We are Branchline
A Social Care, Play and Arts collective.
We believe all young people have the right to experience and explore creativity.
We support learning disabled young people to take part, lead and progress in the arts
Building on the success of Ordinary Art 2018 Lifeworks Young Volunteers are beginning to plan for Ordinary Art 2019. They wish to use the festival as a ‘safe space’ for learning disabled young artists to explore their experiences as learning disabled young people and potentially encourage social change:
“We are taking a risk; this is our chance; for people to hear what we want to speak” Lucy, Bryn and Brioney
To tell people “You are not the only one” Rhi
“Nobody is the same”
Currently Branchline is working in partnership across Devon and Torbay to enable the growth of the festival; Play Torbay have been given a green light by Dartington Hall to create a bespoke Quest for the Dartington Hall as a heritage site; Lifeworks is working with Inclusive Town Totnes, Caring Town, The Turning Tides Project and Funky Llama to bring their energy and expertise into the Festival development space and ‘in the spirit of collaborative practice’ the Branchline has joined Torbay Culture’s Creative People and Places Partnership, sharing the Ordinary Art model to increase participation in Torbay.
The young curators are wanting to explore music making, drama and animation in more depth at this year’s festival; as well as dance, film; fine art and alternative art. Using them all as a tool to connect; to reduce loneliness. In their words: They want for their festival to be “whacky”, they want “normal people” to come to their festival…
To realise their ambitions the young curators, supported by the Branchline Partnership, have mounted a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the much-wanted animation component and contribute toward the costs of Jam Buddies, a new Inclusive Jam Session in Totnes, making music for Ordinary/Extraordinary 2019.
As part of a new Crowdfunder Pilot Scheme being run by Devon County Council ‘if’ the Ordinary/Extraordinary Young Leaders achieve half of their target, Devon County Council might match it.
To become an Ordinary/Extraordinary Supporter please visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ordinaryextraordinary2019
Crowdfunding campaign closes 17 June.
A provisional date of 25 and 26 October has been set. If you want to get involved, please contact Matt Jefferies M: 07976 948 518 email: [email protected]
- BUILDING CONNECTIONS
Over the last year, a need has become apparent:
“Peer support is very important for young people, helps them realise they are not the only one.” (Parent)
“I just like to see people be happy; this is a great opportunity for everybody; to tell people – you’re not alone” (Lifeworks Young Volunteer)
With support from the Co Op Foundation the Branchline partnership is currently working with young volunteers to create a peer-led support group and together combat YOUTH LONELINESS. The Building Connections Pilot was led by 10 learning disabled young people age 16-25 working together to create a safe space to connect on and offline. The project was enabled by the Branchline partnership and culminated in a Community Sharing Event attended by 39 people at the end of March, 2019:
“A fabulous afternoon. So great to see the capabilities of these young people. Warm and friendly ethos! Let’s get more community input.”
Feedback from parents of the young leaders is indicative of project value:
“Thank you to everyone involved with the Building Connections project.
It was a great opportunity to see the work that everyone has been engaged in and gave parents, carers and those from the wider community, the opportunity to hear the voice of our young people.
As a parent, I have seen my daughter grow in confidence and determination, and develop an increasing sense of belonging both within the group and the wider community.
I loved the opportunity to engage with the group – and to hear the voices of our young people.
The film was moving, thought-provoking, and empowering. It gave young people the opportunity to ask the questions, to raise the issue for themselves, and to challenge people to think about the issues in a gentle and effective way. Wow, it was brilliant!!
I feel so proud to be associated with such amazing young people.”
To hear the young leaders of this project speak about loneliness please see below.
- ALL ABOARD
Young people participating in ALL ABOARD create “a grand experience” for families visiting South Devon Railway and inspire a wholly positive response “Most fun I’ve had on a train in a long time”
ALL ABOARD was a collaborative project involving the Branchline partnership, the South Devon Railway Trust (SDRT), Ashburton Museum and Newton Abbot Town & GWR Museum. Our project aim was to bring participatory multi-art form expertise together with rich heritage knowledge to inspire learning disabled children and young people to connect with their local community through exploring the heritage of the Totnes – Ashburton Branch-line in the 60-year anniversary of its closure. ALL ABOARD successfully connected 54 learning disabled children and young people with their local heritage.
