27 July 2010
Art therapies get young carers 'seeing things differently'
An outdoor art gallery was the result when AWP staff worked with
the Communities Art Therapies (CAT) Project to run three art
therapy workshops for young carers.
CAT Project organised the workshops with the Victoria Art
Gallery and Holburne Museum in Bath to run alongside an exhibition
by artist Edwina Bridgeman, a former theatre designer known for her
use of recycled materials.
The workshops were facilitated by Kerrigan Fletcher-Bartholomew,
an AWP art psychotherapist who also works with Steps Eating
Disorder Unit in Bristol and with older adults.
Kerrigan describes the experience of working with the group:
"I was really excited to be asked to run the CAT art groups with
the young carers as this is the age group I feel more creative in
my approach with. We met in Bath's Victoria Gallery one Saturday
morning to view the Edwina Bridgeman sculpture exhibition. We spent
an hour wandering around and were so inspired by the use of found
objects being used in a different way in the sculptures that that
this became the theme of our project: Seeing Things
"After an hour we went to the art rooms above the gallery and
chatted about this experience and began forming ideas onto paper
which then turned into the beginnings of three dimensional images.
The atmosphere I felt was very relaxed and mature for such young
kids. I began to feel that this group was beginning to connect and
feel contained with each other and the staff. They also began to
talk about themselves a little bit and share with each other what
their lives were about which gave new meaning to their work.
"Our next two meetings were in the Gardener's Lodge in the
grounds of Holburne Museum. The group talked about themselves but
their conversation was also supportive and nurturing. They engaged
in the art making process individually and also working with each
other on joint projects. At the first session we had decided to
emulate the Bridgeman exhibition by making our own gallery
exhibition for the public to see as our final showcase. We had no
preconceived ideas about what it might look like but we talked
about a 'travelling exhibition' set up in the park for people to
One of the young carers suggested we set up the space right in
front of the Gardener's Lodge and attract people wandering through
the park. I had initially had the idea of a more secluded spot as I
think I was feeling over protective of their work but I embraced
the idea and we set up two strips of bunting just outside the front
door. Next we put the images onto card to display them and then set
about turning our improvised lawn into our gallery space. It was
incredibly rewarding seeing a few 'art lovers' walking around
the images and commenting on what they saw, but not quite as
rewarding as the proud smiles on some of the young carers' faces. I
think they got something out of this experience that was far
greater than words. I know I did."
For more information about CAT project click