Digital Revelations was part of Creative Identities, an 18-month pilot initiative (ending October 2010) of creative learning activities for young people in Scotland funded by the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities scheme. Managed in partnership with Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council, Creative Identities gave young people aged 10-19 the opportunity to develop skills through creative experience and exploration using arts and moving image media. The programme was targeted at young carers and looked after and accommodated young people.
Jo was lead artist on this project, assembling a team of artists to work with young people to create material for an interactive website on the theme of ‘Hidden Places’. The website was an online maze of connected artworks and stories, which the visitor explored. Each page linked to further pages in a unique way and visitors to the site used exploration/ puzzle solving to navigate to the next page. Once the visitor explored all the artworks they reached an end page congratulating them on revealing all the secrets.
The creative team worked with Young People through a programme of workshops to create both the content and the page linking mechanisms. A variety of disciplines were used to enable each participant to create work for an individual series of pages using sound, short animations, scanned objects, collages, photos, drawn /painted artworks, lino cuts, written pieces, films and interactive questionnaires. A web designer then incorporated the work into the online space.
The team of 6 artists delivered workshops ranging from a 5 day open access residency involving all the artists, to 2 hour taster sessions and 1 to 3 day sessions with target groups.
The artists worked flexibly, allowing each young person (or pair) to develop their own story, or explore their response to the theme in a developmental way, which combined a variety of art forms depending on the artist/s leading the session.
A common storyboarding format was used which allowed work to be planned and annotated during the sessions and which gave instruction in terms of postproduction and web design.
Two launch events were held.The first in Dumfries, extended the theme of ‘ Hidden Places’ to exhibit some of the sets from the animations, 2 D, video and audio work. A corridor of dormitories in an abandoned convent was used as an exhibition space, with the launch event and presentation of the website being held in an adjoining youth centre.
The launch in the Borders took the form of a smaller exhibition of the work, but included photos of the work being displayed in the Convent.
Below: The entrance into the convent. The audience explored the abandoned rooms where they discovered hidden spaces with elements from the animations, films and other artworks.
The resulting website was a diverse, eclectic mixture of all the work exploring the hidden thoughts, dreams and stories of the young people involved. It was engaging to explore as it involved interaction, rather that just being a gallery of work. Participants were sent ‘business cards’ with the website address on and asked to hide them in places such as library books so being actively involved in the process of getting their work to a wider audience. Personal outcomes for participants included developing and responding to creative challenges, opportunities to access their imaginations and stories, development of new skills and creative techniques, an opportunity to work with artists and a chance to explore personal issues as well as seeing their work out in the ‘wider world’. The website unfortunately is no longer supported as the project took place in 2010.
All the young people responded very positively and were fully engaged with the process. The theme meant that with smaller groups, very personal issues could be explored and in some cases resolved. For example one young mother explored her fears surrounding her children. She found that by facing her fear of them drowning, she was able to bath her children once again without needing someone else to be there.