Charity New Visuality’s ‘Creative Camp’, an offshoot of their award-winning Art Camp and funded by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), is nearing the end of its first phase of art workshops and digital displays.
Says Director Greg McGee, “The funding came at just the right time and allowed us not only to focus on the widest group of disadvantaged children, but also allowed us to develop our outreach. Art Camp is a great building block, but it was the funding that helped ‘Creative Camp’, a series of art sessions which drew on the creativity of children, to really blossom.”
New Visuality is, as its name suggests, primarily committed to developing visual art experiences for marginalized people, and so Creative Camp was a chance for the charity to broaden its parameters. The sessions began in June 2016 and creativity has since then come in many guises: poetry, illustration, 3D prints, photoshop, Lightroom and even gaming and coding.
“It’s fair to say that JRF has facilitated something that we have been trying to harness for years, but haven’t quite managed. The diversity of skills has been mindblowing, but what we’ve been able to do in Creative Camp is distill the diversity down into a digital product, whether that’s 3D prints or digital projection,” says Alaa.
Jess Meyer, one of the Creative Camp participants is delighted with how she has seen her work flourish. “I’ve loved learning new skills, and have loved working at the new locations Creative Camp has sourced.” Some of the studios include gallery According to McGee, English Martyr’s Church Hall, and Acomb Green’s Quaker Meeting House – the variation of the studios meant that the widest range of young people were reached, especially in areas which at times experience negative stereotypes.
Councillor Keith Myers was happy to see Creative Camp take an important role in the annual ADAM (Acomb Dance Art Music) Festival: "Once again New Visuality displayed to the residents of Acomb the work they in the community working with children with learning and physical disabilities. The Adam team appreciate the time and effort needed to bring the work to the Quaker Meeting rooms and it is quite evident from the feedback we get that the Adam Festival wouldn’t be the same without Creative Camp.”
Father John Bane, Parish Priest of Holgate’s English Martyr’s says, “It was great to see so many children attend who, for economic reasons, may not have managed to make it.”
The artwork created initially sold well as comic strips and posters, and it is currently being rendered into 3D Prints by Thirsk based Go Print 3D. "It’s a very exciting development, and it’s great to see work doodled one day by a young person at an easel being printed as a 3D prototype," says Greg. So successful is this aspect of the project that New Visuality will fund the hiring of the latest in technical kit, the Flashforge Finder, to continue to print versions of the young artists’ work in late ‘16 and early ‘17.
Greg is grateful for the involvement of who he considers to be the ‘digital champions’ of the community. "It’s great that so many young people are tech-savvy, but it’s another thing altogether for them to so confidently share their skills with other young people. Special shout out has to go to our Creative Camp ambassadors Arran Leith and Millthorpe School’s Joshua Haddock who spent a day advising our young artists on how to transform their artwork into games."
Joshua has been working with New Visuality since winning a brace of prizes at City of York Council’s ‘Upload Live’, a workshop that explored new ways of digitally transforming existing ideas. "He really led his group into some very exciting concepts. It’s funny, people are constantly asking, ‘what does digital transformation mean?’ - spend an hour listening to Joshua’s ideas on how to transform traditional illustrations, drawn with felt pens, into animations that can be projected into the night and then how to gameify that into an immersive experience makes everything ot only a lot clearer, but a whole lot more exciting.”
Joshua Haddock is happy to lead a team of young people into gaming their own work: "Gaming is a great way to interact with technology and being able to integrate your own character creation into one is a great incentive." The games were displayed alongside the animations and slideshow of comic strips during Illuminating York.
Greg is looking forward to taking teams of young people into schools and youth clubs as ambassadors for the skills learned from the Creative Camp experience. “We’re working closely with York’s Creative Learning Partnerships and feeding our findings into the forthcoming Northern Cultural Education Symposium. It’s a simple message. Sharing ownership of our communities with young people via storytelling and digital innovation isn’t just about soundbites, it can actually make a difference. We’ve had young people coming who hadn’t been out of their house for 5 weekends in a row, we have Creative Ambassadors, there are young people achieving Arts Awards at Bronze and Silver Level. Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s funding made it happen, but it’s the young people who are now carrying the torch. And that’s the definition of a job well done as far as I’m concerned.”Joseph Rowntree Foundation