At the beginning of the year Lush approached Impact Arts to collaborate on a very exciting project! The beautiful cosmetics company were looking for new designs for their gorgeous knot wrap collection, to be launched alongside the opening on their new Glasgow Store. The Knot wraps are a sustainable way to wrap gifts and can be used over and over in a variety of different ways. Lush has a handy guide on their website showing some of the different folds and wraps that can be achieved for different items.

Our amazing Creative Pathways participants took on the brief and came up with various ideas and designs before settling on a final wrap agreed by Lush.

The design was influenced by the colours of autumn, woodland creatures and a clear sky on a crisp October night. It was developed by the young people in the group who wanted to combine their individual styles to create a Wimmelbilder style image in which the viewer sees something new every time they look at it.

The participants Knot Wrap can be purchased here and is available in their UK Stores.

“A hunner funnels bleezin’, reekin’,
Coal an’ ironstane, charrin’, smeekin’,
Navvies, miners, keepers, fillers,
Puddlers, rollers, iron millers…”

– Excerpt from Oor Location by Janet Hamilton, 19th century Lanarkshire poet

Fifteen young people from North Lanarkshire put on an incredible exhibition last week, transforming the grounds of Coatbridge’s Summerlee Industrial Museum with light projections, animations, abstract sound works and spoken word pieces created over the past ten weeks on our Creative Waterways programme.



The group have been working with Impact Arts at Summerlee since October, learning techniques in digital photography, animation, projection and sound art.

Inspired by the history of industry in North Lanarkshire and life by the Monkland Canal, they used the museum’s exhibits as inspiration, interviewing members of staff at Summerlee and researching local poets’ depictions of working life.

The exhibition – entitled Bleezin’ after a work by local poet Janet Hamilton – was the result of an incredible amount of work by the team. They pulled together a brilliant collection of work, creating an intense, immersive multimedia walking route for those in attendance.



As darkness fell on the museum grounds, the bright colours, burning barrels, enormous digital projections and industrial sound pieces combined to truly striking effect – a fitting way to end the ten week project.

While building their digital and artistic skills, the young people – who were all unemployed at the beginning of the programme – have been getting one-to-one support from Impact Arts to find spaces in work, education and training, including sessions on CV-writing and interview skills, while completing SQA units in employability.

Nina Maxwell, 17, is one of the Creative Waterways participants. She was impressed by seeing everything pulled together for the showcase.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but everything looks amazing – especially in darkness under the UV lights.

“The project has made me more creative. I’m now looking to go to college to do something like photography, which I knew I liked already but the course has made me realise it’s what I want to do.

“Creative Waterways is a good thing for young people to get into. It’s fun, relaxed and it makes you more confident – everyone gets their say. We’ve also gained 15 new pals out of it, so it’s win-win!”



Sarah Hill is one of the artist tutors working with the young people over the past ten weeks.

“We were really impressed by the work the young people created,” she said.

“The exhibition looked spectacular, and that wouldn’t have been possible without hard work and dedication from the whole group. It was great to see the participants bursting with pride during the event.

“They’ve gained skills for life while will serve them well in the jobs, education and training they’ll move on to in the future – we couldn’t be more proud.”

We’d like to offer an enormous thank you to the funders and partners who made this project possible: the Scottish Waterways Trust, YouthLink Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund, Our Bright Future, Bairdwatson Charitable Trust, CashBack for Communities and the Scottish Government.


Young people taking part in our Creative Pathways employability programme in Glasgow unveiled the superb (Our) Place exhibition this week – an eclectic set of artistic responses to environmental issues.

Four young people have been working with artist Allan Whyte over the past 12 weeks, learning artistic techniques, developing their creative practice and exploring issues that are important to them: including mental health, LGBT rights, free speech and identity.

This exhibition, which took place at The Space community venue on London Road, particularly focused on environmental issues and the group employed environmentally-conscious techniques when creating their work.

The exhibition featured:

  • Stenciled graffiti on recycled wooden panels
  • Photography taken using shoebox cameras and developed using coffee and other household items
  • Plaster casts sculptures of pieces of rubbish like milk boxes – symbolising the permanence of plastic in the environment
  • Sculptures combining spraypainted leaves and found metallic objects.

While working on these creative projects, the young people – who are aged 16-17 were not in employment, education or training at the beginning of the programme – got support from Impact Arts to find what they want to do in the future.

They got training in finding work – including CV writing and interview skills – gaining SQA qualifications in Employability.

Ryan McCann, 17, is one of the young people who took part in the programme.

He said: “If you’d told me at the beginning of the year I’d be part of an art exhibition I’d have said you were crazy.

“It’s been cool to go to a work space and develop creatively. I enjoyed most the photography and grafitti – I’ve learned more about how to edit and how to work a camera.

