….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
Why did we teach art camp at the well-equiped Art Yurt in Cumbria?
In an exceptional effort to develop our Creative fusion, Kel1st and Yu agreed to teach 3 days of an art program with Eden Ventures, in Cumbria. The Art & Activities Camp occurred in the first two weeks of August 2016. It involved Camping which is really a stretch outside of the comfort zone for me. As usual, the curriculum fusing Calligraphy and Graffiti contents was teased out meticulously months ahead with Kel1st via real-time social media tools.
This was a joint effort between Kel1st and Yu Arts, From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation (FBMF) founded by Decima Francis (MBE) and the wonderful Eden Ventures (EV) Project in Cumbria. It was a way for us to test out some new ideas and see if there is a good fit for more future collaborations.
I do not have the conclusion to that yet but all sides are very optimistic that there is definitely cross-firing opportunities we can all do to address issues of the current Educational Deficit globally that often leaves unique little and even bigger humans with limited means of fulfilling their full creative and life potential. Education is the only way to overcome bigotry and radicalism in politics and fundamental beliefs worldwide. Education is the key to poverty alleviation AND foster a global respect for diversity; these qualities are sadly lacking in today’s socio-political climates with more funds spent on arms deals and less on educational content for future generations across many policies of many “allegedly” first world governments.
We wanted to show that a small group of people, working together, aiming towards an age of educational enlightenment, can in fact address, on perhaps a small scale (across only about 300 families in the rural area of Cumbria) a way for all of us to take greater inspiration for the education of the next generation by simply giving of our skills, knowledge and precious time.
As such, like From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation, which deals with urban deprivation leading to crime through peer pressure, Eden Ventures was very aware of the rural isolationism that may lead to lack of culture, lack of diversity of education and lack of life opportunities. Often it is through isolationism, that many youths, in both urban and rural areas find themselves loitering into “dropping out” of a more enlightened societal values and end up caught in the vicious cycle of petty crimes, consumer exploitative greed and willful ethical ignorance.
This was our starting point for bringing this collaborative educational effort together. I hope by sharing my feedback with Eden Ventures, in a transparent way through their questions and my answers, we give a good sense of what the role of Art classes can play in modern education to work with “the gifted” and “the disenfranchised” alike. The power of Artistic Integrity and its role in education has been sadly maligned by anti-intellectuals trends in global educational funding. We hope to address that in concrete, hands-on and practical ways globally in the very near future.
We thank all those who are part of the family of trustees and volunteers at FBMF and EV for recognizing the value of what Kel1st and Yu Arts has developed by crossing many many socio-cultural boundaries creatively. Thank you for trusting our visions and our ability.
It was an honor to share 3 days of Art Education with you.
Day 1: Indigenous Art Walkabout all day class
Day 2: Indonesian Batik Wax work all day class
Day 3: Modern Graffiti Fusion all day class
(On behalf of Kel1st and Yu Arts)
working in creative synergy with Randy Rodriguez (Kel1st NYC Graffiti Wild Style Master)
Kel1st and Yu Q&A with Eden Ventures
Location: Smarsdale Gill Viaduct on a private land which granted Eden Ventures permission to set up Art Yurts and other activities Yurts for education and camping!
Before we commence I just want to say that on the first night of the art camp, when I came out of my Bell Tent, I witnessed the first of this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower 2016, it was like the heaven opened and blessed the art mandala with a Dome of endless Star lights. It was like a dream as stars shot across the Milky way in the pitch dark surroundings, with only the inner illuminations of small lights inside each tent and the distance of the old Victorian Railway Bridge silhouetted as the only recognizable bit of human history against the vastness of the Universe twinkling above us!
Di Larfynn (on Behalf of EV): Although we’ve said it lots already, thank you again for being part of Summer Weeks 2016 – it would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication that the staff put in. It’s been a year of many mountains to climb by many people to make it happen and considering all that – that a success! Now it’s time for learning and reflection so we can build on what was good and learn from what was less good so that Summer Weeks 2017 will be equally or even more wonderful! If there’s anything you’d like to talk about just give me, Finn or Gem a twinkle, that’s 6 ears to listen!
Which week/s did you work on (include the training week if you did that)?
Cecilia (on behalf of K1Yu) : 1st week from 1st Aug 2016
EV: Which was your favorite week, and why?
K1YU: 1st week
EV: What did you think of the preparation for the summer weeks? Please comment on, for example, information you received, publicity, funding, clarity of roles, the admin you had to do.
K1YU: Good. Very tight and efficient.
EV: Did you find the safeguarding training valuable? Did you find it helped you manage yourself and others on site with safe and clear boundaries? Were there any situations that arose which you felt unprepared for?
K1YU: Yes. It was really good. I liked that we were invited to “look out for one another” and I got help from other Volunteers. I’ve worked in more volatile projects before where boundaries had to be set very clearly so I was very comfortable with the safeguarding procedures. I found it positive and efficient. I had no problems at all with camp environment. It went very smoothly and I really like the ratio of staff to kids. It is in my case approximately 1: 3 or 4 that is perfect for Art!
EV: For those who came on the training residential – Did you feel like it prepared you for your role at Summer Weeks? Was there anything that you think should have been included or anything you felt unprepared for when the kids came on site? For those who didn’t come on the training residential – Was there any other training or information you would have found useful before starting work?
K1Yu: I was unable to attend but everyone was so very positive and proactive in going through all the risk assessments and training with me via Skype and as soon as we met face to face.
EV: What did you think of the sites that we used?
