We’re still in the experimentation stage at the moment2 min read

// Alice Eaves

// Alice Eaves

YDF24

Art classes throughout my time at school didn’t emphasise developing skills if you had a natural ability, it was kind of up to you to develop your skills independently. I thought when it came to GCSE and A-level art qualifications this would change, but again I found it was limited to foundational tools such as pencils and acrylic paint. I struggled to work to the criteria of the school syllabus as I couldn’t explain the processes I had utilised to make my work. It was only when I went back to complete a higher education course during the pandemic that I was talked through artistic processes and encouraged to experiment with mediums such as printmaking, digital art, and ceramics.

The diploma course completely changed my attitude toward creative practice and propelled me to use art as a participatory tool. During the process of developing this project, I was determined to work with young people, especially in the Blackburn area as I’d spent a lot of time there growing up. When Blackburn Youth Zone (BYZ) voiced their interest in having me work with one of their young groups, it felt like the perfect fit to realise my ambitions. Being able to engage young people at BYZ in artistic development and assist them in taking a project from incubation to end product is a rewarding learning experience. Leading workshops with young people is very different to working with adults and being able to adapt quickly to situations has been challenging and fun.

The arts lead at BYZ, Tom, has had enthusiasm for the project from day one and offered endless knowledge and ideas in developing the group’s work. I didn’t envisage the project being so collaborative but his generosity in helping me develop as a facilitator has been a welcome surprise. We’re still in the experimentation stage at the moment, encouraging the group to play around with mark-making and texture before we move onto mono-printing but I am excited to see what avenues they choose to explore next as we move onto a more refined approach.