“I now feel like I’d like to pursue acting and filmmaking at college.”

Sofia Akram, 17, is another of the programme participants.

“It was a nice opportunity to grow and learn new things,” she said. “I also learned more about what people want in the world of work.

“It feels nice to share what we’ve done with other people.”

Allan Whyte is a visual artist who the young people have been working with since the beginning of October.

“I’m massively impressed by what the young people have produced. They brought great ideas to the project and worked hard to pull this collection of work together.

“We felt it was important that the young people were creating work that reflected their own experiences, and the issues that are important to them. They’ve accomplished this brilliantly, showing off what they’ve learned while bringing their own individual styles to the work.

“It goes to show that when young people are given time, materials and a platform to develop, they produce a really high level of creative work.”

Impact Arts runs 12-week Creative Pathways programmes throughout Scotland’s central belt throughout the year, giving unemployed young people the opportunity to learn artistic techniques while getting support to find work or places in education and training.

This block in Glasgow was funded by Skills Development Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future initiative and Inspiring Scotland.

New blocks of the programme will be beginning in Barrhead in the new year.

Visit our Join a Project page to find out more.

It was a fairytale finish to Creative Pathways Barrhead last week, as young people working on our employability programme donated fantasy-themed artwork and handmade toys to a local nursery school!

The group, who have been working at the ARC Centre in Auchenback, visited children at the nursery to present a handmade fairy garden and plant pots created from recycled wood.

They also taught the children how to make their o­wn fairies from glitter, string, wool and clothes pegs, while showing them how to plant flowers for their new garden.

It marked the end of a 12-week block of Creative Pathways, where unemployed young people have worked with artists Rosanna, Portia and Hannah on creative writing and craft projects, while getting help to find work.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future initiative and Barrhead Housing Association, the young people also learned more about their community, their environment and how to reduce waste.



For their final project, the group were set on doing something for the community. They decided to consult with children, parents and staff at the nearby Family Centre, asking them to vote on a range of ideas.

The winner was the fairy garden, and so the group set to work making things for the children using the creative skills they had developed during their time with Impact Arts.


Scott McCorkell, 17, is one of the participants on the programme who created pieces for the Family Centre:

“It’s been really fun getting to expand my skills, interact with new people and do something useful as well.

“It feels great doing something that people will like and that will actually be useful – it feels really fulfilling.”

Scott also spoke of how useful he found the project as a whole:

“I’ve learned how to make a CV, learned how to word myself in interviews better and also just generally becoming more confident. It’s been great.”



Frances Cathcart of Arthurlie Family Centre was delighted with the young people’s work.

“Our partnership with Impact Arts has been a great experience for the children.

“The planters the group have made are beautiful, and we now have a wonderful sensory area in the garden where children can learn and explore.

“The children also love playing with the little fairy garden, and making stories and fairies to play with.”



Heather Gault was Project Co-ordinator for Impact Arts on the programme. She says the young people’s work has paid off.

“I could not be more impressed by the work the participants have put in throughout the programme.

“The handover event was a brilliant day and it was so lovely to see the kids getting involved with making their own peg fairies and planting the sensory plants.

“The group and the artists should be very proud of themselves.”



Our next block of Creative Pathways in Barrhead, in partnership with Barrhead Housing Association, will begin in January 2019 and run for 12 weeks at the Dunterlie Resource Centre. More details to come…

Thanks to Barrhead Housing Association, the Big Lottery, Our Bright Future, Inspiring Scotland and the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund for their funding and support on this programme.

In Coatbridge, young people are working with Impact Arts as part of a unique new project mixing digital art, employability skills and the heritage of North Lanarkshire’s Monkland Canal.

Fifteen unemployed young people aged 16-25 are working at Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life with artists Emmett McSheffrey and Sarah Hill as part of the Creative Waterways project.

Working in an environment steeped in history of life by the canal, the group will be dabbling in photography, filmmaking, animation and sound design, working towards designing an exhibition and canalside light show for Thursday 13th December 2018.

In the meantime they will be getting support from Impact Arts employability staff to work out what they would like to do after the programme, whether in employment, education or further training.

In the opening weeks of the project, the tutors have been encouraging the young people to throw themselves into creative tasks and get rid of the anxiety that can be involved in first putting pen to paper.

Timed drawing activities using chalk, felt pen, pencils and silhouettes were a quick way of getting the group expressing their own unique styles, getting the creative juices flowing and breaking down that initial hesitation.

The team were also introduced to the digital component of the course through workshops in Miksang photography, a form of contemplative photography emphasising an open way of seeing the world.

The weather and surroundings at Summerlee really lent themselves to this exercise, as the group spent a morning in the Autumn sunshine looking for colour, pattern, light, shadow and interesting juxtapositions.

