Creative responses within C-19s 'Rainbow of Chaos' ...
At the start of the lock-down Articulate was able to quickly move into the digital sphere. We maintained contact with our young people and evolved different perspectives on our projects and services as each day passed.
However, that shift has meant that, at a critical time in our organisational development, we've had to take our eye off the ball in the delivery of our new five-year strategy.
Though we agreed the right ‘here and now’ strategy was to act fast and do whatever it took to stay in touch with our most vulnerable young people this has meant delaying tasks that influence how we want to develop as a national arts charity at the crossroads between creativity and caring. Articulate’s strategy map, has five pillars for our future focus and attention. This includes the arts and creativity as a connector between culture and care, awareness and advocacy, including care experienced children’s rights to the arts and culture plus places and spaces, including digital, where the ability to flourish and thrive is cultivated. It also includes child growth and development, including physical and mental well-being being nurtured plus skills and workforce development for young people, teachers, social workers and artists.
Such a dynamic shift in momentum and circumstances resulted in very different energies around Articulate’s new pillars. Places and spaces became doorstep delivery (we've delivered over 490 Start with Art boxes) and daily digital distractions for our closest young people. Well-being became our individual and collective priority, as did connectivity, communication and holistic care that include approaches to health, to personal growth and to professional development.
In the digital zone, re-appraising our online safeguarding and good practice digital procedures was an underpinning current that required our first and fullest attention.
The adaptations, along with an online safety training challenge for our young people, put us towards the forefront of digital activity in the third sector and have changed how we think of what we do, as well as why and how we do it, forever.
The upside of the situation was that we experienced committed engagement and dynamic and useful relationship-building with a greater number of young people and from further afield than pre-pandemic lock-down levels.
New young people joined us to keep busy, alleviate stress and anxiety, and to take part in purposeful, collaborative and fun creative activities as outlined in our monthly lock-down newsletters Creativity Knows No Quarantine, Fundamental Not Ornamental and Creating Positivity and illustrated in our blogs.
For us the quality and range of the work produced by the young people in lock-down was astonishing. Examples include our North and South exhibition, where the oldest artist was just 12 years old.
The arts, creativity and cultural processes have been pivotal to supporting young people to articulate their thoughts and feelings, express their opinions and enjoy the ability of the arts to connect us, encourage communication and pull us together at a challenging time.
It's such a shame that it took a pandemic for the world to see the value of the arts in our daily lives. Perhaps as lock-down eases, the arts won’t return to the fringes but stay, where they belong, at the centre of our learning and of our purpose as a caring and connected society.
Articulate Cultural Trust
The quote 'We Live in a Rainbow of Chaos’ is from French painter, Paul Cezanne.