A Load of Rubbish?

13 Jul 2018

Collaboration with Sheffield-based artist Sarah Jane Palmer brought about a project of equal measure in creativity, education and fun – and enabled marginalised young people to produce an art exhibition from rubbish collected from the local community.

Waste was gathered from the areas of Fir Vale and Page Hall in Sheffield, with the aim of transforming the negative aspect of litter into something positive. Following Sarah’s lead, our Education Centre learners got to grips with the intriguing challenge of creating hand-crafted sculptures using the recycled waste material.

By litter-picking first hand, this project highlighted the vast extent of the waste problem. Learners were able to engage with their surroundings better and develop a sense of responsibility. The sculpting aspect allowed them to nurture and grow via a creative outlet, as they expressed themselves in a safe environment, creating a diverse range of surrealist, yet life-like figures.

Art is a powerful outlet of self-expression, with the potential of bringing mental health benefits. But it is not only personal development which benefits from this project. The finale brought about a social action dynamic, as the local community became target to some good-natured fun.

Once the sculptures were complete with every last paint stroke added, mischief ensued. The sculptures took to the streets, disturbing the orthodoxy of our immediate surroundings. This allowed art to be introduced to local communities, allowing accessible art to a variety of cultures who would not normally visit exhibitions.

Shaunagh Carroll, Senior Fundraiser at Endeavour said: “It was a great privilege for Sarah to provide us with her guidance and expertise throughout the project. Our learners took away a great deal from the experience in terms of creativity, teamwork, and confidence, which will stand them in good stead for future practices”.

You can watch a video Sarah made for the project here, and find out more about Sarah’s work here.

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