Michael went to art school in the late 1960s, the experience of which, he says, influenced everything he’s done since. A large part of his working life was spent as editor, manager and consultant, working for and with a range of publishers, media companies, etc. He was also a tutor on a ground-breaking multimedia course at Plymouth University. ‘Arts Lab is a reconfirmation of my belief that being creative alongside other creative people can change your life.’
Sophy is an artist educator with over 20 years experience working with children’s groups in London, Bristol and South Devon. A graduate in Art & Social Context, her passion is to facilitate visual arts engagement across broad-ranging groups as a tool for empowerment. Before now, she has worked for organisations such as Thames Festival, Kids Company, Tate Modern and Dulwich Picture Gallery. Sophy also currently teaches art and photography at the South Devon Steiner School.
Sara is an abstract painter with over 30 years’ experience working in studios, exhibiting and teaching in the UK and abroad. She trained in Fine Art and Art History in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Experience working across broad-ranging communities - always painting - has shaped her drive to encourage collaboration and creative thinking and making through learning, through life and through art. In 2018 Sara became a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs. More info: www.saradownhamlotto.net
Chiara graduated in 2020 from Plymouth University with a degree in Events Management, aiming to pursue a career in Marketing and Events planning. She is a nature lover, with an interest in making whatever she markets look and sound beautiful. In early September 2020, she joined Arts Lab as a Marketing Intern funded by the Plymouth University iMayflower Internship Scheme. Her work was so great, that we didn't want to let her go; she's still with us!
Ben joined the Arts Lab team in late August 2020 having just finished his degree in Digital Media Design at the University of Plymouth. He started as an intern funded by the iMayflower internship scheme and, has since continued, so impressed were we by his expertise and hard work. In summer 2021, Ben will complete his masters degree in Creative Computing at Bath Spa.
Zanna is studying Early Childhood at UWE in Bristol. Since an early age, she has found enjoyment and freedom of expression through drawing and illustration. Currently working on the ‘Get Arty’ project with Arts Lab, she says: ‘This opportunity is helping to expand and reignite my skills and passion for communicating through illustration’. Zanna hopes that the combination of her degree and experience working on projects like this, will be instrumental in choosing what she does after leaving university.
Jonathan is a painter based in London, developing his practice for 30 years and exhibiting internationally, with solo exhibitions in London, Dublin, the USA and Italy. He is represented in London by the Sim Smith Gallery. Interested in painting as a form of collaborative activity, he has worked with dancers, musicians, architects and designers. He has been part of the Lab since 2018, since when he has been resident Artist Experimenter on two separate occasions. See http://jonathanmccree.com/
Fhiona is a Bath-based artist and lecturer in art & design. She is passionate about drawing in its broadest sense as a way of exploring ideas and process that go beyond observation. As well as lecturing at Bath Spa University, Bath College and Norwich School of Art and Design, she has delivered numerous workshops in museums and galleries. Fhiona is a trustee of the GANE Trust in Bristol which supports people involved in the arts, crafts and design and those engaged in welfare and social care.
Matt is a second year M.A. Illustration student at Plymouth College of Art, intent on pursuing a career in illustration and education. His hands on approach, combining collage and drawing techniques, build imagery that tackles a range of topics. Matt joined the Young Artist Sharing the Light team in the summer of 2020 and has been with us ever since. He was our Winter Experimenter 2020-21. ‘My goal is to expand my practice beyond myself as an individual and into the community. Arts Lab has already begun to help with this.’
Ali has a background in education and has spent over 35 years working in schools and communities delivering innovative projects in varied settings, involving participants of every age and ability. She has worked with a wide range of organisations across the arts, environmental and heritage sectors, offering consultation, mentoring and training. ‘I always come away from Arts Lab’s workshops buzzing with new ideas and with my creativity topped up for another week’, she says.
Chris is a recent graduate in Drawing, Painting & Printmaking from Plymouth College of Art. Through the PPD (professional practice development) programme at PCA, he’s been working with Sara on The Great Prison Art Exchange project at Dartmoor Prison since 2018. As well as being instrumental in helping this project to thrive, he is currently developing his own social enterprise using art and colour as tools for wellbeing with veterans.
Caroline started her art career making environmental installations, connecting her studies first in geology and then in art. “I am currently working on a new project called ‘Order and Chaos’, exploring the attraction of patterns and the desire to touch. My sculptures often get touched and played with; they have a simplicity of form with smooth and rough textures. I want to explore this further in my new work. Being part of Arts Lab will support my studio practice through sharing skills, collaborating and running community workshops.”
For the past 18 years, Abbi has dipped in and out of running upcycling projects with young people in a range of settings both in Devon and Tunisia. She is currently completing an M.A. in Entrepreneurship in Creative Practices and building an upcycling fashion brand and social enterprise - MUKTA. This will take workshops into schools, young offender units and other youth groups. Abbi is collaborating with Arts Lab’s projects at HMP Dartmoor, integrating prisoner-and-artist-generated artwork into fabric designs.
Stella Scott started her career making participatory films in 2004 when she led photography and film projects for young people at Kid’s Company. She’s since made films for charities such as Platform, CARE and Unicef, and institutions such as the Tate, the National Theatre and the Guardian. Alice Andrews is a set designer who tells stories through sculpture and 3D mediums. Together they run participatory film projects, and make films that are installed in an interactive gallery experience. Stella and Alice are now collaborating with Arts Lab to create a piece named “Two Way Mirror”.
Laura is a Stockport-based artist and illustrator who we found on Instagram! Her work struck such a chord, that she was invited to come on board. Having graduated in 2014, Laura is passionate about working with people to tell stories and explore their own worlds through playful creativity. Her own practice uses collage and texture to create interesting visual worlds. As Artist of the Month in April 2021, Laura says ‘Joining Arts Lab will help me to connect with like minded creatives, enriching my practice.’
Ness has been involved with the Lab since 2017. She is ‘committed to supporting the project to make a real difference to people’s lives as it has done mine. Thanks to my involvement with the Lab - taking part in workshops, being an interim director and latterly as a steering group member - I took the mid-life decision to be an artist!’ Ness is now enrolled on the Art Foundation Course in Totnes and makes sculpture whenever she can.