Page 1


The volunteering Programme – An Overview August 2010 – April 2013

Since August 2010, the Volunteer Programme has steadily grown both in opportunities for volunteering with Project Ability and in popularity amongst the artist community in Glasgow. The programme has become extremely successful in giving to both newly graduated artists and those seeking personal development in the specialist field of arts and disability. Round 1: January – March 2011 Our first volunteering opportunities were filled in January 2011 when five professional artists joined us, working across our programme. Each artist brought their own specialism to the role and worked with both groups and individuals to support participants in the making of their art work. In addition we had a number of ‘in-house’ volunteers, with participants from across our programme donating time to invigilate in our gallery. In this first initial round, we advertised for artists with specialism’s included Ceramics, Printmaking, Glass, Digital Art and Film Making. We specifically asked for artists with these skills after identifying an opportunity where a volunteer’s contribution could supplement the work of our existing tutors, whilst supporting our volunteers to gain experience. This initial fixed term of volunteering roles was very successful with positive feedback from both staff and volunteers alike.

‘I have really enjoyed my time at project ability. It’s an amazing place to work in and has a really friendly atmosphere where lots of beautiful work is made. I have learned a lot and feel like my teaching skills have developed. I always look forward to my workshops because you get a chance to meet new people with interesting approaches to their art. It's a great thing to do’ Richard Holmes: Digital Artist and Project Ability Volunteer


Round 2: April – July 2011 This round of volunteers continued to be a positive experience for volunteers, participant and staff alike. Developing from our first experience of working with volunteers, we created further roles and made adjustments to the existing roles to get the most out of them for all involved. This round adopted a more flexible approach, with some of our volunteers with us for a fixed time to deliver specialist projects and other with us weekly to coincide with our workshop programmes across both our ‘Connect’ and ‘Aspire’ programmes. We had a cross section of skills, ranging from a Web Developer, Film-makers and Professional Artists. We also further developed our opportunities for participants to volunteer with a new role covering front of house. This was filled by one of our Aspire participants and is now a paid position.

Round 3: August – December 2012 For the first time, since starting the volunteer programme, we advertised opportunities in our Saturday Children’s ‘Create’ workshops, creating four roles for professional artists to volunteer and support our Saturday tutors and gain experience of working with our younger participants. We had an overwhelming response to this advert with over 30 artist’s applying to work with our Saturday classes. In addition we also recruited a film maker to work with a small group of participants to make a series of short films about themselves and Glasgow to send to a similar project we have connections with in Nova Scotia, Canada. We also continued to offer opportunities for our participants to invigilate in our gallery. This was regularly filled by five of our Aspire participants, and one of our Connect participants on Thursdays and Fridays, our busiest days in the gallery.

‘I really enjoyed the variation in the work, and the relaxed and welcoming environment working with the children and staff…..I wanted the experience of working with a professional community organisation with an excellent reputation; I knew a lot about Project Ability’s community art work and thought it would be an encouraging place to gain experience.’ Lauren Bryden: Textile Designer and Project Ability Volunteer


