On 15th June 2011, I graduated from Central Saint Martins with an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Fine Art.
The only two things I can recall that I have failed are my first motorbike test, in 1984, and my art O level a year earlier.
So what happened in between?
From 2002-3 I had 9 months of weekly group art therapy, at IPTS, a SLaM therapeutic community.
During the whole of this time I made only autobiographical art. I found that by making an object, I could literally get the stuff (thoughts and feelings) out, after which I could observe and reflect on them in another way. I found this the most helpful part of the course, and it also lead me towards mainstream art groups and then 7 years of formal art study.
I am interested to know if my experience at IPTS was unusual or unique. Could a workshop taster session encourage participants to have a slightly expanded view of themselves? Might their interest be sparked enough for them to join a service user or mainstream art group (wtih support)?
Why is this important?
There is a body of evidence, internationally that makes links between art, recovery and social inclusion. The emerging findings from the SLaM consultation on and Arts Strategy for the Trust are that art is beneficial in a number of areas, including, peer support, social inclusion, purpose and meaning, as well as it being directly therapeutic.