Govanhill voice spoke to Director Rachel Jury, Storyteller Wendy Woolfson and photographer Lisa Craig about their collaborative project titled ‘Out of harm’.
Hey Rachel what is the theme behind ‘Out of harm’ and how will it be developed and delivered?
Over the past 25 years rates of depression and anxiety amongst young people have increased by 70% and one of the main indicators that are associated with poor mental health is self-harming.
Out of Harm uses storytelling, photography and film to enable young people (YP) to explore self-harm (SH) and the reasons for it. Supporting YP to explore their feelings and experiences within the context of metaphors in stories. Exploring real life and mythical tales of heroism and resilience, discovering how and why YP are still here to tell their tale.
YP will contribute towards the development of an online resource around self-harm which will include stories, photographs, film and a toolkit.
YP will work with and be supported by storyteller Wendy Woolfson and photographer Lisa Craig in a series of eight workshops leading up two public events at the end of October where they will share their findings, stories and experiences.
Are the workshops open to anyone who has suffered from issues relating to self-harm?
Workshops are open to young people 14-25yrs who have experience of self-harm, either personally or through it affecting a friend or family member, who feel they are ready to share their stories and experiences.
How can potential participants apply to take part?
If you are interested in finding out more please contact Rachel on: 07811 394 058, firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also check out the FB age at:
When will the workshops be held?
Weekly from Tuesday 6th of September @ the Scottish Youth Theatre (we can support any traveling costs required to attend)
What is the final exhibition going to encompass?
The final exhibition will be designed by the young people and will potentially include stories, photographs and short films.
After the workshops and exhibition have been delivered in October how would you like to see this programme develop?
Early 2017 we will launch an online resource that will consist of the exhibition and a toolkit aimed at providing support and information for people who encounter young people who self-harm. We will also be looking to the young people to guide us in any further development of the work.
Rachel Jury, artistic Director, conFAB
Over the past eleven years conFAB has developed expertise in empowering many disadvantaged individuals through art. They have used theatre with survivors of domestic violence, music and film with young accommodated people, writing and story-telling with people with mental health and learning disabilities, visual arts with young carers, dance with older isolated people. We are project funded and deliver around 10 projects a year that range in size and scope from one of workshops to large scale musicals.
Artistic Director conFAB
07811 394 058
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Wendy you have an interesting background in traditional storytelling and counselling can you tell us a bit about both?
When I first found storytelling I recognised the therapeutic benefits of finding or hearing a story that connected with me. I found I resonated and empathised with themes and characters within the story. So, aside from telling for fun and a great deal of enjoyment for me and others, I began to understand and train in storytelling as a therapeutic tool. It was clear that I needed deeper listening skills and to gain knowledge that would support me in that work to take it to a level where I could work confidently and safely with vulnerable groups.
Over the years I’ve worked to deepen my practice and in the last year I’ve become qualified as a Solution Focused Practitioner. I spent 18 months volunteering as a counsellor at Crisis in Erskine and a little less than a year ago I started working with Childline as a contracted counsellor supporting children and young people on calls and text chats. This has given me a much greater depth of understanding of young people’s needs and exploring helpful language.
What made you want to develop a programme to document young people’s experience of self-harm?
A great deal of the young people I’ve met or spoken to talk about self -harm as their main way of coping, and one of the problems that comes side by side with that is that the young people seem not to have an adult that they feel comfortable enough to talk to. My understanding is that many of the adults whom they may consider disclosing to don’t know how to respond and often panic and young people often talk about previous bad experiences with that. One of the key outcomes for this project is to develop a toolkit to enable any adult to know what an appropriate and supportive response could be in that kind of situation and how they might support them.
Going forward how will or can this be used to help others who may be going through the same thing but find trouble seeking help along conventional corridors?
The workshops themselves will be therapeutic and offer the young people a safe and nurturing space to explore their own and others’ stories. The toolkit provides an online space where adults and young people can find links to resources including helplines and websites that can support young people who self-harm.
Given your background who should people currently contact if they or someone they know may be self-harming and wish to seek help or advice?
I would ask if the young person knows an adult that they feel they can trust that they could talk to about what’s happening for them. They can also contact childline on 0800 1111, this number is free and won’t show up on the phone bill. The following websites have helpful information and support advice:
– Wendy Woolfson is a registered professional storyteller with The Scottish Storytelling Centre and Scottish Book Trust since 2006. She has always taken an interest in communication and in 2005 completed her certificate in COSCA Counseling Skills; this strengthened her abilities as a Storylistener and to provide meaningful CPD workshops of value for professionals as well as sessions for children and young people. She has worked with people of all ages and abilities, including people with learning and physical disabilities, and thrives in an environment where she is given the opportunity to help others grow.Wendy qualified as a Solution Focused Practitioner in 2015 and currently works as a counsellor for childline
Storyteller, Solution Focused Practitioner, Counsellor
Since I’m (Lisa) involved with the photographic element of the project I thought it may be a bit odd to present myself with questions. Instead I thought I would add my tuppence worth about how to approach this or any other project which has an artistic or expressive element involved. Most people who don’t hold things like English, art, music or drama can sometimes think these kinds of workshops or programmes aren’t for them, I’d like to argue that that definitely isn’t the case!
Being expressive isn’t something extremely talented people do in a far off place. It has a root in us all. For most folks who aren’t involved in ‘the arts’ it either seems to be some kind of strange mystic talent or something that disappears up its rear end. In truth it’s a bit of both and neither. Every time you listen to your favourite song or find a connect with a character in a book, graphic novel, T.V show, movie or painting, you are experiencing someone else’s expression and connecting with it. This is most likely because almost without exception as humans we all experience common life events and emotions; this transcends barriers put up by societies and even time. Like culture, race, sexuality, gender or physical ability. Because none of these things matter when we experience, death, loneliness, love, joy or any manner of other things on the emotional spectrum.
So when someone phrases or portrays that experience in a way that connects with you it evokes a sense that can range from a lack of emotional isolation to inspiration. These connections often take place at pivotal times in our life and can help shape who we become and what we do in our lives.
If so many people have expressed the perfect and timeless expression why bother to attempt it? Because expression through art isn’t a competition – it’s a journey. Stepping on to this road helps us grow spiritually, emotionally and can help establish the sense of altruism that makes us more empathetic to the experiences of others. Things also have to be re imagined to suit the time and environment they exist in.
Some of the best artists in their field didn’t embark on this journey for glory or fame and were often dismissed by their peers, so there isn’t a ‘wrong’ way to do it. It also isn’t something you were born amazing at. Like all talents it has to be practised, experimented with and honed into your own style.
We all started school not knowing the alphabet after all.
So if this projects subject affects you in anyway and you would like to get involved, please contact Rachel at the above email, phone number or facebook link!
– Lisa Craig is a photographer from Glasgow and is experienced in a number of different image styles.
She has delivered photographic workshops to people of all ages and experience levels or no experience at all. Her body of work includes images that have been used by recording artists such as The River Detectives, Anthrax, My Chemical Romance to name but a few and has appeared in various published print mediums. She is the primary staff writer and photographer for Govanhill Voice and has worked for the past two years internationally for a global NGO.
Interview and project poster Lisa Craig 2016.
If you would like your community group, activity or business to have a feature article please get in touch with Lisa at email@example.com
For those interested I also have an independent blog if you wish to check it out;
and my photo website;