Round 4: January – June 2012 This round we continued to offer Saturday roles for volunteers to assist and gain experience working alongside our tutors to deliver workshops to our younger participants aged 5 to 25 years. We had four dedicated volunteers (two in the morning and two in the afternoon) who committed for an 8 week block of workshops. This was again hugely successful with volunteers, participants and staff alike all benefiting and all but one of the volunteers (due to other work commitments) decided to continue to support our Saturday workshops for a further 8 weeks. In addition we had a Ceramic Specialist working in our Ceramic room, supporting Connect and Aspire participants to make work with clay, one afternoon a week. Round 5: August – December 2012 This round of volunteering continued to offer many opportunities for graduate artists to come and experience work across the programme, at Project Ability. During this round we supported four artists to work in our Saturday ‘Create’ programme, one ceramic artist, to work in our ‘Aspire’ programme and a further two printmakers to also volunteer with our Aspire participants. In addition to this we had one film-maker support our introduction to film making workshops and a second volunteer, one who was previously a participant in our film making programme, volunteer in a front of house role during these workshop times. This has now become a paid position. We also had a visiting artist from Spain with us for a period of three weeks who supported workshops programme wide, during her time with us. In addition we continued to have volunteer support in our gallery with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons being manned by participants from Aspire and Reconnet who have been a welcoming face to visitors to our gallery. The volunteering programme continues to grow and be popular, particularly to recent art graduates who are keen to gain experience in the field of art and disability. ‘It has been an amazing experience to be involved in the Create workshops at Project Ability every Saturday. The children are so enthusiastic about making art, and I am impressed by the works that they create as well as by their strong ability to reflect and speak about their creative processes, interests and ideas. There is always such a great energy at the Create workshops and the children manage to produce a lot of art, while also being skilled in developing and concentrating on one piece of art work over several weeks. I enjoy being part of creating such a creative platform where the children are enabled and can succeed in the making of a variety of art works.’ Ida Arentoft Fine Art Photographer and Volunteer


Round 6: January – June 2013 This round is still underway with many of the volunteers who joined us in January extending their time with us in to June. We have seven volunteers working across our Saturday Create programme, one volunteer working on our introduction to film making workshops and two working with our Aspire project. We also have a Reconnect participant volunteering to support a project with the Autism Resource Centre. Artist, Pum Dunbar has a diagnosis of ASD and felt she could contribute to this project and volunteered one day a week throughout the duration of the workshops. The volunteer programme continues to grow and gain momentum both across our programme and within Glasgow’s artist’s community

‘I have been volunteering with Project Ability for a few weeks now and it has been the most fantastic and inspiring experience. Every Saturday after the classes I leave with a renewed feeling of the excitement and possibilities of art and natural human interaction. The way in which the children interact with each other and the staff is wonderfully honest and open, as is their interaction and engagement with the art materials and themes explored in class. It is bewildering to see and experience the range and extent of creative production in just an hour’s class, and the sense of community and collective enthusiasm in the room is amazing. Project Ability offers a space in which the children can build confidence and express their ideas through creative activity in this warm and equal environment, and as an organisation it is inspiring in itself. Building relationships with the children has been wonderfully rewarding, and the energy in the room early on a Saturday morning is astonishing.’ Emily Illet Sculptor and Volunteer

Create is our programme for children and young people disability. Aspire is our programme for people with learning disabilities. Reconnect is our program for people recovering from mental ill health.


Marketing and Promotion Throughout the duration of the Volunteering Programme, we have invited the volunteers to submit an entry to our volunteering feature on our website blog called ‘Meet the Volunteer’. The purpose of these weekly blog entries has been to promote the good work that our volunteers have been doing with us and to advertise the programme, allowing artists who are considering applying to volunteer with us, a personal insight into the experience others have had. The feature is also shared on the social media website Facebook. ‘Meet the Volunteer’ This week introducing Aelfred de Sigley, Aelfred has been volunteering with us on Saturday mornings working with our youngest participant in our ‘Create’ programme. His contribution to the group has been invaluable, working one to one with many of our children during the course of the last 8 weeks. His input has been very much appreciated by both the children and the Saturday staff and we are all looking forward to the next block of workshops with him on board.


