“Breaking out of the shell”: Sofia on her experience with Creative Pathways

Fri 23rd November 2018

Creative Pathways continues in Glasgow – our arts and creativity-focused employability programme, which teaches young people creative skills while giving them support to find work. Partially funded by Our Bright Future, the group are also learning about green issues and creating environmental art.

Sofia Akram, 17, is one of the participants. She has written this blog about her experience with Impact Arts – learning new creative techniques, trying new things and seeing new places.

Autumn has come and then gone and
winter is here. I’ve spent the wet red leaves season at Impact Arts. I’m one
out of four young people who is on the Creative Pathways training programme. Whenever I share this fact with people they always ask me “Oh? What
are you training for?” and I stand simply stumped. When I finally say something, it’s the word Arts.

“What are you doing, what kind of
stuff does that involve?” My friend asks me curiously when I shared my
recent endeavours with her.

A shoe box camera. Ink that runs
pink and blue, turning purple. Stamp! I go. Click! I go. Allan Whyte, our tutor and
certified artist, is earnestly showing us youngsters all these things.

Four weeks out of ten went
quickly. That’s four weeks of arriving, learning, working then leaving. Or, well, four days out of each week. But as someone whose recent routine was about two
or three days a week (and for a long time no days a week) such a change is
dramatic and mind expanding. I guess I could complain and say I have to wake up
far too early to catch a bus that’s almost always late, and sit on it for over
thirty minutes until my day really starts – but I can’t and I won’t! In the world
of work, a person should always be up and about, punctual and independent! And
Creative Pathways, though about art, is also very much an introduction to the
world of work.

It’s eye opening to be in The
Factory, meeting the people who work here. Work. They’re adults with a routine,
independence and a drive to do what they do. I want that. That’s why I’m here.
Maggie – a very nice lady who I have found common ground with, in that we both
are constantly chasing after Glasgow’s public transport – commutes to different
parts of Scotland throughout the week, visiting various other branches Impact
Arts has grown. It’s mind-boggling to me how she does such a thing continuously
and always with a bounce in her step. Inspiring too.

In the past few weeks I have not
only seen parts of Glasgow I had not seen before (guided by Mr Whyte for an
adventure seeking local art) but I’m also constantly meeting new people and
breaking out of the shell I had been stuck in for over a decade. I take the bus
to places unknown, I eat where I’ve never eaten before and walk through doors I
have not thought to pass through before in my life. When I see the Lighthouse
in the City Centre I smile fondly, knowing what’s at the top, knowing its
historical and artistic significance.

How would I summarise my time
spent here in a short and concise way? Lovely and educational.

The programme is funded by Skills Development Scotland, Our Bright Future, the Big Lottery Fund and Inspiring Scotland.

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