Many participants were using a DSLR camera for the first time, and this was an opportunity to get used to its feel and function as well as getting them thinking visually about the world around them.

Scottish Waterways Trust are funding and supporting the Creative Waterways programme, and Claire from SWT also treated the young people to a workshop by the canal.

The group dipped nets into the Monkland canal to sample the wildlife living just beneath the surface, before identifying the creatures they found using a pictorial chart. The group discovered more than ten creatures and from this could tell that the water – if a bit smelly – was very clean.

“I think we’ve done the best because we’ve found the most creatures,” said participant Nina. “We need to come back next year to see what some of them have grown into.”

The programme will be continuing with further research into the history of the area and developing photography workshops. Much more to come as the group build towards the big exhibition in December!

Creative Waterways is funded by Scottish Waterways Trust, YouthLink Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future initiative, Bairdwatson Charitable Trust, CashBack for Communities and the Scottish Government.

What will our futures look like? What if we could travel into the future to examine our own successes?

Young people on Creative Pathways in North Ayrshire have been examining this topic during weeks three and four of a 10-week block of our arts and employability programme.

The group have been working with artists Christine and Ruth, discussing utopian and dystopian futures, composing a “message to the future”, time travelling to their ultimate personal future and bringing back their evidence of their future successes.

The group have also been experimenting with materials and produced their first live project for a public event, taking place in Irvine’s Eglinton Country Park.



They were asked to transform hundreds of recycled milk cartons into lanterns for a guided storytelling walk. They created prototypes which they then pitched to each other. As a group, they decided to use a flower design, and worked together to meticulously cut out and assemble petals. The final piece was hung between trees, with lights woven through the design.

In other workshops, the team have been building and drawing abstract architectural still-life pieces, which is helping to develop their drawing skills. After gathering objects on a walk around the local area, they monoprinted their objects onto black fabric.

Week four of the project ended in an introduction to casting plaster, creating sculptural objects using sand moulds. This work will be developed further in coming weeks, exploring casting and printmaking in various applications.



As well as passing on a huge range of creative arts skills, the Creative Pathways course is about passing on skills that will help the group when looking for spaces in work and education.

Funded by Skills Development Scotland’s Employability Fund, they are working towards completing their SQA Employability Award and Steps to Work Awards. This involves them discussing their qualities, figuring out what they would most like to do in the future, and completing sessions on job searching, CV skills and mock interviews.

We still have a handful of spaces left on this programme, which is running 60 Bank Street in Irvine from Tuesday – Friday until mid December. It’s open to 16 and 17 year olds in North Ayrshire who are not currently in work, education or training. Participants receive a £55 training weekly training allowance plus necessary travel expenses.

If you are interested in signing up or making a referral, please contact Impact Arts’ Jamie Proudfoot on 0141 575 3001 or email[email protected].

A new block of Creative Pathways in North Ayrshire is off to a strong start with an inquisitive, enthusiastic and engaged group of young people taking part in creative workshops in Irvine.

The group – all aged 16-17 and not currently in employment or education – will be working with artists Ruth and Christine for 12 weeks, learning artistic techniques, creating artwork through experimenting with unusual and unexpected materials, and thinking about environmentally-themed interventions and installations.

Upon beginning the programme, the group discussed the concept of “the environment” and some specific themes: namely urban spaces, boring places, atmosphere, memories, and how to challenge stereotypes associated with the environmental movement (going beyond blue bins and co-called “greenwashing”).

The team also discussed art and creativity more generally, and the differences between the two ideas. As participant Matthew aptly noted, “art is an expression of creativity”.

The group began by making marbled paper to use as covers for handmade sketchbooks, which will serve as a place for notes, doodles and records of their research out in the field over the next few months.

By the end of week one, the young people self-organised an outdoor exploration in Irvine to take pictures of details in the environment they find interesting. They decided an important consideration is the fact that the environment and place means something different to everyone.

The second week of the programme focused on quick practical experiments using scavenged and scrap wood. The group was given different briefs: make the tallest sculpture, the widest elevated sculpture, a sculpture with the most volume, etc. They then progressed into thinking about aesthetics: what makes something beautiful or ugly? Can this influence how people feel about a place?

Looking ahead, the young people will be taking their materials outdoors and seeing how they can use their newfound creative skills to transform local spaces.

We still have a few spaces on this programme! Are you aged 16-17 and not currently in education, employment or training? Do you live in North Ayrshire? Want to develop your creative skills? Want to earn £55 per week (plus travel) as you do so?

Participants will get invaluable hands-on experience of digital art, graphic design, photography and more, while learning about environmental issues and working as a team to organise a showcase and exhibition event.

