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

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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