Over the Covid-19 restrictions Art at the Start have been sending out boxes of art materials and ideas to try at home to vulnerable families. The first 50 were funded by Vicky’s School of Social Sciences research budget and then we were lucky to win funding from the University’s Public Engagement Seed Fund to do 100 more. The boxes contained everything that families with young children would need to try 12 different creative activities and were designed to encourage positive interactions and help wellbeing during the pandemic.
A report looking at our preliminary findings from interviews with parents who received a Home Art Box has just been published. We saw several benefits including increased parental confidence to make art together and increasing connections between parent and child.
Our report – ‘Art boxes supporting parents and infants to share creative interactions at home: an art-based response to improve well-being during COVID-19 restrictions’ – is published open-access in Public Health and is free to read here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033350621000536
We are really happy that the Art Boxes are continuing to develop and receive interest. We have done follow up packs with the International Women’s Centre and are now working with Amina, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery so we can continue to reach local families. We are also looking at adapting boxes beyond the pandemic and creating a book resource based on all the ideas and the feedback from families.
Inspired by the current exhibition at the DCA by Stuart Whipps, we have collaborated with the University of Dundee Botanic Gardens to offer families from Homestart and Dundee International Women’s Centre free visits and creative activities when they are there.
There is now an amazing mud pit for wee ones to explore, try out some messy play, and use their imaginations to create small muddy worlds.
And we have left activity packs with ideas for mud painting, creating rubbings and making art from leaves.
Happily the mud area is open to any visitors to the Botanics and you can now also pick up a worksheet with a rubbing hunt, crayons and a hedgehog to create with leaves from reception so please do visit with children and have a shot. The botanics is such a beautiful space to visit and the mud area is in a lovely cosy greenhouse so it’s perfect if the weather isn’t great.
We have also made 0-3 activity packs for the DCA create space which tie in to the exhibition. The Create Space is free to book for your family during your visit to DCA and you will be able to play and try out the packs. You can book online through the DCA website here
All this week Art at the Start, DCA and Dundee Science Centre have teamed up to do science and art activities, all themed on art and looking. You can find them all on the science centre’s home learning portal here
You’ll find some colour theory, optical illusions, remembering games and more. There are also links to older ones activities that connect with previous exhibitions at DCA.
During the social distancing measures for Covid-19 we have had to end all our public messy play sessions and all our art therapy groups. We are posting art activities that are easy to do at home on our website and posting these regularly on social media. To keep up to date with these you can follow us on Twitter @ArtattheStart1 or on facebook @artatthestartdundee
To keep offering support to families who were due to have art therapy we have developed a scheme of Home Art Boxes. The first 40 boxes went out to families in May. These were packed in Vicky’s garden and delivered out to families at home with lots of baby friendly art materials and a pack of 12 activity ideas to try together. This week we were awarded Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Seed Funding to roll these boxes out more widely and keep reaching families who will benefit. We are collecting feedback to evaluate if families found these beneficial.
We have sadly had to take the decision to postpone all our Art Therapy groups, home visits and public messy play sessions for the time being to help social distancing in the Coronavirus pandemic. We are really sorry to all the mums and little ones but of course everyone’s health and wellbeing is our highest priority.
If you are home with children and looking for activities we will try to keep posting suggestions and you can check our recipes and ideas page for a complete list. You can also follow us on twitter @ArtattheStart1 where we will be posting ideas. We hope you can enjoy some quality time together being creative during this difficult time.
Holly has been working with Dundee Contemporary Arts on a couple of projects, and it seems Autumn is the time to share them!
Firstly, she interviewed Sarah Derrick, Head of Learning, about the development of the learning programme at DCA over the course of 20 years. This article has been published by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education:
43: Profession and Practice
Talking About Art
Secondly, Holly ran a project at DCA earlier this year exploring the impact of the Create Space on family learning. The full report is now available here: Talking About Art Full Report
Thanks to all participating families!
And finally, Holly will give a short presentation on Talking About Art at this year’s Engage Conference in Newcastle, as part of the Soapbox session on 5th November, sharing her findings with gallery and museum staff from the UK and beyond.
Unlocking Culture: an entitlement for children and young people
The Art at the Start team had a visit from BBC Scotland’s The Nine team.
Reporter Louise Cowie joined us for a messy creative session at DCA last week and then visited the Minime lab with her own mini me. The program aired on BBC Scotland last night. Catch it on I-Player here
All the little ones had fun with sensory play trying rainbow rice, a dinosaur swamp of jelly and peas and some cornflake farm land. Then we tried some messy painting with shaving foam marbling and bubble printing.
We had a great time and the little ones have all enjoyed seeing themselves on the TV today!
We are running art therapy groups for parents and their infants at DCA and at the Dundee International Women’s Centre this term. All the parents and their little ones got stuck in with painting on their first week. Here are some of their beautiful painty creations. They all definitely needed the bath afterwards, with as much paint on little people as on the paper!
If you are interested in art therapy groups yourself and have a child under 3 then please do get in touch with the art therapist for more information. email@example.com
TALKING ABOUT ART
We are looking for volunteer families* to explore, draw, and discuss art.
At a loss for words when you look at art?
Or do you always know what to say?
How can galleries help us find our voice?
As part of the long term project Art at the Start, University of Dundee is partnering with Dundee Contemporary Arts Learning Programme to explore what happens when families view and make art together. The Talking About Art project will research how families use the self-led activities at DCA. The researcher, Holly Rumble, aims to determine how these activities impact on family engagement with the visual art exhibitions.
Holly will lead the sessions, which last for 45 minutes, and take place in early 2019.
Sessions in January and February will look at the work of Lorna Macintyre
Sessions in late March and April will look at the work of David Austen
We will provide refreshments and a small gift to thank you for your time.
For an information sheet please click here: Adult information sheet
If you have any questions please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*(with at least one child under 16)
Thanks for reading!