Today the morning session was split into 2 activities; ‘Story Pictionary’ and ‘Collaborative Stories’. The first activity was where in pairs, the group drew images from a story they liked (or a made up one) and then the rest of the group had to guess which story it was. We had a big range, from Shrek to The Gruffalo to a made up story about a Fireman saving a burning pub from destruction. Working in pairs was a real success: it integrated the art staff and support workers into the activities, as opposed to being awkward bystanders which can sometimes happen. It also was a new way of approaching the work made in class as I now had part of the creative control, and as a result was less worried about cramping the participants’ style. Collaborative stories was when each pair chose an story and drew the first ‘scene’ or ‘event’ from that story on a piece of paper. The papers where passed around the group clockwise, and on this second sheet of paper was drawn the second ‘scene’ of the story. This resulted in a number of collaborative mix-mashed stories with images from lots of different narratives. I feel that introducing collaboration into drawing and painting work is really valuable, as these can often been labelled as solo activities. I would be interested to see what would happen if instead of service users and support workers paring up together, there were some pairs of just support workers or service users. Mixing things up this way might be a total disaster, but I think collaboration is an amazing opportunity when you’re creating something. Even if it’s not the easiest thing to negotiate, it can often to lead to a lot of learning both about the art and other fundamental skills surrounding teamwork.
Towards the end of the session one of the participants began to explore a mixture of materials with Theresa. I really enjoyed the way he interacted with the materials, not just noticing the way they marked the page, but also the sounds, the way he had to move to use the material and the residue it left on his hands. This is an interaction with materials that i find utterly inspiring; it reminded me of previous work I’d done with Grace Sermon as well as the work of Karla Black. I am currently developing a durational, interactive performance entitled “A Collection of Satisfactions” that aim to get people engaging with materials in the observant and joyful way. I also noticed that The participant used not one dominant hand, but both hands separately and together. This is something I want to try in my visual arts practice – what is it to forget all the training we’ve put our dominant hands through at school, in art classes, even in dance classes when we always have a preferred side? It feels like an opportunity for freedom. When learning to juggle it was explained to me that often our non-dominant hand learns the technique faster as the dominant tries to over-complicate everything. Here’s to engaging in performance with a non-dominant hand approach!