- RADIO DOCUMENTARY
Working with Soundart Radio, the young ALL ABOARD research team used all the material they gathered to create a radio documentary to be shared as part of a digital installation in the ALL ABOARD Exhibition at South Devon Railway 01 and 02 September and then on Soundart Radio thereafter:
- 3D SOUND INSTALLATION
Branchline Partners, Daisi (Arts Education Partnership) enabled the participation of the Moor to Sea Music Collective who supported children and young people from SPLASH to create a 3D sound installation for the SDR Gardens:
“Visitors to the Lee Moor Museum in the secret garden discovered a very different experience. Attached to the big door was an interactive installation that enabled people to make music by simply touching old copper pennies. Their action of touching the pennies set off sounds that were unexpected. Some of the adults seemed very surprised whilst children were keen to just keep the sounds going.” South Devon Railway Trust Volunteer Steward
- DIGITAL INSTALLATION
Working with filmmaker Martha Moopette and Soundart artists, LD young people from Lifeworks contributed to the creation of digital installations for the picnic carriage at SDRT Museum, Buckfastleigh and the waiting room at Staverton. The artists transformed a static carriage at SDR into a working studio and created a zoetrope enabling the young people to create animations for the digital installation.
Audience response: What have you learnt? “People’s reactions to travelling on the railway.” What did you best enjoy? “The way the picnic cart was transformed.” What will you take away? “The lovely idea of making artwork on the railway.”
- PRINT MAKING
Young people from Lifeworks worked with Daisi Printmaker Ali Dahill to explore the heritage of the line and create 2D hanging pieces for the ‘end of the SDR line’: Totnes station – so impressed were the South Devon Railway Trust these have remained a permanent feature on the railway.
Audience response: What have you see? “Loved the sculpture and digital media and printed posters at Totnes.” What did you learn about? “History of the line and the talents of the learning disabled young people.” What did you best enjoy? “The enthusiasm of all the participants and staff.”
- DANCE INSTALLATION
Children and young people from Play Torbay age 6 – 17 and Lifeworks age 14-22 worked with Farflung Dance Theatre, commissioned by Dance in Devon as part of their ALL ABOARD dance project, over the course of two weeks to create a very special performance piece for the SDR train to be performed as part of the ALL ABOARD exhibition. Dance in Devon also organised for us to have studio rehearsal space at a local community school and the SDRT worked closely with the Branchline artists to make the ALL ABOARD performance accessible to all whilst at the same time ensuring everyone’s safety.
Audience response: What did you best enjoy? “Great to see dance on a train.” What will you take away? “Great way to explore train elements.”
Feedback from participants: “It’s exciting to be dancing on a train” explains one of the young participants, “All Aboard is all about joining in and I like joining in”
- PEOPLES MUSEUM PIECES
Young people participating in the ALL ABOARD PROJECT worked with the Community Engagement Officer for Newton Abbot Town and GWR Museum, Kate Green, to craft Peoples Museum pieces to be exhibited at ALL ABOARD and then in the brand new Newton Abbot Town and GWR Museum.
On 01 and 02 September, the young creators returned to SDR to share their work with family, friends and SDR visitors. Participating young people were enabled to undertake their Arts Award, as an accessible route into accredited learning as part of the process. So popular was the event with volunteers and patrons that the exhibition was also shown at October Half Term and Christmas. Altogether the All Aboard exhibition attracted 5082 visitors, 24 children and young people achieved their Discover Arts Award and 18 undertook Explore.
‘ALL ABOARD’ did exactly that; it brought arts organisations together with social care providers and local museums to connect LD young people with their local heritage and inspire creative enterprise:
“Morgan is being formed by his experiences within this safely held programme and finding out who he is and what interests him beyond Marvel Super Heroes and James Bond! He is surprising us all – thank you.” Feedback from a grateful parent.
The Branchline partnership is working across Plymouth, Devon and Torbay.
To find out more about Branchline e-mail [email protected] phone 01803 861 060
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