Monday, 26 May 2014

Ghostdavandal Originals @Urban Academy

Ghostdavandal Originals @Urban Academy 
Hampton Youth Project & Chapter Way
Date: 26th - 29th June 2014
Location: Hampton & Hanworth, Richmond

Once again the Ghostdavandal Originals Team was out and about delivering creativity and spreading professionalism through our "Customize Ur Life" workshops to the young people of Hampton and Hanworth last week.  
Customisation enables us to create, improve or personalise an identity, bringing out the best from our own interests, goals, likes, dislikes, attributes etc that make up a character.
Each character can be encouraged to realise the process,
We had a amazing opportunity representing Flip The Script for The Urban Academy workshops, which are run by RHP (Richmond Housing Project) in engaging Young People of Hanworth and Hampton in transformative workshops based on creativity and celebration.  We were welcomed by Urban Academy's lead worker, Corey Clarke, who was our contact for the week. 

Our first appointment was at a Youth Club in a small local Community Centre in Chapter way, Hanworth near a travellers site.  The Young People there welcomed us and showed initiative in getting involved and were definitely not shy in communicating how they felt or what they felt. This was a lively bunch whom weremore than willing to throw themselves into any of the activities we had set out for them! For the day we had set out activities such as T-shirt customisation, Mural painting and canvas painting for the young people.

Day One began with introductions and after staff members outlined what was expected of them.  The young people were briefed on the activities and began with colouring, as a way to introduce different techniques used in colouring images. Some young people used paints and brushes and some (who where younger or not so confident used markers and paint pens) who didn't have the confidence used colouring pens. Young people understood that using techniques such as hand strokes when painting helped them in keeping within the lines, maintaining a neat visual look towards their work that they could be proud of.  Another fun part of this stage was the use of different colours to express feeling, some young people chose really bright colours and were also encouraged to try a range of different colours.

The second activity was based on their ideas. We needed each young person to write a list of their favourites, interests, characteristics, attributes etc...then narrow down to maybe 3 and use them as symbols or characters. This enabled the young person to visualise their ideas and possibly create a new identity or image. To begin with it was challenging to the young people but once they noticed that even the staff had to do the activity as well they began to participate and engage.  Most people complain that they can't draw but this stage allows anyone to illustrate using marks, lines, shapes and symbols to represent their favourites.  This exploration stage helps to plan and arrange ideas on a page that makes it easy for young people to expand on the idea afterwards.

The next stage involved preparing their image by technical and creative ways such as mirroring, cutting and pasting. The young people began prepping their ideas on paper to create a draft that they could copy or manipulate onto canvas once they had mocked their idea and tested it using different colours, shapes, strokes and sizes.  Once they where happy with their designs they moved onto canvas.

The results were amazing with the young people responding and showing their understanding of the process. Some colourful canvases were created and with some carrying on their personal ideas for future use.
Day two was a lot easier to engage with young people and this time they brought some friends with them. We carried on with the activities from the previous day but concentrated on a group mural that would hang in the centre for the young people. The mural was designed using all the young peoples ideas and merged into one image that all assisted in colouring in using paint pens. This activity was based on group participation and engagement, collaborating individual ideas into one which produced an amazing piece of collaborative piece of artwork that will hang in the youth club as a celebration of their achievements.

Hampton Youth Project
Our second appointment was held at The Hampton Youth Project. The day was an event organised by RHP (Richmond Housing Project) and we were representing Flip The Script in engaging young people in customising tshirts and mural painting (which are based on learning transferable life skills for self development in young people) . The event was free for young people and based on finding work opportunities, offering digital support and money saving tips and also to offer information in what's happening in the local area, so it was a fitting occasion for us to engage with local young people.
As the day began small groups of young people with their parents started to flow in to the venue and walked around the hall and exhibits by local organisations and groups associated with the offering support to young people and the community at large. 

We were located in a separate room that had enough space for the young people to freely move about and engage in either the Tshirt customisation, mural painting or the crafts stall (that was situated next to our stall).  All young people that wanted to customise tshirts were required to sign up to the Urban Academy Workshops first then were handed a tshirt to customise with ideas of their own choice. The young people were taken through the professional, technical and creative paces of customisation which included learning the importance of : 1. Exploration
2. Planning
3. Preparation
4. Execution
Firstly, the young people had to draft their ideas on paper. Listing all their favourite interests, items and ideas. Secondly to illustrate or symbolise their ideas in simple drawings, marks or pattern. The third step was to consider what methods were best suited to apply their design onto a T-shirt ie spray, draw or print. To then paint their personal ideas, story or mark (tag name, favourite symbol etc) was fun and engaging for the young people, with some of them getting really excited to be customising their own tshirt. The young people had plenty of ideas and in a matter of hours our stall was surrounded by young people all busy and concentrating on their draft ideas, mural painting or customising their T-shirts.
The young people produced some creative and colourful T-shirt designs that reflected their interests, ideas and favourites and the fact that they had customised the tees themselves showed in their enthusiasm and appreciation. The young people were proud of their achievements and wore their tshirts once they were dry. Before long we had run out of tshirts and were the busiest stall on the day stealing all the attention the young people had for the other stalls!

As a team we thoroughly enjoyed working with Urban Academy and inspiring the young people of Richmond and Hampton in creative workshops and sincerely hope that they took away with them creative, professional and technical life skills through customisation and understanding the processes that enable them to customize and influence their lifestyles.

Special thanks to everyone who came along to the workshops and participated in activities and contributed in making sure that the activities went accordingly, Corey Clarke from Urban Academy, the RHP staff, Dee from Flip The Script, Rajan Mahoon, Dawn Sluman, Aman Mahoon and Marvin Hagglar Mudzongo from the Ghostdavandal Team.


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