Those taking part will also get advice on CVs, job-hunting, next steps, and have the opportunity to complete an SQA Stage 3 award in Employability.

If you are interested and would like to discuss the programme further, please contact Impact Arts Programme Manager Jamie Proudfoot on 0141 575 3001 / 07741 640 417 or email [email protected].

Funding and support for the project comes from Skills Development Scotland, Our Bright Future, the Big Lottery Fund, Inspiring Scotland and the Gannochy Trust.

Young people had another fun and inspiring week on our Creative Pathways programme in Barrhead, as new members joined the group to participate in a range of art activities and reflective writing workshops!

Artists Rosanna and Portia began the week by challenging the young people about what makes them angry and what issues they care about. After a short piece of personal creative writing – from getting woken up by the cat to annoying teachers from school – the group split to pore over newspapers and discuss the issues locally and internationally which made their blood boil.

The group were then asked to turn negative to positives and come up with messages they wanted to share. Following a presentation of charity adverts, the young people began designing a campaign about something they really cared about.

The next step was to create storyboards and write scripts to make short films to captured the audience’s imagination and encourage them to engage with the issue.

One group had a passion for animals and decided to tackle animal cruelty, while another group considered child abduction in Scotland and the third looked at environmental issues causing floods over-seas.

The rest of the week the young people designed plasticine models and built sets to start making their short films. We’ll have more to come on the blog shortly…

Meanwhile, the team worked on their employability skills by considering what was important to them, and how they wanted to fuse this with the world of work, learning about different opportunities available in different sectors. They also made a start on CVs, by learning about how caring about different issues can help you develop skills and qualities in a wide variety of areas.

“I’m finding the course really interesting, because I’m always learning new skills,” says participant Becky. “I’ve become more confident through talking to new people as well.

“I’ve enjoyed writing creative stories and getting to use my imagination through the animation work. It’s inspired me to try everything, because I’ve enjoyed things that I didn’t think I would.”

We still have a few spaces on this programme, which is running until mid-November. The programme is aimed at 16-25 year olds who are not in employment, education or training. Find more information here.

Funding and support for the project comes from Barrhead Housing Association, Inspiring Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future initiative and the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund.

Since June this year, we have been delivering a new project for care-experienced young people in North Ayrshire, entitled Express Yourself.

Artist Laura Frood has been delivering sessions every Monday at Impact Arts premises at Bank Street and at Redburn Community Centre, teaching young people photography techniques and getting them thinking about how photography can be used to explore different perspectives.

In this blog, Laura writes a bit about her experience on the project so far, as well as how she feels about .

Express Yourself has been made possible thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust, North Ayrshire Council, and Throughcare North Ayrshire.

My background is photography and film, so when the opportunity came up to lead a brand new photography-based project with young people in North Ayrshire came up I was excited. My head started to burst with ideas and activities we could do to engage young people. Little did I know that I would learn as much from this group of young people as I would teach them.

What I love the most about being a community-based artist is that no two days are the same. I get to work with a wide variety of people from all walks of life – what makes my job special is when these people allow me to become part of their world.

I’m working with two groups of young people as part of Express Yourself. The first is a group from Redburn Youth Cafe, who are incredibly dedicated and motivated and spend time their time working together to serve the community. The second is group of care-experienced young people who are passionate, strong, individual, and determined to challenge the stereotypes they face.

With Redburn Youth Cafe we have been working on a civic pride project, inspired by at the local town, its traditions and its people. We’ve been on photography walks, recreating old photographs of Irvine landmarks and using neon paints to create some fun and youthful images celebrating the Youth Cafe.

We are about to embark on a project called Humans of Irvine inspired by the world famous Humans of New York photography project. The outcomes will be collated into a zine designed and made by the group.

Young person holding child in black and white photograph

The second group – based at Bank Street in Irvine – have been instrumental in directing the project, using creativity to explore identity and celebrate the diversity of young people.

Giving the group space to share their experiences and challenge stereotypes has been integral to the project. There is a very social element to workshops; we talk about issues that affect them, we laugh and we make beautiful and meaningful artwork.

A big element of this project has been portraiture. Using studio lighting and professional cameras, the group have planned and directed their own shoots with some unique and thought-provoking images.

Triptych of young people with writing on their hands

They have also been using photography to document their environment. A series of photographs taken on the seafront in Irvine show the beauty of the decay caused by the harsh weather of the west coast – using these images as inspiration we have begun to design and print textiles using organic or eco-printing methods.

We’re about half way through and the talent and enthusiasm of both groups amazes me, I can’t wait to see what will unfold in the next few months, and of course the opportunity to showcase all the amazing work the young people have made.

Stay tuned for more updates and information on the final exhibition!

collage of photographs

Texture Photograph

Texture Photograph 2