Alison McGowan, Elena Miller, Lisette Auton, Michelle Wood, Nicola Golightly, Pady O’Connor, Paul Murray and Ruth Mary Johnson will each be taking up the role of Associate Artist, which involves developing and facilitating creative activities with care-experienced children and young people and the adults in their lives.
Jenny Young, Director of Gateshead-based Blue Cabin, explained: “From puppetry to print-making, Blue Cabin’s team of Associate Artists all specialise in using their artistic practice to help improve the lives of care-experienced children and young people. We’ve been working with this wonderful group of people for several years now. We’re incredibly proud to work alongside them and have them as part of the Blue Cabin team.”
Each of the Associate Artists has experience in working with care experienced people, carers and staff and social workers in local authorities. They have also taken part in training to gain an understanding of trauma-informed approaches to working with children and young people. This training directly informs the content and design of the diverse creative activities they facilitate.
Alison McGowan, who trained as a puppeteer and as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, said: “Telling stories using puppetry is a great way to explore our feelings and experiences. Working with care-experienced children and young people, I’ve seen friendships emerge and participants gain confidence in sharing aspects of themselves and their stories through their puppets and artwork.”
Elena Miller, who is a storyteller, writer, actor, singer and puppeteer, said: “I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Blue Cabin. I can’t wait to help develop other exciting projects and nurture even more meaningful, creative, relationships with care-experienced children.”
Writer and performer, Lisette Auton, said: “The thing I’m looking forward to most is meeting the new cohort of young people I’ll be working alongside, packing their boxes of creative materials with love and care, getting to know them, make things with them and knowing what an absolute privilege that is.”
Printmaker, Michelle Wood, said: “I’m looking forward to working with Blue Cabin’s wonderful, supportive team and the adventure of delivering Creative Life Story Work with young people and their carers. It’s always a joyous experience!”
Graphic designer and visual artist, Nicola Golightly, said: “Creating sessions that link to the young people and their life stories – like who they have lived with and the people in their lives – opens up the opportunity to engage with others who are in similar situations, to be with the person who cares for you, and be in a safe environment. And it’s been a real learning experience for me as an artist; it’s been gold.”
Visual artist and designer, Paul Murray, said: “Since working with Blue Cabin, I feel my participatory practice has flourished and it’s given me the confidence to take the steps towards moving into freelancing on a full time basis. I really wouldn’t have been able to do that if it wasn’t for Blue Cabin, so I cannot thank you enough.”
Theatre maker, Pady O’Connor, said: “I’m looking forward to the journeys I have not yet taken, the people I have not yet met, and the stories I have not yet heard or connected with. The unknown is an exciting place to be, being part of something collective, a movement of exciting creative people coming together, and the ritual of sharing possibilities over tea and cake.”
Theatre-maker Ruth Mary Johnson, said: “Becoming an Associate Artist with Blue Cabin is something that makes me very proud. The care that runs through the company is very special and I feel I am playing a small part in work that is very big and important. I am looking forward to continuing to develop my work with care-experienced young people, with the support of Blue Cabin, who invest in every person involved in the process.”
Blue Cabin’s Associate Artists are currently involved in developing a programme of Creative Life Story Work, which supports care-experienced children and young people to understand their own life stories.
Find out more about our Associate Artists here.