Residents at Cabrini House, Diagrama’s home for adults with learning disabilities, have been exploring different methods of art in the first of many sessions with volunteer Sophie Bament, who recently graduated with a 1st Class Arts Degree.
Diagrama Foundation is the lead partner in a new European Art Project, GALA (Gentle Art, Living Art). The project aims to create new cultural inclusion activities for vulnerable people by training care workers and volunteers in Gentle Learning techniques developed by Groep Ubuntu in Belgium – which is renowned for excellent professional practice in communicating, motivating and empowering disadvantaged people.
Cabrini residential manager Michelle Dyne said: “Sophie has been encouraging residents to use a black pen in a way they may not have explored before, focusing on objects and drawing them in their own unique style. She has also encouraged everyone to use other instruments to paint with - and to not worry about getting messy! Judging by the amount of smiles all around the room, the art session was a huge success."
Sophie added: “Since joining the project in March, and feeling very inspired after a trip to Belgium to learn about the practices of Group Ubuntu, I know the work I am doing with Cabrini residents needs to stimulate and engage them, allowing them to discover and fulfil their artistic potential.
Diagrama’s methodology encourages the vulnerable people it supports to lead as fulfilling a life as possible, through nurturing development and introducing new experiences.
Sophie has started leading weekly workshops, where participants and staff have the opportunity to explore a range of different art mediums. So far this has included still life with fine liner pens, painting with unconventional tools, clay, sculpture using cardboard to model the human form and modelling with mod roc and pipe cleaners.
Michelle said: “Sophie’s enthusiasm and talent has really brought out the artistic sides of our residents and all of them are always looking forward to the next art session. We are really looking forward to them developing their individual talents in the next phase of the project.”
The GALA project will culminate in an exhibition of artwork from groups of vulnerable people from across Europe, which will be held at Rochester Cathedral next year. Funded by the Erasmus Plus Programme (European Lifelong Learning, Adult Education measures) the project also has partners from four other European countries: Groep Ubuntu (Belgium), Association ProVita (Romania), Fundacion Diagrama (Spain), l’Art et la Maniere (France).