Headshot of Elena Miller

Meet our Associate Artists: Elena Miller, storyteller

From puppetry to print-making, Blue Cabin’s team of Associate Artists all specialise in using their artistic practice to help improve outcomes for care-experienced children and young people.

Here, we meet Elena Miller, storyteller, writer, actor, singer, puppeteer and Associate Artist.

Tell us a bit about you and your artistic practice. 

I studied Drama at Undergraduate level and then did a Masters in Performance Studies: Theatre as Social Intervention. 

I toured nationally as an actor for a year with a variety of theatre companies as part of the InterACT training scheme. I then went on to gather experience in a variety of creative settings such as a stage manager, puppeteer, drama and singing coach, prop maker, theatre in education for children and also adult education settings, working predominantly with people with a learning disability. I then set up Star Bright Arts, my own company, whose ethos is based in using the creative arts as a tool for health and well-being with children and young people.

Can you share an example of using your skills with care-experienced children and young people? 

My first external work experience in working with care-experienced children came about through working with the Scottish Adoption Register. Myself and Alison (another of Blue Cabin’s Associate Artists) were asked to host an activity day for prospective adoptive parents and children waiting for their forever homes. 

We provided a range of activities which provided the opportunities for meaningful, playful, fun and informal interactions. There was something really magical about the role that creativity played in these sessions. Encouraging everyone in the room to enter a playful state from the very beginning through the use of a giant parachute helped melt away any worries or anxieties about what might lie ahead. 

This opportunity spurred me on to investigate working more with care-experienced children and their significant grown-ups. When the opportunity arose with Blue Cabin I was really excited to be part of something so innovative as Blue Cabin’s Creative Life Story Work programme. 

And can you tell us about the impact you’ve seen creativity have on care-experienced children and young people? 

Some key moments include:

  • A penny drop moment when using my Tree of Me activity and the pre-amble before. In this, we discuss what plants and trees need to grow and then what we as humans need to grow, and how, if plants and humans don’t get what they need, then they might need their conditions to change. In one session a young girl verbalised that this was the same as her moving to live with her carer and the other children in the session agreed too!
  • The recognition of a similarity in situations with two young boys who no longer see their mums. Whilst the reasons behind them not seeing their mums differed, the fact that they bore witness to each other sharing this key fact from their life then led to a beautiful friendship forming online. The carers exchanged numbers and the hope was that they could possibly meet in real life in the future.
  • A young boy with autism becoming so empowered through the six sessions that he made a speech at the end to everyone, much to amazement of his carers. 

What are you looking forward to in your role as an Associate Artist with Blue Cabin?

I have been thrilled to not just be part of the Creative Life Story Work that Blue Cabin provides but have also been asked to be part of other pioneering projects such as the Feel Creative project, Cool Things, Time Together and also creative consultancy work for Artsmark. 

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.

What else do you like to do with your time, outside your artistic practice?

I love reading children’s stories, making up daft songs on my ukulele, pottering in my garden and trying to remember football facts to impress my son!

Thank you Elena! Find out who else is in Blue Cabin’s team of Associate Artists here, and visit Elena’s website here