Case Studies

It's Good To Be You Artist Residencies

  • Artist(s):
    Richard Franks and Laura Hickman
  • Artform(s):
    2D & 3D design, Graphics, Textiles and Mixed Media
  • Commissioner(s):
    NHS Dudley and Dudley Association of Governing Bodies
  • Funder(s):
    NHS Dudley and Dudley Association of Governing Bodies
  • Venue(s):
    Bromley-Pensnett Primary School and Hillcrest School & Community College
  • Duration:
    February - September 2012
  • Health Need(s):
    Positive Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing
It’s Good To Be You Artist Residencies promoted emotional wellbeing and mental health to children and young people through visual art projects.

Project Information

It’s Good To Be You Artist Residencies provided a unique opportunity for a primary and secondary schools to promote emotional wellbeing and mental health to children and young people through a visual art project delivered by experienced, professional artists.

Its Good To Be You (IGTBY) is an arts and health project by NHS Dudley and praXis that has previously worked with Dudley schools to plan, design and create artworks for their school with artists, focusing on key emotional health and wellbeing messages. Click here to read more about the original project.

Bromley-Pensnett Primary School
Artist Laura Hickman works with textiles, plastics and other materials to create public art works. Laura worked with a group of twelve children from Bromley-Pensnett Primary School, aged 8 – 11 years, exploring the IGTBY health and wellbeing message Do Something Different and Learn a New Skill. The children were identified as a target group for the project because of similar gaps in their PSHE needs due to home or personal circumstances.

Based on their own ideas and thoughts, the children worked with Laura to produce a large, ambitious textile piece working with felt and plastic and using design and patterning techniques. The final piece was made up of the children’s individual works and work that they’d produced as a group. The children had to acquire a range of new skills to make the work including felt-making which none of the children had tried before. The entire school will be able to enjoy the final piece of work, and generate further artworks using the techniques and skills from the workshops with Laura.

When I do this I feel calm and I feel more confident in what I’m doing.
I feel confident and want to do more, carry on forever!
Don’t let problems get in your way, have a go anyway.
Good things come from not giving up and taking a chance on something new

Hillcrest School and Community College
Artist Richard Franks works in a range of artforms and media including graphic design, contemporary fine art, illustration, installation and urban art. Richard worked with a group of eight vulnerable female pupils aged 13 – 14 years, exploring the health and wellbeing message You Are Unique which concentrated on having the strength and confidence to be yourself. The pupils taking part in the project had been identified by the school’s pastoral team as vulnerable and having difficulty with friendships and communication problems. The project was seen as very positive way to allow these pupils to express their ideas and to give them a voice.

An important aspect of the workshops involved the participants taking ownership of the project from the beginning and working together to make key decisions about the work including its location, the materials to be used, the size and the budget. Each participant selected and fulfilled a different role on the project including Project Manager, Art Director, Lead Artists, Creative Writer and Documenter. Through their workshops with Richard, the group created a large contemporary mural piece to be displayed in the new build area of Hillcrest School. The work took a mixed media approach and includes 2D and 3D craft alongside digital photography, model making, set design and graphic design.

A key focus of the project was for it to be of benefit to the rest of the school. The group consulted the rest of the school during their decision-making process as a means of involving them and valuing their opinion and input. The positive messages within the work will remind pupils, staff and visitors of their own individuality and reinforce the importance of diversity within the school and wider community.

What do you think this piece of artwork will do for the pupils in our school?
Make the kids feel better about themselves.
Make them realise you don’t have to change to fit in.
Encourage kids to achieve their best.
It will show them don’t be scared to be unique, you can do whatever you want to.

Photo credits: All Hillcrest School (HC) taken by project participants.