K1YU: I think Smarsdale is a very nice site. Yes of course I would love more “campsite” facilities like maybe at least hot water to wash hands after the loo or a shower. It got a bit wet when it rained a lot so I really appreciated the Bell tent and the Stove on loan from Lilly (fr Kindlingplay trainings). It really helped me do my best with the art program as Art needs a certain level of basic needs fulfilled before creativity can blossom. It is more basic than I expected but everyone made it a glamping experience for me and I really appreciate the kindness!
EV: What about the numbers – too many/too few participants? Too many/few volunteers, trainees, support staff?
K1Yu: Apart from the very 1st session, my classes had more than 10 participants each so session for 3 days and everyone got the one to one art time they needed with me, even parents who wanted feedbacks, so that was great. The Ratio of 1:3-4 I had was perfect for teaching hands-on art involving everyone co-creating together.
EV: Were staff roles clear? Were you happy in what we asked you to do?
K1Yu: Yes, I was very happy with the whole experience and my role. I want to thank my Assistant Nem Sarton (trained in Art Pyschotherapy)and all my volunteers as they were really invaluable in making sure everything happened smoothly even when the weather caused us to have to move venues from the Art Yurt as we needed the wood fire stove in the big meeting Yurt to stop the wax for the Batik to keep solidifying with the cold and damp. Beeswax behaves differently in different weather because it is a natural material. We just had to think on our feet! Gemma and Di were both very positive with an immediate risk assessment given there was no way we could control this surprise due to the changes in weather. It worked out very well. All the participants enjoyed the Batik. I got very positive feedback from some parents who wanted to know where they could buy materials for their kids to continue using it at home.
EV: What about the activities? What was your favorite? Any you think didn’t work so well? Any ideas for any others?
K1Yu: Those who participated in the Indigenous walk got a lot out of the experience so ideally I would like to do a full day of that in the future instead of doing the walkabout in the morning and in the afternoon as well. But the weather did not permit it. But the change because of weather, meant that the drama club had the communal painting from the indigenous walks storytelling group painting to use to showcase during their performances and that meant more participation for the more introverted kids who normally prefer artistic activities to also come out and become presenters and speakers explaining the art in drama. I thought that was very positive.
Since we had a drummer in music 2 days after the indigenous walks in the future, it would be great to combine the two so that for part of the walks, we can see a fusion of how music and art travels together ….and are often co-created together. It just makes better artistic development for all.
EV: Please comment on anything else you wish. For example, the programming and rotas / inclusion of young people with additional needs and/or challenging behavior / structures / moving crew / equipment provided / wages / voluntary hours…..
K1Yu: I would like a more concentrated opportunity to teach the “gifted kids”. Often they are the ones that are very bright but without some “outlet” ends up being bored in traditional school structures and end up underachieving despite having above average natural abilities.
EV: How could we make Summer Weeks better?
K1Yu: Is there some way of stopping bugs from coming into my tent at night? My face was covered with bites on the last night. Beyond that, I had a good time. It is a stretch for me to camp without facilities so maybe opportunity to shower would be good for those volunteers living too far away to go home?
EV: What, if anything, did you learn about yourself /other people /the world?!!!
K1Yu: If one is in a tent, don’t switch on your cell phone in the dark….and if you do….should a giant bug hit you in the forehead, try not to panic and scream “Oh….*%$£ Bats!” as that wakes everyone up in their tents!
Thank you for putting up with that! Hahaha!
Seriously I found out I am very good with more introverted gifted kids whom later I am told normally don’t like talking a lot. For some reason, they click with the art and they talked a lot to me when I could give them one-on-one art time.
EV: Please tell us your favorite moment, it will make us smile!
K1Yu: When I got my wood burning stove from Lilly after a night of sleepless cold, lit the fire and Finn kindly brought me a bowl of food so I could just have some alone time as for 8 hrs straight I was interacting with people all day about art.
There was about 20sec where Lilly and I had a chance to talk about the Maslow Hierarchy in relation to camping and art in between Leading our separate teaching sessions! 🙂
Staying up too late eating cheesecake with Zephan and on a different evening talking with you with fire and incense going! Thank you. X
Running around like a mad woman holding up my mobile to see if I can get online so that I can confirm the 3rd day Graffiti Tagging workshop part of the Art camp program with Kel1st in USA and finding out that the only way I can get any signals at all is if I lied on my air mattress with my arms about 10 cm above my head pointing to the old Victorian Railway towards the Smarsdale Viaduct….and then for a short time I can get my mobile network wth 4G signals enough to send photos and text!
EV: What positive impact do you think Summer Weeks has? Big Q ALERT! Could be on the participants, yourself, the environment or the world economy – open to any angle.
K1YU: Gifted kids found out Art can help them communicate with the world if they want to.
EV: And lastly, what does Summer Weeks mean to you? Why do you do it?
K1YU: Summer week actually affirmed my faith in the ability of Art to create peace and cross barriers via the Art camp at the Art Yurt and it makes me more determined to have my art classes with the graffiti style master from new York accredited so that we can have our own official global art school.
Thanks for understanding our creative vision and supporting it with positive resources, Eden Ventures!
EV: It’s been a pleasure working with you all. Look after yourselves a bit now please so you can rest up and spread some of the Summer Weeks vibes around on your next adventures. x Di!
Cecilia is a Hong Kong Chinese-Australian Social Entreprneur, Artist, Directors of NGO in Africa, South Ameria, Asia and California who really really likes to "tell it how it is", having travelled to over 40 countries around the world & seen some interesting things every so often.
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