this helped inform any future workshops the young people had the opportunity to take part in.

The impact of the project:

For children and young people:
The project provided new meaningful and creative experiences for them whilst in respite care. Artists and staff observed participants purposefully interacting and communicating with them through methods of repetition, echoing and creatively exploring cause and effect. Staff commented on expression and positive responses that they had not seen before from the young people.

For hospice staff:
The project provided opportunities to develop hospice staff and volunteers arts skills and participate in creative and fun activities alongside the young people, and receive training in facilitation of ‘Khorus’ a technology based music product.

For Acorns:
Enrich the setting with more arts activities, art work and increased arts presence within the hospice. Engagement of families and carers. Wider links with artists and art organizations. Creative toolkits and products to support sustainability.

Documentation film uploaded on the home page: http://www.arts-space-acorns.co.uk/

"We have seen lots of interaction we’ve not seen before. Non communicative children have been purposefully interacting to get what they want through the movement and colours (on Khorus)” Carmel Forrest – Deputy Head Nurse

We discovered things about them (the young people) we would never have known. Such as one boy who can’t speak at all but who could sing in pitch with one of the sounds being made” Valerie Boswell – Project Co-ordinator/ Adolescent Development Worker

Stuart enjoyed recording his own voice, hearing that back and triggering it himself. He can vocalise noises but is not able to verbalise….he could mimic the vocal arrangement tone for tone and pitch perfect….we got him singing by the end of the session” Paul Rogerson (Sound and music artist)

“The project has been very worthwhile and could be extended to other hospices” Valerie Bonsall – Project Co-ordinator/ Adolescent Development Worker

 

Gallery