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Personal Statement

 

Inspired by my own experiences as an artist, my mission as an Art Psychotherapist is to create a secure environment in which vulnerable people are able to express their complex and confusing emotional issues through the medium of art. Using the creative philosophy of ‘play’ and the transferrable skills I have learned through my creative and professional practice I inspire others to create and, in turn to learn and to heal.  I have a strong, positive work ethic and enjoy working as part of a team or alone. 

 

Education

 

BA (Hons) Textiles in Practice 

Manchester School of Art, Manchester, 

(September 2013 – July 2016)

 

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, 

University of Falmouth, Falmouth, Cornwall 

(September 2012 – June 2013) 

 

The Godolphin School, Salisbury 

(September 2005 – July 2012) 

 

 

Employment

 

Role: Women’s Empowerment Project Volunteer

Dharamshala, India (May 2018 – June 2018) 

Employer: eduCARE/IVHQ

Reference: Pavas M

During the three weeks I spent working with the NGO I was mindful of not approaching the project as a ‘white western saviour’ and the importance of creating project that adhered to the concept of sustainable development. I was placed with a local ‘migrant community’ with a group of young women who had minimal access to education, healthcare, clean facilities and reliable sources of income.

eduCARE is especially focused on working towards changing India’s attitude towards the environment and recycling. Having already spent two weeks in India I was used to seeing the casual attitude but found it distressing. With this in mind I designed a project called ‘Cementing Futures’ that used cement sacks that had been thrown out from local building sites. After washing and patching these sacks I designed and cut patterns for various bags. Using a hand turning sewing machine I made prototypes and then proceeded to teach the community how to make them.

The concept of the project is to instil skills within the young women, change attitudes towards waste and thinking about repurposing materials through recycling and to provide a source of income for the local women.

This income is sustained through paying the community to collect the cement sacks, both encouraging people to look after their environment and also consider hygiene through the washing of the sacks. Then once the bags have been made the NGO sells them on behalf of the community ensuring a visible platform and a responsible business model. This is something that has continued since my time with the NGO came to an end, achieving the sustainable development goal with the project. A local woman has taken over the training for the bag making and some of the young women I worked with now take a pastoral role with the making with the younger individuals. It was an honour to work alongside the community and to watch individuals take on new challenges and skills.

Role: Art Teacher and Dementia Volunteer

Winchester (July 2017 – April 2018) 

Employer: Royal Hampshire County Hospital

Reference: Amber Harper

 

Working in the specialist dementia ward of RHCH I aimed to create situations where individuals feel they are being listened to and created a safe, creative space in an otherwise clinical environment. Here, through music and art we came together to create, talk and add a more personalised aspect to the hospital experience. This experience helped me to adapt to swift changes in client and staff and the needs and abilities of the ward patients. I also kept in accordance with the hospital’s policy on health and safety and encouraged staff members to observe and interact with the group to raise understanding of Art Psychotherapy. 

 

Role: Art Teacher and Volunteer at the Winchester Wellbeing Centre (Solent Mind), 

Winchester (April 2017 – February 2018) 

Employer: Solent Mind

 

During my time with Solent Mind I created four six-week programs where a small ‘studio model’ group and I would look at a particular artist and then create artwork based on a variety of the artwork. I was responsible for setting up in the studio and maintaining the space. This position gave me valuable insight into the inconsistencies of attendance and interaction when working with mental health. I also learned the value of having supervision, safe guard training, setting boundaries and having open communication with my fellow colleagues. 

 

Role: Teaching Assistant and Volunteer at The Minstead Trust, 

Minstead (March 2017 – July 2018) 

Employer: The Minstead Trust

 

The Minstead Trust focuses on helping people with learning disabilities lead fulfilled lives and live as full citizens in society. Twice a week I assisted with art classes and shadowing service users to help them individually with their artistic pursuits. I also ran my own sessions that were textile based and have helped service users to create work that went on to be exhibited in public.  My responsibilities ranged from providing technical assistance in the art studio to working one to one with a service user. 

 

Role: Art Teacher and Volunteer at Headway,

Totton (November 2016- July 2018) 

Employer: Headway

 

At Headway, I taught an art class once a week to service users who have experienced brain injuries, this involved planning and researching subjects for sessions and setting up a creative space in an office environment.  My sessions encompassed various styles of drawing, such as still life and experimented with different media including paint, clay and collage. The objective was to provide therapeutic and individual development of artistic style to the service users. It was amazing to see how service users became more confident in their artistic abilities and I enjoyed observing the expression the creativity brought to some. I have also set up exhibitions of the service users' work and organised gallery trips to inspire individuals' creativity. Headway allowed me to learn more about the effects of acquired brain injuries on physical and mental abilities and how those influence day to day life. 

 

Role: Volunteer at hArt, 

Lymington (August 2016 – April 2018) 

Employer: hArt

 

Here I helped with fundraising research, statistic research concerning mental health and art therapy and volunteered with charity events and workshops associated with the organisation. This has allowed me to “give something back” to a very worthy cause, improve my knowledge of how a charity is run and deepen my understanding of professional networking and communication.

 

Role: Studio Assistant for Alice Kettle

Winchester (April 2015 – Present)

Employer: Alice Kettle

 

I have assisted Alice Kettle with multiple projects including gallery installations, creating and assembling her large-scale stitched commissions and most recently was selected to assist her with her ‘Stitch A Tree Project’. This involved several months of working directly with the public running stitching workshops and explaining the project. The concept of the ‘Thread Bearing Witness’ project is to raise awareness and funds for those displaced around the world. Alice Kettle has worked in Calais and Greece with refugee groups and they, amongst others and the general public, have joined in with the stitching to create a huge textile mural of trees. I also worked on the assembling of the piece and the project culminated in an exhibition in Manchester in late September 2018. This project allowed me to hone my skills working and communicating with the public and gallery staff. It was also of the upmost importance to handle the nature of the project with discretion and sensitivity regarding the political and emotional connotations of any refugee situation, modern or historical.

 

Other short courses

 

First Aid Training, British Red Cross, Southampton (April 2018)

 

Challenging Behaviour Workshop, Headway, Southampton (January 2017)

 

Foundation in Art Therapy Course, BAAT, London (November 2016)

 

 

Referees

 

  • Jo Hillier – Manager, Headway, Southampton

Email: jo.hillier@headway-southampton.org.uk

 

  • Patricia De Carvahlo – Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Solent Mind, Winchester 

Email: PDeCarvalho@solentmind.org.uk