Artlink has supported Gail Keating, a retired teacher to publish two new books about what her autistic pupils taught her.
Gail Keating, a retired teacher of students with multiple and complex needs has distilled over 30 years learning from people with autism into two volumes. Gail’s books ‘Paper and Pens’ are two illustrated volumes, one of stories and one of tools, intended as friendly supports for parents or support staff working with anyone who has autism related anxiety or requires creative communication.
“This book aims to help all of us who share the lives of those with what is called autism to learn to think differently ourselves so that they can understand us better.”
Readers will discover Gail’s stories in Volume 1 – through anonymous characters or vignettes of those she’s taught (or as she’d describe it, what they’ve taught her), and how they helped her see a different vision of the world. In Volume 2, she shares some of the tools or practical ways which helped mutual communication.
The book is for anyone who supports someone with autism or a learning disability who wants to understand more about another’s perspective.
Gail’s book is available free of charge through Midlothian libraries and is available to buy or download from the Artlink Shop.
This work has been supported by the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust Fund and Midlothian Council Autism Strategy.
Discovery is a new project to design a digital resource for people with complex needs of any age to find activity to appeal to particular sensory interests. So many of the requests we receive are from parents or carers looking for personal, meaningful opportunities that allow people to connect with something that reflects who they are, and have freedom to enjoy that.
With the expertise of a software engineering team from JP Morgan’s Force for Good programme, Artlink will create a unique directory to browse experiences from the perspective of people with particular sensory interests in Midlothian by collating knowledge suggested by parents and support teams. Working in collaboration with park rangers, community organisations and heritage facilities we will share opportunities with sensory appeal.
We aim to create a responsive web page (for phone, iPad or desktop) by Summer 2019 to allow parents or carers of people with profound and multiple learning disability to find specific experiences for those they care for.
Watch this short film – it does a better job of describing this project than words!
Discovery will to use unique local knowledge to share meaningful activity.
Where can I watch owls fly?
Where are there interesting places for someone who loves to listen?
My daughter loves reflection – where can I find lots of mirrors?
I support someone who loves the movement of trains – where can we go?
Supported by JP Morgan Chase, National Lottery Year of the Young Person and Midlothian Council
Join us at the launch of The Ripple Effect – a research project that explored new forms of collaborative arts practice that positively impact on the lives of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their care-workers.
We would like to invite you to hear about some of the innovative ideas and concepts presented in this report.
Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome.
0131 229 355
The Ripple Effect report presents the findings of a 12 month project funded by Health Improvement Scotland to explore the work of Artlink within the Cherry Road Learning Centre, and the impact of integrating art into social care in the lives of people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD).
The research partnership involved the expertise of Dundee University academics in conducting a qualitative study and the development of recommendations for use in transforming social care.
Young Midlothian People with complex needs awarded Year of the Young Person National Lottery Funding.
£9800 from the National Lottery Year of the Young Person awards will celebrate the creative talents of young people with autism and complex needs. The project entitled Creative Directors, supported by Artlink Edinburgh, will offer one to one support for young people to direct their own community projects focused on their unique skills like acting, drumming, animation and even listening.
The funding will involve six amazing young people from Bilston, Penicuik, Gorebridge and Loanhead, whose untapped talents will be the focus of community activity to benefit other young people in Midlothian;
- Lewis loves acting but there’s no local group that suited his needs and interests – he will set one up for him and his friends.
- Jordan has recently showed huge ability for drumming and will organize a music concert for friends and family.
- Chris has amazing listening skills but needs quiet spaces he can really tune into the sounds around him – he will work with community venues to involve him and many others with complex needs.
Artlink Midlothian Coordinator Kara Christine said “The project focuses on young people who have evident, but untapped talent because the youth groups or activities that exist locally aren’t always set up for people with anxieties or complex support needs. This project will put them in charge in contributing their skills to make a difference for others in Midlothian.”
Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Seona Reid, said “ This funding will help young people to make a positive change in their lives and I wish Artlink Edinburgh and Lothians every success as it works to improve young people’s health and wellbeing in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People.”
As a society we no longer create social spaces naturally. Within mental health the increasing reality is isolation and the lack of opportunity for people to find meaningful and engaging ways to belong to their immediate communities.
Over the past years Artlink projects at the Glasshouses in the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh hospital, Leylines across West Lothian and Curious Routes within Edinburgh have at the heart of their studio practice the motivation to bring people together.
‘We as a group of people meet up, chat, eat, share and listen together. It allows us to creatively explore our realities of isolation, support each other and challenge the lack of meaningful opportunities that people face on a daily basis’
These projects become social spaces, a chance to engage and share in conversation. ‘Everyone recognises themselves in how the ideas emerge and the way we make them happen.’ Ideas develop naturally inspired by something as simple as a favourite tune, a movie that inspires a time and place, a shared memory. Common ground emerges and the inspiration to involve others is the next step.
In West Lothian’s Leylines project, Peter Johnstone brought his passion for up and coming Scottish music talent to his local community of Bathgate. ’I want people to experience music locally that they might otherwise have to travel to city centres to experience.’
Edinburgh’s Curious Routes project has been developing conversations around communal play through music and games. ‘Getting together and sharing is on our own terms, we inform our ideas from personal and lived experiences’
The Glasshouses studio is a collective group of artists who create unique projects and events that encourages participation and celebration, as one member of the collective puts it: ‘As a group we have created a safe and supportive environment to explore our ideas. We bounce ideas off one another, it encourages us to be bolder, more ambitious about how we involve others and have fun in what we create’
Over the course of this exhibition at the Tent gallery, Glasshouses, Leylines and Curious Routes will be inviting groups and the public to actively take part in workshops or just enjoy the artworks on display.
A portable ping-pong table will be open for anyone to use. No points, no rules just play. Alongside this listen to music, chat about what motivates us and how we begin to create and be in charge of our own spaces.
Glasgow’s Life Model, Adullboy, Idkid and Mad Rodents and their unique gig for Mental Health on September 30th in Boghall, Bathgate, West Lothian.
We held a one-off gig bringing the best of Scotland’s songwriting talent under one humble roof in West Lothian as part of our project Leylines which hosts creative connections for mental health in West Lothian.
Local resident Peter Johnstone was the power behind this grassroots event – inspired by his passion for the current vibrant Scottish music scene. ‘I wanted to bring fresh Scottish talent to a small town in West Lothian where I come from. I wanted to give others incredible live music without the need to get to the city centres. Music is helpful in so many ways, it brings us out of ourselves and is a connection with others. Creativity is a joy and an escapism’
Chris Smith from Life Model said ‘It’s important to take any opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and get more people to talk about it”