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Accumulate Art Kits – Update!

The Accumulate Art School for the Homeless has been kept very busy during these difficult and uncertain times. We thought it would be a great time to update you on what we have been up to!

Our creative workshops stopped in mid March (just before official lockdown).  We made a decision that we could not risk anything due to the living and health circumstances of our participants. However, we knew that stopping our creative workshops meant far more than just a weekly activity for the Accumulate participants. We would also be stopping a community, friendships, purpose and learning for people who are very vulnerable, at risk, isolated and living in very dire situations. So, we pivoted very quickly and made a decision to move to online activities.  We also planned to send out art kits with all the materials and instructions for specific art activities to all our participants.

Through their involvement in the Accumulate Art Kit project the participants could continue to engage, belong and progress on their creative learning journey and be part of the Accumulate creative community.

An Accumulate workshop pre lockdown.

Creativity during Lockdown

The first Accumulate Art Kit activity launched at the start of lockdown on 23rd March and had a really really positive reaction. The participants were excited to get something, a kin to a special gift in the post. Because of how the Art Kit has been curated and put together, along with the design of the kit itself, it made them feel valued and an important part of Accumulate and motivated to engage. We used WhatsApp to keep in touch with the group, coupled with Skype and Zoom for the workshops. We also created step by step films online and every kit also had full instructions so the participant could take part in their own time.

Support for our project

Off the back of this pilot activity, we received funding from CrisisThe RSA, LandAid and others to expand the Accumulate Art Kit project across London. So far, we have sent out over 2500 Accumulate Art Kits to people who are living in hostels and emergency accommodation in London and who want to do something creative at this time. All of these are delivered by a magnificent crew of local Accumulate community volunteers!

The Tottenham & Harringey Accumulate Art Kit volunteer delivery crew!

Art Kit Contents

The Accumulate Art Kit project is a mammoth planning, purchasing and packing task but one that is really bringing creative learning out to people who are so restricted, are suffering from poor mental health and lack of wellbeing and have so little to engage them at this time as all hostel activities having been stopped. So far the Accumulate Art Kits have included collage, animation, felt making, tapestry, self portraits and drawing activities.

Accumulate Art Kit

Accumulate Art Kit complete with snacks for concentration!

Future Plans

Obviously, none of us knows how long the current situation will last for.  We will be continuing to send out the Accumulate Art Kits and doing online workshops until we can get back to being able to run the actual creative workshops. We have also continued to run the Accumulate podcasting workshops. This group meets online weekly and are putting together the content for “News for the Unconnected” – audio broadcasts about being homeless during CV-19 and the support that is available to this group.

The Accumulate podcast News for The Unconnected workshop delivered via Skype

Like everyone, we are keen to get back to face to face Accumulate creative workshops and activities and also to have the postponed Accumulate exhibition and launch of The Book of Homelessness.

It may not be until 2021 but it will happen and until then we will be, as usual, continuing to innovate and improve homeless people’s lives through creativity and creative learning and which is needed so much at this time.

Get in touch!

Please do email marice@accumulate.org.uk if you have any questions about the Accumulate Art Kit project. If you do want to support the Accumulate Art Kit project you can do so by clicking here.

With every best wish and stay well,

The Accumulate Team

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Shoreditch Shoots and the Accumul8 Gang

This week we went to Autograph’s premises in Shoreditch. It is the home of the Association of Black Photographers and we were really privileged to be shown the archive of photographs by black and diverse photographers, hear about the organisation and learn about a wealth of photographic work with huge cultural and historical importance.

Ali Eissa from Autograph in Shoreditch shows off the wonders of their archive to the Accumul8 participants.

Ali Eissa from Autograph in Shoreditch shows off the wonders of their archive to the Accumul8 participants.

About 95% of Accumul8’s participants this year are from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds and so this visit and significant relevance and importance to them and was something that they could all relate to.

The amazing and inspirational Gisela Torres then led the photography workshop around the streets of Shoreditch, with the students from Ravensbourne assisting and supporting the Accumul8 participants to take the best possible shots in the lead up to their exhibition at The Guardian.

Goda from Ravensbourne, Younnes from Freedom from Torture and Geron from East London YMCA on the Accumul8 Shoreditch Shoot.

Goda from Ravensbourne, Younnes from Freedom from Torture and Geron from East London YMCA on the Accumul8 Shoreditch Shoot.

The participants, who are from 9 different hostels across London, are now friends with each other, sharing their images and being open about their work and aspirations within the project. It is so amazing how the impact of this project goes beyond learning about photography and encourages confidence, communication skills and pride in the participants.

Gisela Torres, an Accumul8 tutor, shares her photography wisdom and skills with Jay and Alex, two Accumul8 participants on the Shoreditch Shoots photography workshop.

Gisela Torres, an Accumul8 tutor, shares her photography wisdom and skills with Jay and Alex, two Accumul8 participants on the Shoreditch Shoots photography workshop.

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Accumul8 photography sessions are go!

9 hostels, 36 participants, 6 student helpers, 2 film makers, 1 amazing tutor and a whole lot of energy – the Accumul8 photography workshops have started! There is such a positive vibe from having such a diverse cross section of people attending from all different backgrounds. Friendships are being made by people who just wouldn’t normally meet but are connecting because they are taking pleasure and excitement in being involved in a creative activity and learning something new, skills are being developed and positive experiences are being built that will help people increase their confidence, well-being and self esteem – which is what Accumul8 aims to do. Positive change is happening, on a localised level, but with an impact that changes lives and futures.

 

Learning about shutter speed, depth of field and apertures

Learning about shutter speed, depth of field and aperture

Concentrating and taking images

Concentrating and taking images