"After having been aware of project ability for some time I visited the workshops one afternoon and was overwhelmed by its sense of genuine openness and creativity. I am a recent graduate from Fine Art Photography and my desire to volunteer with Project Ability is a holistic extension of a belief I have in my own practice that authorship and interpretation are interchangeable positions. Further, I feel they are necessary and open positions by which we navigate our world and its symbolic order and a belief that creativity makes up an integral and embodied part of engagement with others and the phenomenal world. A process of grounding within a social context, which is at once basic in the need to communicate and forms our most complex imaginative functions in the play of inner and outer worlds that we occupy. Exploration through the individualistic creative process can be both intensely vulnerable and a form of nonverbal communication involving the full complexity of ourselves as individuals and how we connect and are affirmed within a social context. To engage with these young people, has so far been a process of being regularly invited through participation and an open interpretative process into the worlds, concerns and creative imaginations of the young people coming to the Saturday morning Create workshops. The works that are produced on the page, canvas, modelled in clay etc. are also introductions into each individuals' world. Individuals who are often so present, genuinely innovative and critically playful with the world around them that it is difficult not to be drawn into their enquiry and be challenged by how they look and imagine. The way in which they intemperate and rearrange the cultural world around us is fascinating and I often find myself enthralled by the freedom with which they use gesture and language to build a complex world within the medium that they are working. The Saturday Create workshops have become return to the building of an engagement with each of the individuals' concerns in a creative/interpretative conversation around their practice. Getting to know some of these individuals and their creative output has itself been a very involved process, from which I leave each week with the feeling of having been invited into the different, complex and unabashed worlds. To play a role in their sincere and open developing practice is a privilege and invitation to take part in the same sincere and open spirit."

Aelfred de Sigley


Volunteer Development and training Opportunities In December 2012 we hosted a development day for all the volunteers who had taken part in the programme to date. The intention of this event was to ‘give something back’ to our volunteers who have all been extremely dedicated in their roles with us. In addition the event offered an opportunity for those attending, to network with other artist who either work or have volunteered with Project Ability. The day was one of sharing knowledge and experience with an opportunity for everyone to engage in discussion about their professional practice within the field of art and disability. The day took the format of a series of presentations and discussions delivered by Project Ability tutors who work across the programme, demonstrating to our volunteers the broad range of art work carried out both in house and outreach. This sharing of knowledge and experience was one that was valued by the volunteers who attended, many of whom are recent graduates. The feedback received for this day’s event was extremely positive.

Building on the success of the development day we offered paid opportunity to past volunteers to submit a workshop proposal that they would design and deliver to participants on our Reconnect programme. We allocated three workshop slots that would be given to the


successful applicants and who would receive a fee for delivering their proposed workshops. From this opportunity we received 14 proposals, all very diverse and of a high standard. Three successful proposals have been selected, with the workshops being delivered in May 2013. We also offered a training opportunity to all volunteers both past and present, to attend autistic spectrum disorder awareness training.

Challenges As the programme has developed and grown over three years, it has, at times, been difficult to manage within a one day a week post. Starting with only 5 volunteers to support at any one time, I have found that I have had up to 10 volunteers with us in roles throughout the programme with additional volunteers invigilating in our gallery. Whilst this had contributed greatly to our programme, I have felt at times a little out of touch with how they are managing during their time with us. I would like to be able to have more contact time with our volunteers while they are in post but instead manage this primarily via email and feel I miss out in having the face to face time with them. However, feedback from the volunteers is always positive and we believe we are providing an extremely valuable and meaningful opportunity to graduate artists. During my time in post, I have strived to maintain good relationships with all of the previous volunteers and as the post has progressed the level of correspondence this incurs has grown. I am often asked if I can be a reference for previous volunteers who are seeking further volunteer opportunities, work or applying to college courses. This can at times be a very time consuming part of my job and eats into what is already very limited time that I have. In addition to this correspondence, I also have volunteering enquiries to respond to on a weekly bases, again as our volunteering programme has developed and risen in profile amongst the artist community, so too has the level of enquires about our volunteer opportunities. At present we have only advertised for graduate artists to apply for our volunteering roles; however there has been a great amount of interest from undergraduates looking to gain experience in the work place before graduating. I feel that there would be a great amount of scope to develop a programme to support undergraduates to gain meaningful work experience with us. However, it is not possible to develop this at this time in a one day a week post.


I feel that the programme has reached, if not surpassed its maximum potential within a one day a week post with no room for growth or development. There is however many possible ways in which the programme could be further developed. The next section of this report discusses these in more detail.

