This series of six online illustration workshops, led by illustrator AK Thaysen, focused on introducing survivors to a wide range of illustrative techniques. Projects included painting inner landscapes and gardens, writing affirmations with calligraphy, carving healing symbols, designing personalised stamps, and finding ways to symbolise and illustrate our “demons.”
The workshops culminated in an online exhibition where survivors' work is displayed alongside that of professional illustrators Chioma Ince and Molly Hankinson.
In these workshops, survivors had the opportunity to creatively express their emotions, practise decision making and creative problem solving, gain personal insight by reflecting on their pieces, share part of their identity within a small community, and boost their sense of personal accomplishment. By the end of the series, we hope that they are able to confidently identify themselves as illustrators. We also hope that they see illustration as a tool to communicate and cope with difficult and complicated thoughts and feelings.
Participants were given a tool kit which contained all the materials needed — including a paint palette, a set of gouache paints, calligraphy pens, black ink, and various brushes. A trained support worker was in attendance at each workshop.
AK is an artist, writer, and creative from Texas, now living in the UK. Although she loves exploring different mediums, she specialises in watercolour, gouache, and ink. AK believes wholeheartedly in the amazing therapeutic possibilities of creativity, in all its forms. Freehand is the second project she has contributed to for Survivor Arts Community. She also worked with SAC on its creative writing project, Uncovered Voices.
Chioma Ince is an Illustrator interested in exploring themes of politics, identity and most importantly creating and bringing to life vibrant narratives. Using collage as a main medium of communication her dynamic and playful use of pattern and texture compliment the bold and colourful work she creates.
Molly Hankinson is a visual artist and illustrator from South East London, now living and working in Glasgow. She enjoys looking at the honest and unapologetic representation of people who experience misogyny, with an unparalleled and celebratory reclamation and ownership of space evident in her work.
The general public are invited to view an online exhibition of illustrations by survivors and professional artists. This exhibition includes descriptions of the pieces by the artists themselves.
Thank you to Glasgow Life for funding this project!
Toys for Survival
Mobilising playfulness and pleasure as a radical act within a history of women’s resistance, healing and growth, Toys for Survival started life as a series of six workshops, offered free to survivors. The project resulted in an exhibition at the Glasgow Women's Library and a publication that brings together theories of Pleasure Activism; activities that engage with playfulness and touch; and creative responses from survivors. The publication will be distributed for free to relevant organisations and you can download your free copy here!
The Toys for Survival workshops were fun and playful. Participants learned about traditional and unconventional sculpture materials and, in doing so, engaged with their sensory selves through exploring tactility. We hope that meeting other survivors, learning new skills, and exhibiting their creative pieces can boost survivors' personal and creative confidence. A support worker from Glasgow East Women's Aid was present throughout.
The workshops culminated in survivor's own tactile sculptures being displayed in an exhibition at the Glasgow Women's Library running from the 13th of February until the 28th of March 2020. This exhibition displays their sculptures together with work by three professional artists - Leah Miller-Biot, Maria De Lima and Joanna Peace - as well as selected material from the Women's Aid Archive. We also ran an archive session for the workshop participants at the Glasgow Women's Library, where they interacted with material from the Women's Aid Archive, learning about ways that women have fought and resisted in Scotland throughout history.
The Toys for Survival workshops were planned and lead by Leah Miller-Biot. You can see her creative work here.
Toys for Survival aimed to introduce survivors to creative spaces in the Glasgow North East locale. The workshops were held at the Market Gallery, a charitable visual arts organisation that presents a varied programme of contemporary exhibitions, projects and events. The sculptures created in the workshops were displayed in a public exhibition at the Glasgow Women's Library, alongside work by professional artists Leah Miller-Biot, Maria De Lima and Joanna Peace.
The Toys for Survival exhibition opened in March 2020.
Toys for Survival also resulted in a small publication, which brings together theories of Pleasure Activism; activities that engage with playfulness and touch; and creative responses from survivors. This publication was available at the exhibition and has been distributed to several relevant women's groups. You can download your copy here.
Thank you to the Glasgow Connected Art Network
and to Creative Scotland for funding this project!
Thank you as well to our Toys for Survival partners, Glasgow East Women's Aid, the Glasgow Women's Library and Market Gallery; to the professional artists, Leah Miller-Biot, Maria De Lima and Joanna Peace; and to Glasgow Women's Aid for their advice at the planning stages of this project.
International Women's Day 2019
For International Women's Day 2019, The Survivor Arts Community (then called Uncovered Artistry) and the Glasgow School of Art Intersectional Feminist Society hosted a joint workshop and exhibition. In the workshop, survivors and members of the GSA Fem Soc created a beautiful collaborative quilt, learning new embroidery skills and working with recycled fabrics. This quilt was displayed over International Women's Day weekend alongside art by survivors and self-identifying women from the GSA community.
Thank you to everyone who came to the workshop, attended the exhibition and submitted art!