In April 2020, we launched the pilot project Prisoners Sharing the Light, working with up to 50 vulnerable male prisoners at Dartmoor prison in South Devon, UK. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and HMP Dartmoor, the project addresses the immediate need of prisoners adapting to contact restrictions, solitarily locked up in cells for the majority of the day. Prisoners Sharing the Light provides creative outlet and time-passing activities under lockdown, thus reducing increased issues of isolation and anxiety amongst male prisoners. Go to the Archive for more details and our Instagram for weekly creative outputs from the prisoners.
Between the summers of 2020 and 2021, a handful of organisations in the Imagine this … partnership in Torbay, including Arts Lab, came together to co-create and deliver ongoing creative engagement activities for up to 250 young people aged between 13 and 19. Key aims are to:
The recent crisis has exposed more than ever, growing issues of mental health in our communities. Creativity outdoors is a fantastic way to help people feel more connected and inspired to build enjoy and make the most of their surroundings.
In spring 2021, Arts Lab joined ranks with Maketank Exeter and became actively involved in helping to shape the PiE (performance in Exeter) network assembly initiative. Conversations around the performative and participatory nature of all the arts, made it clear that Arts Lab had a place here. Exciting news is that we have been invited to ‘set up camp’ at Maketank in Exteter city centre. This means, in the near future, we can resume our live programme of events, residencies and exhibitions with the added golden opportunity to collaborate and share resources with a dynamic organisation with shared values and purpose.
Every Wednesday, a group of adults – either carers for those with mental health problems or dealing with their own individual challenges – benefit from weekly art classes on a kitchen table in their local community, or, during lockdown, online via zoom. Working with Arts Lab’s Sara Downham-Lotto over coffee, art materials and chatter, the growth in personal and creative confidence and ability is remarkable. Popular for locals, is the group’s annual exhibition in the village community centre. This simple model is one that we encourage our young artists to take into their own communities wherever they are.