On this website, you’ll find the ‘spark’ – something brilliant that can help you on your way to using the arts for the first time or for refreshing your brain and trying something new. It is designed to be slightly quirky – we are using sketches, film footage and photographs taken on our ‘Barnstorming Day’ as we believe in being creative ourselves! Change things, adapt things – it is all recyclable. The site contains a compilation of things that have worked for us, there is some repetition, some similar information just presented in a different way, some which is more appropriate to artists than support workers and vice versa. There are practical tips on running actual workshops, ideas on evaluation processes, thoughts on the impact of the arts and resources covering websites, articles, publications, books and online information.

In March 2011 a group of professionals came together for a ‘Barnstorming Day’ to discuss and share experiences of using the arts with vulnerable groups, especially young people. At Thames Valley Partnership we have been running arts programmes for over eight years and just know that they have an impact on our most disengaged groups in society. We called our day ‘Barnstorming’ as it took place in a barn in the lovely surroundings of our offices in the village of Chilton, just outside Thame in Oxfordshire.

This website is never going to be comprehensive and is not intended to cover every aspect of working with vulnerable groups. If you have a good idea, a ‘must have’ resource etc – please le me know and we can consider including it on the website. All content has been contributed by the participants on our ‘Barnstorming Day’ and from our past experience of running projects but it is only a collection of our ideas and methods and not a definitive guide.

With thanks to the group of professionals who came together for a Barnstorming Day.

  • Dionne Barber · Freelance artist ·
  • Kat Belcher · Arts Learning Centre Project Manager, The Lemonwedge, The Beaconsfield School
  • Johnny Diorio ·
  • Trudi Fisher · Blueprint Short Stay School, Aylesbury
  • Andy Fleming · Andrew Fleming Photography ·
  • Rob Gilmour · Music Educator ·
  • Kirsty Hogg · ETE (Education, Training and Employment) & KYPE (Keeping Young People Engaged) Worker, Windsor and Maidenhead Youth Offending Team
  • Matt Hull · Graphic design for Print and Web ·
  • Karen Kirkwood · Artistic Director, Theatre ADAD ·
  • Linda Mason · Film-maker/editor and Creative Facilitator ·
  • Stu McCllellan · Artist ·
  • Ros Mengech · Meadowbrook College, Oxford
  • Siobhan O’Meara · Oxford Youth Offending Team
  • Christina Pepper Creative Junction ·
  • Jon Potter · Company Paradiso ·
  • Katy Poynter · Intensive Support Personal Adviser, Connexions Bucks ·
  • Nicholas Priest · Intensive Support Personal Adviser, Connexions Bucks ·
  • Maria Ryan · Dance practitioner
  • Rachael Small · The Oaks Primary Pupil Referral Unit, Amersham
  • Jane Turner ·
  • Christine Wilkinson · Freelance artist