Schools and arts award

The final DAD4DADs 6 Ways to Wellbeing event to celebrate the project’s achievements was held at the Roundhouse Theatre in the Dover Discovery Centre in Dover on February 26th.

The day started with an introduction by Joanna where she pointed to the elements that had contributed to the success of the project as well as setting it within her own personal biography.

“As a young artist soon after graduating from the Royal Academy Schools in 1970 I met a man, who later became my husband, who was intensely interested in wellbeing. He had been amongst the first in the UK to study Gestalt therapy with one of its founders Fritz Perls. For those of you who may not know, Gestalt Therapy is an experiential Therapy emphasizing personnel responsibility that focuses on the individuals experience in the present moment.Together we transformed the derelict Dimsdale Radiator Factory at Fulham Cross in London into THE WORKS – a studio collective bringing artists from fine art together with practitioners from the so called “alternative” healing arts that were arriving and growing interest in London at that time. 45 years later you can imagine my excitement bringing DAD into an arts project for young people funded through public health with the aim of evaluating the effect on the mental wellbeing of all those involved through their “live it well” six ways to wellbeing programme.”

The success of the project has been manifold:

The dynamic relationship with our partners the Jasmin Vardimon Company working closely together with Lauren Baldock and with an ever available critical friend in Ian Ross

Our practitioners: Richard Bundy, Luke Burrough, Greg Stobbs, Leah Thorn and our filmmakers Ewan Golder and Dominic Pillai.

Our wellbeing support team: Diane Mae Bundy, Natalie Prior and Jane James

The schools: Astor College for the Arts, East Kent College, Folkestone Academy, Sandwich Technology School

Our wellbeing champions and all the young people involved in the project.

A fantastic group of people able to deliver a fantastic project due to the forsight of the commissioners: KCC, Artswork and Royal Opera House Bridge shaping the project to provide not only equality of opportunity but excellence ofopportunity.

The fact that Kent Arts & Culture flagged up this opportunity and supported the programme gave us encouragement and confidence. Thanks also to the Six Ways to Wellbeing team for their support.

After Joanna’s introduction, Ewan Golder presented the DAD4DADs 6 WAYS 2 WELLBEING project film: a wonderful acheivement and legacy to this exceptional project.

Petra Matthews-Crow brought Arts Award students from Astor College for the Arts and Olivia Duggan came with 5 of the Wellbeing champions from East Kent College who shared their experience of the Six Ways to Wellbeing in wonderfully lively presentations that involved dance, poetry and sound, as well as a personal reflection on the project. The young people spoke movingly about their personal experience of the project, which explored the theme of fatherhood, and its effect on their daily lives: “The 6 ways of Wellbeing project have had an impact on my outlook on life and has changed my personal views of my Dad and our relationship. The project has made me think a lot about my life, family and friends. The teachers of both groups were rightly proud of their students’ performances.

Greg Stobbs’ aka Squirl then presented the DAD4DADS 6 WAYS 2 WELLBEING project book: “This has been a very important project and far away from the flashy success stories, this is the kind of project that really matters.” – Arts Council England’s Jon Linstrum voiced his appreciation of the book by saying he, “particularly loved the drawings of Dads’ reproducing the repeated movements of their children and thought this basic idea, and the way it was realised, was a wonderful encapsulation of the project and its aims.” 

The book was then presented to Sarah Bottle for Dover Library as well as to the Commissioners.

Finally Jane James, educational catalyst, coach and systemic consultant, who had led the first workshop with the teachers and the DAD for DADs team at the initial induction day, Drew the threads together – integrating the themes of connectedness and creativity with all present in a truly intergenerational way with a long piece of pink thread.

Lucy Medhurst from Artswork said it was, “a really wonderful celebration event. It was fantastic to witness the genuine enthusiasm and enjoyment which the programme created and the ingenious and creative ways in which you have interpreted the Six Ways to Wellbeing.”

Diana Baldwin from Dover Town Council summed up the mood by saying, “at the end of the event many of the participants and audience were visibly moved – the best tribute to the success of the project in building well-being.”

The resoundingly positive response to the day’s celebration was also expressed by Arts Council England’s Jon Linstrum who found it to be “an inspiring event documenting a project which every town in the country could benefit from.”

“I was impressed by the deep engagement and understanding of the 6 Ways to WellBeing. I felt DAD had enabled the facilitators they worked with to fully inhabit the ideas behind and the daily practice of well being. It felt real.”
Diane Dever  Folkestone Fringe

Really well done for today, you have seen this project through and it has been great. What a fabulous book and film. You two and your projects are always great 🙂 Petra Matthews-Crow

Louise Love took photos of the event.