DAD4DADs 6 Ways 2 wellbeing workshop day at Astor College Dover

Schools and arts award

“Great to see some of the students have a go who I didn’t think would. Some of the students, having seen Luke Burrough on stage at the Marlowe PARK performance and now being close to him may make them realise that they could also aspire to do something like that too.” Victoria Chamberlain (Astor Dance Teacher)

“Thanks so much for letting Astor be a part of this great project. It was fab yesterday and the students seemed to get a lot out of it. Freyja (Six Ways to Wellbeing Champion) and I have been talking about the workshops and of how much we both enjoyed the day” Petra Matthews-Crow (Astor Art Teacher)

“I thought the workshop participants, on the whole, applied themselves well in many ways; rising to the physical challenges and showing a willingness to engage on an emotional level too. The less physically able students, in terms of their movement skills, were equally able, if they allowed themselves, to become immersed in a state of mind which produced some really touching qualities of physicality. Some students were obviously unable to engage fully with either the subject matter or the methods we were using to explore it. Clearly the paternal relationships that the day set out to explore can be very sensitive. It really struck me how quickly the majority of my participants were able to respond to this, both artistically and in some cases purely emotionally. It was a moving experience for me and I hope very much that it was for those taking part, if not immediately, then perhaps on reflection, or even subconsciously.” Luke Burrough

“The students that I worked with were a great advert for Astor college. They were emotionally aware enough to work on some really difficult themes, and think about certain aspects of their own lives in depth. They also showed a real empathy for one and another during the collaboration excercise . The work that we created was not necessarily about technical ability, rather an ability to create pieces that were emotive, and soulful. This for me, is one of the hardest things to do in the visual arts, and something that some artists never achieve. Teachers, staff and everybody made me feel extremely welcome, and comfortable enough to work in my own way.” Greg Stobbs

“The young people were immediately receptive with the concept of sound altering a space without physically adding or removing anything. We questioned why? Arriving at an answer that it is us that change and not the space, our perception and observation of that space, bringing an awareness of how easily we can alter and change the way we feel by our own choice. We then began creating sound with the voice, whistling, clapping and moving the feet. The young people were aware of how, by creating current sound they were able to alter their feelings  and subsequently their own perception of that space. Up cycling raw materials we created instruments using card and fishing wire. Crude but effective guitars were made, bongo drums and shakers. Using the instruments created we built sounds and rhythm empowering the young people with the process of a positive exercise concluding in a positive outcome. The session was successful and uplifting. The young people enjoyed the workshop, I knew this by the simple fact that they would not leave.” Richard Bundy

 “The question constantly on my mind in the lead up to the day was ‘How to create a safe enough space for young people to express thoughts and emotions about a significant male in their lives?’ As I anticipated, some of the young people were terrified of poetry and/or the theme and this came out as feigned indifference or a refusal to engage or an outburst of ‘clowning’. Gradually, after we’d played with a toy duck and with words and after we’d found ways of listening to each other and noticing what was ok to say – poetic phrases came tumbling. Happy memories were shared and pictures were painted in words of kind, fun-loving, caring men, as well as of stern, distant or absent figures. Some of the young people were very insightful about the life pressures on their fathers. A few young people chose not to go public about their relationship, which was fine but many were keen to have their poems captured on film.” Leah Thorn

“Natalie Prior and I worked with the young people initially before the workshops commenced. We introduced them to the 6 ways to wellbeing; showing them a short film and opening their awareness to how they are already enhancing their wellbeing by being part of the day . We divided them in to 6 groups, each with 1 wellbeing concept. They were given a large piece of paper and time to discuss ways in which they could integrate that into their daily lives. The room was energetic , all the young people were very able to be part of the discussion and gave lots of examples and ideas. Natalie and I were available to the young people and practitioners throughout the day to hold and support anything that came up. There was one young person who was very provoked by the workshops and was able to share with us their difficulties. In turn the school is looking into counselling support for them to manage their emotional needs. It felt like a great success, connecting with the young people emotionally and creatively with support offered.” Diane Bundy

Building on the legacy of the Inspire Nautical threads project and the connection with Petra Matthews-Crow, Dover Arts Development (DAD) is delighted to work once again with Astor College for the Arts with its DAD4DADs 6 Ways to Wellbeing project. The organisation on the day was seamless and it was exciting to meet Astor students and staff in the creative atmosphere of the school where everywhere one looks there is art, something very rare and special in our society.

After the introduction to the 6 Ways 2 Wellbeing by Natalie Proior and Diane Bundy the 45 Astor students split into groups for the dance, poetry, drawing and sound workshops. All the young people had the chance to do a morning and afternoon workshop. Ewan Golder and Dominic Pillai, the project film makers, were also on site during the day..

DANCE with Luke Burrough

The dance workshop was led by Luke Burrough from Jasmin Vardimon Company and explored both dance and theatrical skills looking at repertory from the company’s famous work PARK. PARK presents a breathtaking collision of highly acute physical theatre, text, athletic dance and funky music, delivering fresh statements about our time, where characters play, fight, fall in love and learn to survive – many emotional states that we explore as individuals and in terms of our relationships to others. In this workshop the relationship of the students to their fathers or significant male figure was explored.

DRAWNG with Greg Stobbs aka SQUIRL

Greg worked with students firstly observing some movement from Luke’s movement class. Then taking this work away the students built up graphic images including type, around  fathers, significant male  figure or lack there of.  This was based on real experience and/or imagination and dreams, using ink, pens, pencils and  scraps of paper. They worked on both collaborative and individual drawings.

POETRY with Leah Thorn

In the poetry workshop the young people were supported to explore their relationship with their chosen male figure in personal and powerful ways – through flow-writing, listening exercises and individual and collaborative poetry activities [including list poems and metaphor]. As a source of inspiration and stimulus for the writing, Leah shared poetry on the theme of fathers, along with an extract from her poetry/film ‘watch’.

SOUND with Richard Bundy

The workshop started with an open discussion of what the perception of sound is and went on to find a common directive to be achieved in the workshop: creating sound; vocal, instrumental and building instruments by up cycling cardboard and other materials.