Some of these ideas have been written by artists so could in a very few cases be a little un-accessible for support workers. Sometimes there is a little bit of film footage to accompany the instructions. This of course can never be an exhaustive list and see Resources section for further books and websites which might inspire you and for practical tips on running projects.

In choosing which art form to use with a group, it is advisable to consider a number of things:

  • Is this a new group, do they all know each other? You might need to start with some of the ice breaker games to bring them together and break down potential barriers and groups
  • Don’t always talk about ‘let’s do some art’……. This can be too overwhelming and the group may well assume they can’t do it from the start and already anticipate ‘failure’. Begin by talking about a common aim, perhaps making something for the walls in the building etc. and with some activity which can produce small achievable steps.
  • The Words section is very approachable and you can ask someone else to scribe if writing/spelling etc is an issue
  • In our experience, contemporary dance is particularly powerful but it is also extremely challenging to deliver. Be well prepared.
  • Is your project going to be issue-led – ie are you using the arts to address anger, gang culture, drugs etc or as diversionary and enjoyment?
  • Do you really need an outcome, an end product or is the ‘process’ of creating art the important journey in itself?
  • Remember that if you are an artist coming into a YOT or similar group, the support staff may be equally intimated by being asked to ‘do art’ as the participants
  • Think about space – will you be doing the activity in an existing and familiar space or taking it outside, in a park, in the street. Consider the implications and benefits of this.
  • If participants are particularly shy, then holding a camera and being behind the action can work well

View Ideas and Exercises