I am South Island-based, with potential to travel as needed for the right project that will challenge my practice and my interest.
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I have a 30-year career in health promotion and community development but I also operate as an artist, musician and writer. I am fascinated by the opportunity inherent in the use of 'art-as-process' to promote a dialogue with communities and groups and I see my key skills as a facilitator. My job is to draw out the interests and issues of a group and then hold them in a vision that turns them into a work or body of art, particularly one that holds a strong, positive message. As a result, I work across disciplines, pulling in collaborators with special skills as needed to help deliver a project that is led by the group, whatever they may identify as their interest ... writing, music, sculpture, visual art, or any combination. The importance is the process, and the conversations and interactions ... and growth that contribute toward the final work. Art is about expressing the internal in an external form and each individual is unique, each group a different set of dynamics. My role is to wrangle that into coherence ... into a piece of work that everyone can see themselves reflected in, and be proud of.
My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with
I have been involved in a number of arts-based interactions with community groups. Most significantly in the last few years, I was Artist-in-Residence for a full term-long project at a primary school in Christchurch in 2013. The project took a Health Promotion approach (instigated by colleagues at Health Promoting Schools) and used installation/visual art as a medium for helping the school address issues related to imminent closure, but also used 'Well-being' as a way to celebrate the school and community's resilience following the earthquakes experienced profoundly in the East of Christchurch. The design was iterative and led by the school's needs and interests and the process was facilitated by myself, including training and mentoring staff to understand arts processes and well-being promotion, and aligning the kaupapa to the health curriculum. Every single pupil and every member of staff (teaching and ancillary) had a part in the finished art-work, nobody was excluded. The final work was unveiled in front of the whole school by Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel, and blessed by Matua Sandy Kaa from Te Runaka ki Otautahi o Kai Tahu.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
(Please see the Primary school project above for a key example.) Additionally, I have worked with a variety of age groups throughout my career (children, young people and adults) and groups representing communities of interest to develop a range of work: written, visual and musical. I take an open dialogue approach and primarily aim to incorporate themes such as: Mental Health, Well-being, Community, Resilience, Hope, Strengths, Identity, and Values.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
I see my career developing an exciting new arm, using art and creative approaches to engage with groups of people around issues that concern or challenge them. As a health promoter and community development specialist, my interest has always been in strengths-based approaches to community 'issues' and I have developed a solid body of experience in working to core values. Increasingly as I have developed as a self-employed professional, I have been using more creative and diverse approaches to inspire and challenge community conversations. Art is a door-opener that can help people discuss issues that are often difficult or awkward, and can be educative, developmental and forward-focussed. Art as well-being promotion, or well-being promotion as art? Nowadays, my boundaries are blurring and it is a fascinating journey that I want to continue and expand.