Art Therapy and Creative Mentoring: What's the difference?
We caught up with Claire Parker, a HCPC registered Art Psychotherapist and TMC Creative Mentor, to talk about the differences between Art Therapy and Creative Mentoring.discover more >
It’s highly likely that whoever introduced you to that hobby, pastime or creative experience was a parent, grandparent or other family member. Is this always the case for our Children in Care and care experienced children and young people?
“When you’re in the care system, you get quite a lot of built up emotions and don’t know how to express them properly and talk about them, but therefore when you have a Creative Mentor, you don’t have to talk about them, you can explain it through your hands” – Participant of The Mighty Creatives’ Creative Mentoring Programme.
There is a recognition, that each care experienced child or young person’s early experiences would most likely have been adversely affected by trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and because of this, they are less likely to have accessed arts and cultural opportunities. This access has only been exacerbated by the global Coronavirus pandemic, now also being recognised as an Adverse Childhood Experience.
“I can’t get my feelings out when I talk. This is easier, it means I can say what I’m feeling” – Participant of Rap and Write Project in Birmingham and Dudley.
At this time, where there is greater awareness around the importance of good mental health, it is vital we have a more balanced and varied learning offer that ensures all our children and young people are able to be creative and use their own free time purposefully and in a way that enhances their wider experiences, raises their aspirations and empowers them to realise their own potential.
This is why we have been working with the Midlands Virtual Schools Network and Arts Connect to develop My Creative Track – A Pathway to Arts and Culture for Care Experienced Young People.
My Creative Track is a progression framework that has been developed to help guide children and young people in care, and the adults who support them (Foster Carers, Key Workers, Social Workers, Designated Teachers, Residential Home Workers etc.), to engage with a journey of arts and cultural experiences. The framework offers suggestions of arts and cultural activities, experiences and opportunities from across a range of art forms. These art forms include:
The framework is structured to take a child or young person right from the beginning of their arts and cultural journey as their first introduction, right to supporting them into a creative lifestyle. Children and Young People can work across these art forms through six stages on the Creative Track, with the help of a supporting adult to help them grow and develop their interests and experiences. Each stage develops with slight progression increasing engagement, achievement and ambition. Here’s an outline of the stages and how they progress below:
Here’s an example of how an art form might progress. We’ve taken some activities from the Music suggestions through each stage:
Children and young people can choose to focus on one, many or all of the art forms as they work through the framework.
You and your child/young person can start the Creative Track journey wherever feels right to you. We recognise that children and young people can be at different parts of the journey, regardless of their age. So, a 5-year-old can start at the beginning, as well as a 15-year-old, if that’s where they are in their journey. Alternatively, another 5-year-old may have lots of experience in arts and culture and may feel starting later on in the framework is right for them.
Therefore, you do not have to start at Stage A, you might want to start nearer the middle. Take a look at the stages to make the best decision for you and your child/young person.
Each stage includes:
There are lots of points within the track where your child/young person can draw, write, scribble or note down any responses, discussions or ideas to get you started to.
My Creative Track is designed for supporting adults to use alongside their child/young person, but also for the child/young person to use it themselves dependent on their age and ability to lead their own learning. However, it is always useful, especially for those care experienced children and young people, to have a supporting adult assisting them in accessing arts and culture, as they may have never experienced arts and culture previously.
We class a supporting adult as anyone working/living closely with a child or young person and this includes but is not limited to:
The track also mentions Creative Professionals, but who are they? Well, we class anyone working within the art forms as a Creative Professional. We may also refer to them as artists or arts professionals. For example, they might be a songwriter, sound technician, events organizer, photographer… and the list goes on!
If you are a Virtual School in the East Midlands and would like to work with us on the My Creative Track framework, please do get in touch with Emily York, our Youth Programme Manager at The Mighty Creatives by emailing Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a Virtual School in the West Midlands and would like to work with us on the My Creative Track framework, please do get in touch with Pepita Hanna, Arts Connect’s Associate Director by emailing email@example.com.
If you are based in the East Midlands, why not check out our Mighty Connections website. This website is a simple-to-use online directory for schools to search for cultural education offers from cultural organisation. You can search easily and for free.
Why not also sign up to our Mighty Hub of Creativity too? This includes free online resources selected from the very best cultural organisations across the East Midlands and wider across a range of art forms and for all age ranges.
You may want some more bespoke support for your children and young people. Have you considered Creative Mentoring? Creative Mentoring is 1:1 approach to working with care experienced children in care, where they work 1:1 with an artist over a period of time to explore their social and emotional challenges from a creative distance.
If you have any further questions or enquiries about My Creative Track please do get in touch with the TMC team.
If you are based in the West Midlands please get in contact with Arts Connect, our partner organisation in the region by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out their Arts and Culture Directory here. You can look for organisations and artists in the West Midlands to work with in your school or setting based on their art form, age group and proximity to your location. You can also view which organisations are Artsmark Partners, and Arts Award Centres and Supporters. You can search easily and for free.
Why not look at their free library of curated digital resources here? Resources have been selected from cultural organisations across the West Midlands and nationally, crossing a wide range of art forms and for all age ranges and key stages.
You can also sign up for their enewsletter and keep up to date with all of their work and activities.