The project was developed in partnership with SECOS, a Bernardo’s project targeting Sexually Exploited Children On The Streets. Young women who attend regular ‘drop-in’ art sessions produced a fold up book-work with Jack Drum Arts. Jack Drum had already worked with some of the participants, so the young women were already familiar with the artists, Helen and Julie Ward, the digital equipment, resources and the artists methods.
They had been working around the theme of loving and abusive relationships, discussing examples and definitions with a careworker. These ideas were used to develop a pocket-sized, foldable leaflet consisting of 14 sections depicting images of good and bad relationships.
‘As anonymity needs to be preserved it is always a challenge working with these young women. This time we chose to bring in lots of cuddly toys and dolls and asked the group to arrange these toys in poses that would symbolise their ideas about love and abuse.
Working with the toys gave the group freedom to explore a difficult subject in an accessible and fun way. As they worked with the toys the young women began to see characteristics akin to human qualities. For example a bulldog that seemed like a bully, a kangaroo that was caring, a penguin that seemed shy, an action man that was capable of being both loving and violent.’
Julie Ward — Jack Drum Arts
The girls took digital photos of the posed scenes, then used a variety of computer applications to design the leaflet. As everyone often sat eating sweets during the session (participants and artists) it was suggested that they use sweets to spell out the word RELATIONSHIPS for the reverse of the foldable leaflet.
The use of the heart, alternatively whole and broken, helped to give the design popular appeal. The group were all amazed to see how good the final printed leaflet looked and the knowledge that it is being used as an educational resource is very gratifying for them.
The work was exhibited at Albert Park Pavilion as part of the Middlesbrough Mela 2002.