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Creativity in the time of Coronavirus

In these critical times, lockdown continues across most of the world. Life as we all know it has paused and the majority of us are confined to our homes. We are a small charity and we support people affected by homelessness. A safe place to call home is out of reach for our participants. Living in hostels or temporary accommodation, the negative effects of isolation and loneliness on mental wellbeing can only increase the anxiety and extreme vunerability felt in what is an already incredibly stressful and uncertain situation.

A Creative Community

We have worked so hard to create a supportive community amongst our group since our course started. We don’t want to lose this because of this ever changing situation. So, we have taken our creative workshops online, continuing connect our group virtually!

Accumulate 100 Challenge

Accumulate tutor Soofiya Chaudry developed a challenge for our group to complete but anyone can take part! Why not give it a go?  A list of 100 prompts from which to complete 100 drawings. There are no rules, draw in colour or black & white, sketches can be as weird & wonderful as you like! Why not share them with us? Click here to get involved.

Amazing artwork from our 100 Challenge!

Art Challenges

Every week we gather together our group via Whats app and Zoom and set a variety of creative challenges from photography to illustration. Sharing the results with the group and chatting together gives a great sense of togetherness and support. Huge thanks to Accumulate tutor Tori Taiwo and Ravensbourne University for your time and support to this workshop.

An image shared by our group as part of the Accumulate photo challenge

 

It was amazing to have this feedback during one of our online challenges……one participant said ‘‘Creating takes my mind to a goooood place…!”

Podcast Training

After the success of our podcast series Sound Judgement, we are so keen to keep this training running. The visible joy of learning can be seen on our participants faces here, continuing our podcast training via Skype. The group are currently working on a news podcast by and for people affected by homelessness providing much need support at this critical time. With big thanks to Williamz Omope, Greenwich Digital Skills and Ravensbourne University.

Podcast Training via Skype!

Art kits by post

Receiving a parcel in the post has been a great way to stay connected with our group. We send a creative activity along with some snacks to keep energised. Something for each person to look forward to and activity to keep busy and pass the time.

This venture has been so kindly funded by Crisis UK’s Emergency Fund. Enabling us to buy more kits and in turn support more people affected by homelessness find some positivity through creativity. With this funding it has meant that we have been able to support Jolt, an art studio based in Shropshire who support adults with mental health challenges through art and design projects. We have included one of Jolt’s beautiful felting kits in this week’s parcel. We are so happy we have been able to do good twice, supporting Jolt through purchasing their kit and providing an activity to those who are homeless, isolated and extra vulnerable at this time.

Art activity parcel including felt set by Jolt. Funded by Crisis UK

 

We have had requests now for over 200 of the Accumulate art kits from hostels. We will have an online exhibition space for everyone to connect into and enjoy what the group has achieved.

Zine of Love

A new project in the pipeline, working with our group creatively online, is a new Accumulate zine. ‘Zine of Love’ will be run by the Accumulate tutor ,visual artist & illustrator Soofiya Chaudry. Using illustrations and creative writing produced by group, recording their experiences in this difficult time.

 

We will continue to share and celebrate all our groups creativity over the weeks to come on social media. Please do follow along. Hoping to bring strength and support to our own creative community.

Stay safe

Accumulate x

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Accumulate group try out yoga at Level Six Yoga Studio, Peckham Levels

The Accumulate Photography Workshops 2018

The Accumulate Photography Workshops 2018 are nearly over for another year. They start in January and end mid-May with the exhibition,  and, this year, two things have really stood out, friendship and trust.

Friendship: We have people from different hostel groups, different countries and different age groups this year, more so than previously. We have an ex basket ball player from Kuwait, a retired gardener, a gospel singer, a chef and a cricket fan amongst our group. They come every week, sun, rain or snow, and what has been really apparent is that friendships have been made, people are hanging out with different people, they meet outside of the Accumulate photography workshops and they all “high five” each other when they arrive and hug at the end.

Friendship is so positive, and sometimes we can take it for granted. Friendship counters loneliness – which can be a trigger for mental health issues and depression, and it means you are connected to other people in a positive way. The Accumulate participants are not connected together because they live in a hostel and have the same life circumstance. They are connected together through their love of doing something creative, they communicate and share themselves through this, and they witness and experience a bond with people who they look forward to seeing each week and spending time with.

Mask making at the Accumulate "Identity" Workshop which took place at The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Mask making at the Accumulate “Identity” Workshop which took place at The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Trust: When we began the Accumulate 2018 photography workshops, there was a wariness, aloofness and inhibition that spread across the group. No one wanted to put their hand up to ask a question, there was a bit of “them and us” going on, and there definitely wasn’t a sense of trust or security. Everyone started off a bit unsure of what they had embarked on, a bit unsure of themselves and definitely unsure of the other people in the room. Slowly, trust has built up. Trust between the participants, the participants and the student helpers and between the participants, student helpers and the tutors. Once that trust began to take place, we started to introduce other creative activities, beyond photography. The group made visual art in response to the Basquiat exhibition at The Barbican, made their own protest t.shirts for a London Fashion Week activity and made masks for the “Identity and Culture” talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

But out of all of this creativity, one activity has stood out above all else and has been the emotional and rewarding highlight of the project so far – Yoga. This past week the Accumulate group had their first yoga lesson. That this actually happened is a sign that these 18 people, the Accumulate participants, now all trust each other, feel good about themselves and have found their self-confidence to try something new and outside of their comfort zone. This was is the biggest achievement of the project so far. It also symbolises what Accumulate stands for and sets out to do – to build confidence, trust and empowerment through creativity. Seeing the Accumulate group participate in a yoga lesson, love it and want to do more just shows just how far they all have come.

The Accumulate group try out yoga at Level Six Yoga Studio, Peckham Levels

The Accumulate group try out yoga at Level Six Yoga Studio, Peckham Levels

Accumulate Scholarship winners Luke and Jay with Linda Drew, Head of Ravensbourne College

Scholarships