Potential Developments The volunteering programme has successfully developed and grown over the past three years and has potential to grow in several different directions in the future. One area for development would be extending our relationships with FE and Higher education Colleges and Art Schools. As yet we have not included undergraduates in the volunteer programme, limiting the roles to those who have already graduated in art. However, there is great demand from undergraduates and we could offer them, as part of their studies, a meaningful experience of applying their degree in the work place. This could be something that is developed in partnership with any given College or Art School with our side of the partnership supervised by the Volunteers Co-ordinator. Another successful feature of the volunteering programme could be the development of an artist collaboration/partnership programme. This would be an opportunity for professional artists to work alongside our participant artists to make a body of work while engaging on a one to one level. This ‘artistic union’ would allow an exchange of working methods and approaches with the intention being that both the volunteer artist and participant would ‘feed’ off each other to generate ideas and artwork. An artist would apply to this programme stating their specialisms and areas of interest, to be partnered with a selected participant who has also applied to the programme. A programme like this would complement both our volunteer programme and our current artist in residency programme. During our past years experiences with the programme, we have developed a few ‘mentoring’ roles, with volunteers sharing a skill one to one with one of our participants. These were hugely successful and invaluable to all involved. In addition to this there has also been a huge amount of positive feedback from our past volunteers regarding their relationships with our participants and how they feel this has impacted on their own individual artistic practice. It seems that there is great scope for a development to formalise this working process with a tailor made artist partnership scheme which supports such individualised working relationships to grow. At the end of last year we had the opportunity to give something back to our volunteers by hosting a Development Day; a day for all of our staff artists and volunteers, past and present to network and learn more about the organisation and different areas and projects currently


happening at Project Ability. This day was positively received. This sharing and discussion around projects and practices is hugely important and is another area that could be developed further with development events programmed more frequently. Following this event we invited all of our volunteers to submit a proposal for a series of workshops that they could deliver to our Reconnect participants. The successful applicants are about to embark on the delivery of their workshop, with supervision, only this time as paid artists. This is an area that funding and post permitting could be expanded upon in the future. Tracy Gorman Volunteer Co-ordinator

Programme Statistics Round One: January – March 2011

Round Two: April - July 2011

Number of applications received:

18

Number of applications received:

22

Number of volunteers placed in role:

5

Number of volunteers placed in role:

8

Number of in-house volunteers

4

Number of in-house volunteers

4

Number of volunteers to drop out:

0

Number of volunteers to drop out:

0

£6,816

The wage value associated with the time and skills of our volunteers would have amounted to:

£5,272

The wage value associated with the time and skills of our volunteers would have amounted to:

Round Three: August - December 2011

Round Four: January – June 2012

Number of applications received:

32

Number of applications received:

17

Number of volunteers placed in role:

5

Number of volunteers placed in role:

8

Number of in-house volunteers

4

Number of in-house volunteers

3

Number of volunteers to drop out:

0

Number of volunteers to drop out:

1


The wage value associated with the time and skills of our volunteers would have amounted to:

£5,200

Round Five: August – December 2012

The wage value associated with the time and skills of our volunteers would have amounted to:

£6,034

Round Six: January – June 2013

Number of applications received:

22

Number of applications received:

16

Number of volunteers placed in role:

11

Number of volunteers placed in role:

9

Number of in-house volunteers

5

Number of in-house volunteers

6

Number of volunteers to drop out:

2

Number of volunteers to drop out:

2

£9656

The wage value associated with the time and skills of our volunteers would have amounted to:

Ongoing

The wage value associated with the time and skills of our volunteers would have amounted to:

Total of volunteers involved in the Programme to date:

71

Number of those that came from external applications:

45

Number of those that came from in-house applications:

26


Total wage value of volunteering hours since start of programme:

ÂŁ32,978 (Round 6 Outstanding)

Total number of volunteers who went on to receive paid work with Project Ability:

7

Volunteer Demographics

The survey below was recently conducted to collect information on the age range, gender and abilities of our volunteers since the start of the volunteering programme.


Cont’d


Cont’d


Project Ability Volunteer Programme August 2010 - March 2013  

Volunteer Report

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you