We believe that creativity is a key human trait; the opportunity to express it can be highly therapeutic and an important element of rebuilding lives. Since setting up the creative programmes department, we have trialled various activities; art classes, drama workshops and music production have been particularly popular amongst our Freedom Project participants and have had the most impact on their well being. Some of our participants work has been exhibited at a national level and our drama group go from strength to strength; performing at places like the Whitworth Art Gallery and Nexus Café which has boosted their confidence greatly.
Freedom Project participants can attend our art class which is run twice a week at our Ancoats base and is taught by our Creative Programmes Manager; Graham Hudson with the support of a variety of artists connected with Mustard Tree. We focus on ideas and idea development using sketchbooks and aim for each participant to create their own piece of artwork on canvas with the view of displaying all of these works at future exhibitions. Taking part in activities like painting and drawing can lower stress levels, can train you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment as well as leaving you feeling mentally clear and calm.
As a result of their engagement with the art class, two Freedom Project graduates have gone on to art college and university to study the field in more depth and another has been employed by Manchester City Art Gallery and tells us that being part of the art class was the main factor in him applying for the job and ultimately being successful.
Our drama group is run by Tandem Theatre and is held at our Ancoats base once a week where we focus on employability skills such as motivation, leadership and teamwork as well as working towards regular performances in and around Greater Manchester. Taking part in drama can help to improve language and communication skills, build confidence and nurtures friendships as it has the ability to create friendships within the group. Those who join the drama group can achieve an Entry Level 3 SEPE qualification (Supporting Employability and Personal Effectiveness).
James Hardy Music Studio
Since the launch of the JamesHardyMusicStudioin 2014, we have coordinated several 10-week musicproduction courses led by tutors who have the experience and knowledge to teach participants the skills they need to make their own music. Our fantastic volunteers have supported Freedom Project participants in recording, editing and producing a variety of genres such as rap, house, worship and country with the hope that the process of making music will have a positive influence and help participants become part of a community and family. If you would like to listen to the tracks our Freedom Project participants have produced, please visit our SoundCloud page.