Words : Olivia Wedderburn
Images : Stewart Honeyman
Groups from the College One brief set up a third workshop last week working at Hulme Community Garden Centre, creating window boxes for insects with members of the community with learning difficulties. This followed two previous workshops lead by the group, one at a school where many of the students hope to have a placement next term, and another at the Centre with adults from the community.
The workshops involved students helping the public to weave boxes, create and cut out shapes, and decorate with recycled items, in an aim to create something fun for them to do whilst simultaneously being beneficial for the gardens. Workshops like this are not uncommon within Hulme Gardens, with weekly activities taking place on a Friday that this particular group engage with frequently. The workshop proved largely successful with over 20 members of the public attending in hopes of creating their own insect environment. Workshops like these enable the students to learn about how to interact and educate, and gives them an insight into what it would be like if they were to pursue a career within the care industry, specialising in using art as a therapeutic form.
Members of the group had not previously worked with one another, being interdisciplinary from Textiles to Fine Art, and all had different ranges of interest within pursuing further careers in this field. One was almost certain this was the area that she would go into post-university, whilst others said it was something they considered but wanted to gain a further understanding of. Unit X offers tasters of external practice and careers, encouraging you to work outside of your comfort zone and within completely different constraints from the art school setting, in order to help you decipher what areas you feel you could inherently benefit from.
The students spoke fondly of their experiences thus far, considering the project an “eye opener” and a “valuable experience”. These outcomes are part of the Unit X experience, but it is always exciting when students find themselves discovering more about who they are and what works professionally for them throughout the duration of this unit, as it develops their interests external of their own studies.
The workshop they conducted lasted two hours and was very much enjoyed, with several carers speaking with me about how it was nice to have students come in and interact with the Centre’s activities programme, as it shook up from the day to day and offered exciting new learning opportunities to everyone involved. The Centre’s relaxing nucleus is a stone’s throw from Stretford Road, but you would never know it once you step into its calm oasis, and therefore it makes it the perfect environment for activities and learning for the community. The students and the public sat on barrels of hay, sharing a joke and a cup of tea, and it was like our Unit X-ers had been doing this all their life, with a natural and confident air surrounding them making the whole workshop a massive success.